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 PIs 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. Preliminary Information in support of the proposed work
    4. Proposed Studies, Experimental Design and Methods
    5. Anticipated Outcomes
    6. Potential pitfalls and alternative approaches
    7. Future direction
  4. A timeline or project plan with defined milestones (max 1 page)
  5. Resources and Environment (limit ½ page)
    Document any resources and environment that will be required for successful completion of the project.
  6. Literature Cited (not included in page limit)
  7. Budget ($40,000 maximum) (PI Salary Support is not allowed)
  8. Budget Justification
    • Justify all costs and provide detailed information for all requested items
  9. NIH Biosketch of Principal Investigators and/or Co-Investigator(s) (5 page max for each individual)
    1. The NIH biosketch is required for all investigators. Specific roles of each co-investigator must be defined. Download an example NIH Biosketch.
  10. Letter(s) of Support (Optional)

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 Spring 2018 Cycle

  • Application portal
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2018, 11:59 PM PST
  • Final Selection Made: End of April 2018
  • Submission of regulatory approvals to institution and NIH:  May 2018
  • Funding Period: July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019

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.

Contact information

Research Development at SC CTSI

(323) 442‑1087

View Email

Timeline for Spring 2018 Cycle

Application Deadline

Final Selection Made

Submission of regulatory approvals to institution and NIH

Funding Period

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.