Pilot Project Funding Opportunities

Updated: September 2022


The Pilot Project program is supported through philanthropic committed funding and is designed to provide seed funds for investigator-initiated research. The intent of these pilot grants is to encourage translational research by funding well-designed projects that could be competitive for future larger grants from a federal or private agency.

Archived pilot project RFPs from the past year can be found here.


Funding Source Grant Name Description Deadline
Rush University Medical Center Research Catalyst Award

Applications for bridge funding will be accepted from researchers who have recently received strong, competitive scores on R- or P-type grants from federal granting agencies (e.g. NIH, DOD, NSF, NAS), yet just missed the pay lines. Innovative translational, basic science, clinical, population-based or health services research will be supported. The intent of this program is to support talented investigators who are likely to develop sustainable and impactful research programs by providing resources to bridge intervals in which the investigator does not have federal funding. This program will be periodically evaluated to determine its effectiveness. More information

Rolling basis
The Brinson Foundation Pilot Projects: Early Career Investigators - Brinson Medical Research Fellowship

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is requesting applications from Early Career Investigators for a Brinson Medical Research Fellowship opportunity. These fellowship awards favor creative and innovative research that has the potential to lead to additional studies. The Foundation is open to supporting research in a wide range of specialties, but less interested in the following areas: Psychiatry/Behavioral health, Food Sciences, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, and qualitative research. These pilot awards are intended to provide resources to enable research projects that may be tangential to a major research focus or to expand the scope of a major project. Funding will be for a period of one year with the possibility of an additional year based on the progress attained during the first funding period.  More information

Application due


Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) TL1 Postdoctoral Program in Clinical Research, Biomedical Informatics, and Health Equity


The TL1 Postdoctoral Program in Clinical Research, Biomedical Informatics, and Health Equity is a National Research Service Award (NRSA) funded training program comprising participating degree programs at the University of Chicago, Rush University, and Loyola University Chicago.  The program will prepare postdoctoral trainees with clinical (MD, DNP, PharmD, DMD/DDS, etc.) or research degrees (PhD) with the skills to conduct independent and collaborative research that will transform the science and practice of medicine, improve clinical practice and health outcomes, and advance health toward health equity.
Trainees can be based at any ITM institution and will select one of three training pathways based on their research interests and training needs: 1) Clinical Research Pathway, 2) Medical Informatics Pathway, or 3) Public Health Pathway.  More information
Application due
Chicago Chronic Condition Equity Network (C3EN)     Research Project Pilot Grant Program The Chicago Chronic Condition Equity Network (C3EN) is coordinating a Research Project Pilot Grant Program that aims to expand and cultivate the network of health disparities researchers throughout the Chicago region.  More information     12/01/2022
Application deadline