Spring 2019 Program Description and Call for Applications

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 the 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.


Up to $40,000 for one year composed of a 4:1 ratio of funds from SC CTSI to funds from the investigators’ home department(s), school(s) and/or Institute(s). For example, the maximum award would be $32,000 from SC CTSI and $8,000 from the home department(s), school(s) and/or institute(s) of the participating investigator(s). Applications must include a letter of commitment specifying the amount and source(s) of the cost share.  Applications from multiple departments can derive the cost share in any mix from the participating departments; it is up to the investigators to secure the matching funds.


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. Commitment of the PI to a career in research will be considered a plus. 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.   PIs should explain in their cover letter the extent of their commitment to a research career and provide any supplementary materials including confirming materials from a department chair.

  • 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.


As of Spring 2018, the SC CTSI Pilot Funding Program will allow only 1 resubmission of the same proposal.  Applicants must indicate “Resubmission” on the electronic application form and uploaded proposal.   When resubmitting a proposal, include one additional page to address the issues raised in the review and emphasize any additional changes made in your proposal.

Cycle Break

Awarded PIs must take a Full Funding CYCLE BREAK before applying again. For example, if you were funded as a PI in Spring 2018, you cannot apply as PI again in Spring 2019; you must wait for Spring 2020 to apply again. And if you were funded as PI in Spring 2018 and requested a no-cost extension so your 2018 funds will be extended to the 2019 funding period, you cannot apply as a PI in Spring 2020, but must wait a full year from the expiration date of the no-cost extension.

Letter of Support

Applications must include a letter or letters of commitment specifying the amount and source(s) of the cost share from the applicant's home department chair, institute director, or school dean.



  • 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. Cover Letter (see PI qualifications and commitment to a research career)
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Abstract  (max 300 words)
    • Research Proposal (maximum 4 pages, including figures/tables, excluding literature cited)
      • A timeline or project plan with defined milestones (max 1 page)
      • Resources and Environment (limit ½ page) Document access to any resources and environment that will be required for successful completion of the project.
      • Literature Cited (not included in page limit)
      • Budget ($40,000 maximum) (PI, co-PI and co-investigator salary support is not allowed) Use the Required PHS 398 Budget Form, Page 4 or download the Budget Form HERE. Award expenditures must comply with the NIH Grants Policy Statement and the Uniform Guidance OMB A-81. Indirect costs are not allowed, including sub-contracts funded by SC CTSI pilot awards.  Sub-contracted institutions are required to waive indirect costs. 
      • Budget Justification Justify all costs and provide detailed information for all requested items. 
      • NIH Biosketches of Principal Investigators and/or Co-Investigator(s) (5-page max for each individual) The NIH biosketch is required for all investigators. Specific roles of each co-investigator must be defined. Download an example NIH Biosketch.
      • Letter(s) of Support Applications must include a letter of commitment(s) specifying the amount and source(s) of the cost share from the applicant's home department Chair or Institute Director.  Cost share must be dedicated to allowable budget costs, and not PI, co-PI or co-investigator salaries.
      • 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 2019 Cycle

      • Application Portal
      • Application Deadline: February 15, 2019, 11:59 PM PST
      • Final Selection Made: Early May 2019
      • Submission of regulatory approvals to institution and NIH: Starting in late May 2019
      • Funding Period: July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020

      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.

      Timeline for Spring 2019 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.