Pilot Grant Program

Neuroscience Pilot Grant Program


Fall 2020 Request for Applications

The Fall 2020 Pilot Grant application is now open. For this round of funding, applications should be submitted via the VPR's funding portal:

Pilot Grant Portal 

Any questions may be directed to Susannah Stitzer: susannahmstitzer@uky.edu 

Description of Program

The Neuroscience Research Priority Area (NRPA) seeks to provide broad-based support of neuroscience research across the University of Kentucky. As part of this initiative, the NRPA has implemented a pilot grant program to support the development of innovative, cutting-edge research across basic, translational, and clinical neurosciences and to facilitate the development of collaborative teams of basic scientists, translational scientists, clinical investigators, and clinicians across colleges, departments, and disciplines. The pilot grants will support teams in developing preliminary data necessary for applications for extramural funding. Proposed projects should be multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary and involve colleague(s) from more than one UK College/Department. Faculty, resident, post-docs, and fellows are all invited to apply.


Application Format

Applications should include the following documents. Applications are to be submitted through the Pilot Grant Portal.

  1. Completed Application Form including:

    1. Study Background (1 page)

    2. Study Design (2-pages)

    3. Budget and Budget Justification

    4. Plan for extramural funding (1 page)

    5. Signature Page

  2. NIH-type Biographical Sketch (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm)

  3. Documentation of IACUC or IRB submission or approval as applicable (applicants do not need IRB or IACUC approvals to submit a pilot grant application; successful applicants will need to submit any necessary IRB or IACUC protocols within two weeks of award notification and provide the NRPA with documentation of the submission).

  4. Letters of support as applicable


The pilot grant program will support 2 grants of approximately $25,000 in direct costs each for a 1-year project period.  Projects requiring higher levels of funding are still encouraged to submit an application; the NRPA’s goal is to support the most promising research and may award increased levels of funding to projects as appropriate and with justification, depending on availability of funds.

The following costs are not covered –administrative or office costs, meals or hospitality, travel that is not directly related to the conduct of research, other items typically supported by indirect costs, and monetary clinic incentives.


Support for Protocol Design

For researchers seeking assistance in study design, please contact Dr. Christopher McLouth via the NRPA website (research.uky.edu/neuroscience) or CCTS’ BERD services via the CCTS website.


Review Process

Grant applications will be reviewed by investigators with appropriate neuroscience background and expertise and will use NIH-type evaluations (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/guidelines_general/scoring_system_and_procedure.pdf) . Applications will also be evaluated based on the potential for the proposal to eventually be competitive for extramural support. Following initial peer review, applications recommended for funding will be reviewed by the NRPA Internal Advisory Council and final funding decisions made by joint agreement.


Review Criteria

Application review will based on the following considerations:

  1. Innovation

  2. Significance

  3. Approach

  4. Environment

  5. Investigators

  6. Probability that this project will lead to extramural funding

  7. Additional review considerations:

    1. Alignment with NRPA strategic goals

    2. Budgetary considerations

    3. Regulatory approvals

    4. Letters of support/commitment (if applicable)


Unfunded Grants

Unfunded grants can be considered for funding in subsequent cycles.


Due Dates

  • Call For Applications: October 16, 2020

  • Application Deadline: December 11, 2020, 5:00pm EDT

  • Funding Decision: January 8, 2020 (tentative)

    • Funding cycle: February 1, 2021 - January 31, 2022 (subject to impacts from the coronavirus)



Reviews and award notifications will be provided within 8-weeks of the grant application deadline.



Funding is for 1 year beginning February 1, 2020 and ending January 31, 2021 (subject to impacts from the coronavirus).


Awardee Responsibilities

  • Awardees are expected to submit collaborative extramural grants

  • Awardees are expected to publish their findings in scholarly peer-reviewed journals and present their research at professional meetings

  • All publications, grants, and presentations resulting from research funded by the NRPA should cite the NRPA as a contributing source of support

A 1-page report summarizing the outcome of the project, extramural funding applications and awards, and the use of the awarded funds is due 1 month after the end of the funding period. Unspent funds are to be returned to the program. Extensions are not allowed.