Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Translating Science into Solutions for Better Health



FY 2017 Program Description and Call for Applications

The Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute is seeking applications for pilot research projects of up to $40,000 each from individual investigators or small research teams in two areas:

Clinical and Community Research: These awards are intended to support preliminary research that will lead to larger extramurally-funded human mechanistic studies, clinical trials, community trials, health outcomes research, or implementation research. This mechanism is not intended to fund basic or preclinical research.  

Improving Research Methods and Processes: These awards are intended to support the development and testing of new approaches and/or tools that increase the speed, efficiency, safety and/or quality of clinical, community, health outcomes and/or implementation research. Successful applicants will define challenges or barriers in the conduct of research and propose development of a solution or process that can be tested within the pilot project and/or with subsequent extramural funding. This mechanism is not intended to fund basic or preclinical research.


Preference and highest priority will be given to projects that demonstrate a clear path to sustaining extramural funding or to direct implementation of improvements in clinical and translational research processes. Proposals will be evaluated using an NIH-style peer review process.


  • Full-time faculty members at USC and CHLA as of the date of the award are eligible to apply as PI. 
  • Postdocs, residents, fellows, students, and community members can be included as co-Is.
  • International Faculty who are non-US citizens/permanent residents must have a USC appointment and currently hold a visa to allow them to remain in the US long enough to complete the proposed project.

Multiple Awards

Investigators may only submit one application in which they are listed as PI or Co-PI. However, a PI can be on more than one grant if he/she is listed as a co-investigator. Note: an applicant may only receive salary support from one award as PI or co-I.


The SC CTSI Pilot Funding Program allows up to two resubmissions (1st Resubmission and 2nd Resubmission) of the same proposal.

Applicants must indicate “1st Resubmission” or “2nd Resubmission” on the electronic application form and uploaded proposal.

When resubmitting a proposal, include a one additional page to address the issues raised in the review and highlight any additional changes to your proposal. In addition to responding to specific reviewer concerns, review all other aspects of the application to determine whether updating or improvement is called for or possible. Be aware that additional comments and criticisms may arise from subsequent reviews.

A new letter of support from the Chair is not required if the resubmission is within 2 cycles. For example, if you submitted initially in the Fall 16 cycle, you could re-apply using the same letter of support for Spring 17 and Spring 18.

Cycle Break

Awarded PI’s must take a CYCLE BREAK before applying again. For example, if you were funded as PI in Fall 2016, you cannot apply as PI in Spring 17; you must wait for Spring 2018 to apply again.



  • Arial font, 11pt
  • Margins: minimum 0.5 inch
  • No appendices
  • Include page numbers and table of contents


Please create one PDF file including the following information:

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Abstract  (max 300 words)
    • Including the significance, broad objectives, hypotheses, relevance to the pilot funding program area, and future directions of the research. Do not include proprietary information in the abstract.
  3. Research Proposal (maximum 4 pages, including figures/tables, excluding literature cited)
    1. Aims
    2. Background and Significance
    3. Nature of the Project including how the project meets the objects of the pilot funding program
      1. Describe how the project is translational in nature.
    4. Preliminary Information in support of the proposed work
    5. Proposed Studies, Experimental Design and Methods including a timeline or project plan with defined milestones
    6. Anticipated Outcomes and Future Directions of proposed work
  4. Resources and Environment (limit ½ page)
    Document any resources and environment that will be required for successful completion of the project.
  5. Literature Cited (not included in page limit)
  6. Budget ($40,000 maximum)
  7. Budget Justification
    • Justify all costs and provide detailed information for all requested items
  8. NIH Biosketch of Principal Investigators and/or Co-Investigator(s) (5 page max for each individual)
  9. Letter(s) of Support

If resources (e.g., patient samples) from any other source are proposed, provide a letter from the source documenting that those resources will be available. Other letters confirming access to crucial resources including necessary space, release time and environment may be included here.


Timeline for Fall 2017 Cycle

  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2017, 11:59 PM PST
  • Final Selection Made: End of April 2017
  • Submission of regulatory approvals to institution and NIH:  May 2017
  • Funding Period: June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018

Regulatory Approvals

For projects selected for funding, awards are contingent upon documentation of submission of all applications for required regulatory approvals. All required approvals will be expected to be filed within two weeks of notification of SC CTSI’s intent to fund.  A special NIH requirement for pilot projects involving human subjects is prior approval by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS). Instructions for submitting the required material in parallel with submission to the local IRB can be found on the pilot application submission guidelines (see yellow highlights).  NCATs approval may take up to 60 days.  Funding associated with human subjects research cannot be released until the appropriate approvals have been obtained by both NIH and USC and forwarded to SC CTSI. Human Subjects (IRB) and other regulatory approvals should indicate that your research is/will be supported by SC CTSI Grant UL1TR001855.   

Apply online

Submit Your Application on e-GATE:

  • Applicants must complete the online application form and upload the proposal as one single PDF* (proposal, required documents and supplemental materials) on e-GATE
  • The submission deadline is 11:59 PM PST on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. 
  • Submissions must be made by the PI or on behalf of the PI through his/her e-GATE account. 
  • A researcher may only submit one application per cycle as PI or Co-PI
  • The PI must certify that he/she understands the necessary time table and required regulatory (human subjects) approval for successful grant awards. Specific instructions can be found on
  • *Adobe Acrobat software can help create PDFs.  Alternatively, free tools such as Primo PDF exist to help create PDFs.