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RUSH to Progress: Accelerating Research through Pilot Awards

RUSH will provide pilot funding for innovative, investigator-initiated research. These awards are designed to encourage translational research by funding well-designed projects that could be competitive for future larger grants from a federal or private agency.


Funding amounts and availability

Option #1: One-Year $50,000 Pilot Award

  • This pilot funding program awards grants of up to $50,000 for one year.  Projects must be appropriate in scope for completion of study aims within one year.
  • Faculty salary support is allowable up to 20%.
  • No Cost Extensions (NCE) will not be allowed. 

Option #2: Two-Year $100,000 Pilot Award

  • Funding award grants of up to $50,000 per year for two years (total $100,000). Projects must require two years for completion of study aims.
  • Faculty salary support is allowable up to 20%.
  • No Cost Extensions will not be allowed.
  • Awardees will be evaluated after Year 1 to assess project progress for Year 2 of funding.


Who can apply

  • The Principal Investigator of the proposal must be an active RUSH University faculty member at the assistant professor level or above.
  • Proposals must be for basic, translational/clinical, health services or community-focused research. Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged.
  • Applicants may submit only one application as a principal investigator per award cycle.
  • Early career investigators, women and members of groups underrepresented in research are encouraged to apply. There are no citizenship or residency requirements.


How to apply

Please submit your proposal using the online application form. Your proposal should consist of two PDF files in 11-point Arial font with at least 1/2-inch margins that include:

File 1

  • A cover page, containing the following:
    • Grant proposal title
    • Names of principal investigator/multiple PIs, key personnel, and other significant collaborators
  • Streamlined biosketches for multiple PIs and key personnel – use this biosketch template
    • Include the most relevant research background, publication history, and funding history
  • A project summary/Plain language abstract (1/2 page)
  • A research plan, including the following:
    • Specific aims (1 page)
    • Research Strategy: Significance, innovation, and approach (4 pages)
  • Facilities and other resources (1/2 page)
  • Plan for Future Funding (1/2 page)
  • Conflict of Interest list for multiple PIs: Please list current RUSH collaborators with whom you have published or written grants in the past three years (no more than 1 page)
  • References (no limit)
  • A letter of support from the PI’s Department Chair


File 2

  • Budget – use this budget template
    • Allowable: up to 20% effort for PIs, publication costs
    • Not allowable: capital expenses
  • Budget Justification


Review Process

  • A panel of non-competing researchers will review applications based on the new NIH three-factor review framework.
  • Applications that demonstrate potential for future funding will be prioritized.



  • Anticipated Award Letter: Monday, July 1, 2024
  • Anticipated Funding Period: Thursday, August 1, 2024 to Thursday, July 31, 2025


Contact Us

Norma Sandoval