Pilot Project Core



Program Description

The objective of the Pilot Project Core is to support transformative ideas in neural circuit research on addiction through new projects.   

The maximum award will be for one year and $30,000  to complete a primary project.  Recipients will have up to one year to complete their project. We expect to support three to four proposals.

  • The award is open to early-stage investigators and established faculty with appointments at the University of Minnesota.
  • Priority will be given to collaborative projects, especially new collaborations. 
  • Investigators may only participate as a PI, Co-PI, or Co-I in one application per funding cycle.
  • Proposed projects should use one or more of the Center's research cores and aspire to achieve one or more of the following program priorities:
  1.     Engage Early-stage investigators (ESIs)
  2.     Engage new entrants to addiction-related research
  3.     Demonstrate translational potential
  4.     Create a new collaborative team (PIs have not previously collaborated with one another)
  5.     Use Research Cores in a novel way
  6.     Develop substantial new capabilities for one or more Research Cores
  • Preliminary data may be included, but are not required.
  • Equipment proposals or applications for "bridge funds" to extend ongoing projects will not be considered. This grant is not intended to sustain existing work and must be applied to new unfunded projects.

Pilot grant recipients will be expected to:

  • Provide a progress report halfway through the project period (with continued funding contingent on progress). A final report is also due at the end of the award.
  • Extend the work initiated through these awards by submitting a minimum of one proposal to major external funding agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF) or to apply for industry grants within one year of completing the award period. We expect that grant submissions and receipts of grants will be managed through the University of Minnesota's Sponsored Projects Administration.
  • Acknowledge the Center's support if discussing the project in media engagements, professional presentations (eg., talks, posters, community outreach), grant submissions, and publications.

Application Instructions:

Calls for applications are posted each year in February.  Applications are accepted through March. Recipients will be notified of awards by late June.  Projects should begin no later than September 1st of the year the award is received.

Required Information and Application Materials:

The online application survey will ask applicants to upload the following required information as a single PDF file (font and margins should be no smaller than 11 pt., and 0.5 inches, respectively):

1)  Project Cover Sheet - cover sheet with the following:

  • Contact information of PIs, Co-PIs, and/or Co-Is: First name, last name, primary department, email address, and role (e.g.., PI, Co-PI, or Co-I).
  • Summary/abstract of proposed research (no more than 250 words)
  • Funding requested for the primary project (up to $30K)

2)  Primary project description with timeline, key milestones, and expected outcomes  (limit = 2 page).

3)  Statement that describes which Center Research Cores will be engaged by the project, and how the project will address one or more of the program priorities (limit = 1/2 page).

4)  Statement that specifies the project's significance and potential impact, how the project advances the field of addiction science.  If this is a collaborative project, please also state why the collaboration is beneficial  (limit = 1 page).

5)  Plan for future funding of the project (what steps have or will be taken to ensure that the work initiated will be sustained or extended) (limit = 1/2 page).

6)  Budget with justifications (limit = 1 page)

7)  References (limit = 1 page).

8)  List of current and pending support, including internal funding for all key personnel.

9)  If the proposed project is intended to extend or enhance current research, describe the impact to your research  (limit = 1/2 page).

10)  If the research project has IRB or IACUC approval, please provide the protocol number and last approval date.  If the project requires IRB or IACUC approval, but does not yet have it,  provide a statement outlining a  plan for obtaining IRB or IACUC approval, including estimated protocol submission and approval dates (limit = 1/2 page).

NOTE:  Applications should not submit an application if they anticipate more than a 6-month delay for IRB or IACUC approval.

NOTE: Funds will not be released until the project has full IRB or IACUC approval. A delay of more than 6 months (from September 1) for IRB or IACUC approval could result in withdrawal of the award.   

11) NIH biosketches of key personnel.

Review Process:

Proposals will be evaluated by internal University of Minnesota reviewers and external reviewers. The awards will be made by the Center for Neural Circuits in Addiction.