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ICTS Translational Science Pilot Grants

Purpose: To encourage early exploration of high-risk translational research ideas focused on emerging areas of basic and applied science with clear relevance to clinical application.

Rationale: The ICTS Translational Science Pilot Grant Program is inspired by the Common Fund's NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award initiative [formerly known as the Transformative Research Project (TR01)]. The ICTS Translational Science Pilot Grants are designed specifically to support exceptionally innovative and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms.

The UCI ICTS is pleased to announce a new call for the Pilot Project Awards Program. Six one-year awards in the amount of $25,000-$30,000 will be conferred in this round. The estimated funding period is October 1, 2015-June 30, 2016.


Eligible Projects

Clinical Translational Science Projects, currently not funded and aimed at obtaining preliminary results for a full application for extramural funds, are considered eligible. Emphasis will be placed on innovation and transformative potential of submitted proposals. The content of proposals, while obviously linked to applicants’ current research, should demonstrate a clear evolution towards novel, relevant, and untested research areas.

A clinical translational science project is defined as any project aimed at accelerating the transition from discoveries arising from laboratory, clinical, or population studies into clinical applications. It is expected that about half of the funded projects will be focused on novel technology development.

Principal Investigators (PIs) must be full time UCI faculty from any school or discipline; junior faculty are especially encouraged to apply, but established investigators pursuing novel research lines are also welcome. Faculty from the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and the Long Beach VA* are also encouraged to apply. If CHOC and VA applicants do not have a joint UCI faculty appointment, their proposals must have a UCI CO-PI.

*All awards to CHOC and VA will occur via a subcontract; no overhead costs will be provided.


Application Materials

This is a two phase application process.

  • Phase 1: Letter of Intent, due Friday, August 28th.
  • Phase 2: Full Proposals, due Friday, September 18th. Full proposals will only be accepted from applicants that have submitted a Letter of Intent.

Letter Of Intent Submission
Deadline: Friday, August 28, 2015; 5 PM

  • A Letter of Intent* is required. The letter must include:
    • Tentative Proposal Title
    • A list of investigators involved in the project

*The Letter of Intent is mandatory to submit a full proposal. These letters will not be reviewed for merit of the proposal, and all applicants who submitted the Letter will be invited to submit a full proposal. Conversely, however, no full proposal submission will be allowed without a prior letter of intent. Proposal Submission


Full Proposal Submission

Deadline: Friday, September 18, 2015; 5 PM

All material must be include the investigator’s name at the top right corner, and use a font no smaller than 11 pts, with margins no narrower than 0.5 inches.

  1. Abstract body
    1. A brief description of the research plan limited to 300 words.
  2. Biosketch of PI (NIH new format) and CO-PI, if applicable.
  3. Research plan (5 pages max., plus references)
    Must include the following:
    • Specific Aims
    • Significance
    • Innovation
    • Approach
  1. Timeline (1 Page)
    • A detailed plan for completion of the project in the assumed 9-month funding range
    • A plan for future extramural funding (agency, grant format, application dates)
  2. Home department letter of support, stating availability of matching funds
  3. Budget (itemized, 1 page maximum)
  4. Must clearly state the following:
    • Total budget for the project
    • Amount requested from the ICTS

    Matching amount committed by Home Department

  1. Budget Justification
    • Funds cannot be used to support the PI’s salary, computer purchases, or travel. Other personnel salaries are allowable.
    • No overhead will be provided for outside institutions
  2. For junior faculty only (assistant professor or lower): Please name senior faculty sponsor


Home Department Involvement
For all proposal submissions: Investigators are encouraged to request that ICTS funding be matched, at least in part, with departmental funds; this will allow the ICTS to support more projects. While applications without commitment of matching departmental funds remain eligible for funding (and indeed have been funded in the past), evidence of home department support, including matching funds, may enhance the chances of a proposal being funded.

For junior faculty (assistant professor or equivalent and lower): before funds are released, a senior faculty mentor from the awardee's home department must agree to act as a sponsor (including general project supervision, participation in an initial milestone-setting meeting, and periodic progress report meetings).

Regulatory Approval: Please note that while having regulatory approval (IRB, IACUC) is not necessary at the time of submission, awarded funds will not be released, by NIH mandate, until such approval has been received.

Notification Emails for Receipt of Proposal
A notification email indicating the receipt of your protocol will be sent within 24 hours of submission. If you have not received an email, please contact Diana Vigil (949-824-1231).

Applications that were not funded during a prior call for ICTS pilot awards may be resubmitted a second time by checking the appropriate box during the application process. Resubmissions will have the opportunity to address the criticisms raised during the review process; however, no additional space will be allowed for the rebuttal, which will have to be included in the 5-page limit of the research plan. A maximum on ONE resubmission will be allowed for each previously unfunded project.

Milestones and Monitoring
Before funds are released, a meeting between the awardee, the department sponsor, a department financial analyst, and ICTS staff will set specific milestones to gauge project progression. Continuation of support throughout the entire award period will be contingent upon meeting the project's goals in a timely manner.

Review Process
Review criteria will include:

  • Overall project scientific merit
  • Translational nature of the project
  • Scientific environment
  • Project feasibility within the proposed time frame
  • Likelihood of generating extramural funding
  • Intrinsic scientific strength and innovation of the research plan
  • Significance and impact of the proposed research
  • Qualifications of the PI
  • Home department support/matching funds

For more information, please contact Dr. Pietro Galassetti at pgalasse@uci.edu or Diana Vigil at dvigil1@uci.edu

To apply, please use this link.


Letter Of Intent: Friday, August 28, 5 PM

Full Proposal: Friday, September 18, 5 PM