Pilot for Junior Investigators in Basic and Clinical/Translational Sciences

Project Award Amount $30,000

$37,500 if funded by the Cancer Center-Cancer Center Support Grant (CC-CCSG) Developmental Funds

These pilot projects are intended to support a wide range of biomedical research, including fundamental basic science, clinical/translational science, health policy and social science, and population science.

Pilot projects are for one year and not renewable. (Some funding agencies allow for no-cost extensions. This will be clarified in the Award Letter.) All funding agencies require progress reports if an award is received. The number and timing of those reports varies between the agencies. Detailed information about this will appear in the respective funding agencies Award Letter.


Who's Eligible:
Assistant Professors in the early phase of their career and Instructors in all series, including adjunct and professional research may apply. Exceptions must be fully justified. If the proposal has multiple PIs, both PI1 and PI2 need to meet the eligibility criteria listed above for this grant mechanism.


  • For grants funded by the Cancer Center-MZHF applicants must be Physician-Scientists, Cancer Center Members or be sponsored by a Cancer Center Member. Please address this in any cancer-related proposal.
  • For grants funded by the Cancer Center-CCSG applicants must be Cancer Center Members or Associate Members. Please address this in any cancer-related proposal.
  • Investigators at CTSI affiliated institutions may apply with documentation of a faculty-equivalent appointment.

Who's Not Eligible:
Fellows are not eligible. Specialists are not eligible.
Current K scholars are not eligible to receive salary support from CTSI-SOS. K2 awardees are not eligible for CTSI-SOS awards.

Designation of Research Mentor
All pilot award applications from individuals at the Assistant Professor level or below require the designation of a faculty mentor. This should be an individual who has primary responsibility for overseeing the research career development of the applicant.

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications
Projects will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed scientific investigation, the potential of the proposal to lead to a fully funded independent research grant, and the quality and potential of the applicant and the research team.

More on individual funding agencies
(Please note, this is provided for informational purposes only since the review process is centralized).

  1. Academic Senate grants are made available in part through endowment funds allocated to specific areas of research. In addition to general funds, the Committee on Research awards money from endowment funds for these specific areas of research:
    • Heart disease
    • Parkinson's disease
    • Heart disease, cancer, vascular or circulatory disorders, and epilepsy
    • Eye diseases
    • Cancer
    • Stomach ailments
    • Other
      Note: the above categories apply to both research on the specified disease and related areas of focus. For example, "stomach ailments research" can include stomach ulcers research and research into diabetes focusing on stomach disorders or ailments.

      2. Cancer Center-MZHF (funded by the Mt. Zion Health Fund) provides seed funding to encourage clinical and clinical translational scientists, especially those at the beginning of their research career or established investigators wishing to embark on a new area of study, to initiate promising new projects in cancer research that may enable them to compete successfully for federal research grants. Targeted areas are innovative pilot, phase I/II therapeutic studies and other projects in clinical, health policy, health services, psychosocial and behavioral research that have direct application to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Pre-clinical or laboratory correlative studies that demonstrate a direct path to the clinic will also be considered. Applicants must be physician-scientists and a Cancer Center member or be sponsored by a Cancer Center member. Investigators who are proposing basic science and population research projects are eligible for funding through the Academic Senate, REAC, and CTSI-SOS.

      3. Cancer Center-CCSG (funded by the NCI P30 award) provides seed funding to encourage innovative cancer-related research in a wide range of research areas, including basic science, clinical and translational science, health policy and social science, and population sciences. Priority is given to translational science and to areas that are generally under-represented, such as population sciences. This program supports novel cancer research initiatives which are not currently funded by research grants and which may ultimately lead to new ways of preventing, detecting or treating cancer. Emphasis is placed on innovative projects, and applicants must be a Cancer Center Member or Associate Member. Training costs and routine equipment purchases are not allowable.

      4. CTSI-SOS requires that the proposal meet CTSI criteria of translational science.
      Note - CTSI-SOS cannot fund any international projects or expenses and cannot fund K2 awardees nor provide salary support to current K scholars.

      5. REAC funds pilot projects ranging from basic to clinical and translational. Pilot research should collect data for publication and to acquire successful subsequent funding by other mechanisms. Only School of Medicine faculty qualify for REAC funds.


STEP 1) Complete the electronic application form 
STEP 2) Upload your proposal PDF

Instructions for Proposal PDF

Please write your proposal following the instructions listed below and create one single PDF file

Proposal Length: Maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding table of contents and literature cited.
Format Requirements:  Arial font; 11 pt; minimum 0.5 inch for all margins; no appendices; include page numbers and table of contents.

Definition: Same research topic with an amended application or research plan rather than a new research topic and new research plan.
Requirements: Please use up to one extra page to introduce your revised proposal, addressing the issues raised in the view, and any additional changes to your proposal. A new letter from the Chair is not required if the resubmission is within 2 cycles (one skipped cycle max). You will include the old letter and state your resubmission is within 2 cycles and new letter is not required. Make sure the new changes are highlighted in bold or italic font so the reviewers can easily see where and how the proposal has changed. Do not use track changes.

1. P.I. Name(s) - Optionally, you may apply with two PIs.  If funded, PI1 will be the primary contact for the award set up and management. If the proposal has multiple PIs, both PI1 and PI2 need to meet the eligibility criteria listed for this grant mechanism.

2. Project Title

3. Proposal (maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited)

  • Aims
  • Background and Significance
  • Preliminary studies
  • Experimental Design and Methods (include time-table)
  • Explain how this pilot project is important for your career goals (e.g., lead to major funding, etc.)
  • Mentoring Plan: Please describe the plan for oversight of this project by your mentor(s), including the specific role of your primary mentor named in this application.
  • Literature cited (not included in page limit)

4. Co-Investigator(s) (max five), to be entered in the fields of the electronic application form, need to have a faculty appointment (only exception is the ADRC)

5. Detailed Budget

  • ($30,000 maximum per proposal)
  • ($37,500 if funded by the CC-CCSG)

Use the following form: PHS 398 Form Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period": http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.  Add the network recharge rates to your budget.



Not Allowable

PI Salary *



Post Doc Salary



Administrative Support












Personal Computers












Research Staff Support (e.g. RSA; Lab. Technician)



Patient Care



International Subcontracts



Indirect costs on subcontracts



*NIH base salary cap. Fully justify all requests. Generally PI partial salary support should not exceed 10% of the budget, anything over 10% must be well justified. Multiple PIs can decide how to distribute that 10% salary support among them (e.g., 5%/5% or 6%/4%).

Notes on specific funding programs:

CTSI-SOS cannot fund any international projects or expenses. Current K scholars are not eligible to receive salary support under this mechanism. K scholars must submit the type of K award received and award dates. Current K scholars must also submit justification for the differences between K-awarded project and RAP project.K2 awardees are not eligible.

Cancer Center-CCSG Developmental Funds cannot support training costs and routine equipment purchases.

6. Budget Justification: Clearly justify all costs fully.

7. NIH Bio-sketch of Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Investigator(s) and UCSF Faculty Mentor(s) (5 page maximum): Use Form (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SF424R-R_biosketchsample_VerC.docx) with other support pages. Include active, pending, and planned proposals. Include percent effort, total direct costs (current year) and potential overlap with the current proposal. Include bio-sketch for both PIs of a multi-PI application.

8. Letter(s) of support: Provide a letter of support from the department chair or other unit head. In addition, for junior investigators, department chairs/unit heads should comment on the independence of the applicant and availability of research space and other resources for the proposed research. Include the letter of support at the end of your PDF proposal and address it to the RAP Committee. If there are multiple (two) PIs, a letter of support is required for both PIs. If PIs are in the same department, the chair can vouch for both PIs in a single letter. VIEW SAMPLE