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Special Pilot Project Funding Opportunity


The Hopkins Conte Digestive Diseases Basic and Translational Research Core Center was established in June of 2011 to advance fundamental and translational gastrointestinal research at Hopkins. The Core mission is to bring together GI investigators and encourage others in the community to enter this area of research. This is accomplished by:

  1. Providing cutting-edge resources that are too expensive or labor intensive to be maintained bymost individual laboratories; and
  2. Generating an environment that supports the intellectual activities of Center members throughseminars, symposia, and work-in-progress updates on GI-related research
  3. Funding Pilot/Feasibility projects

The Pilot/Feasibility Projects (P/FP) are key components of Core activities. The goal of this program is to provide seed money for projects, eventually leading to successful competition for funding at the national level. The P/FPs provide $10,000-$25,000 (or up to $50,000 for collaborative projects) typically given each year to up to 4 investigators/projects. There is no requirement for permanent residence status or US citizenship. Preference is given to young investigators (see criteria of eligibility below); funding is usually for one year. All recipients of P/FP project funding are required to submit a yearly update on their progress for 5 years and formal presentation of progress after the 2nd year.

Pilot Project applications are due on September 1, 2019. Funding begins October 15, 2019.


Four groups of JHUSOM investigators are encouraged to apply.

  1. New investigators, who have never held extramural NIH support other than a K or R03 award and have not been PIs on R, P or U grants, are the preferred group for funding. Those withMD, PhD or MD/PhD are eligible and applicants should be junior faculty or will be junior faculty at the start of this funding.
  2. New investigators (as in #1 above) can apply in collaboration with a more senior investigators co-principal investigator.
  3. Established investigators who are interested in entering the GI field and initiate the GI-related projects.
  4. GI investigators who are starting a new, innovative project that represents a significant departure from their on-going, funded research.

The order above (1=2>3>4) represents the priority for selecting projects for funding. Investigators may generally receive P/F support only once in any five-year period. Consideration can be given for a second year upon submission of a formal application, which must include a progress report.


  1. The proposed research must be related to a GI topic.
  2. The project proposes to use one or more of the Center’s Core resources/services (seeResources page of GI Core Center website at
  3. The P/FPs awardees are expected to participate and present their research at a Center’s work-in-progress meeting. Junior investigators are required to meet with a committee after six months of funding, to review progress.
  4. Our center is judged on how many R or P grants result from the pilot projects. Priority for funding will be in part based on potential to lead to such funding.


  1. Applications are submitted electronically (by-e-mail) by September 1, 2019 to Ms. Esther Choi ( Only fully completed applications that follow the format described below will be considered.
  2. The $10,000-$25,000, or up to $50,000 for collaborative projects, for one year can be used to cover expenses for salary (technician, postdoctoral fellow, NOT faculty), supplies, animals.
  3. Format:
    1. Cover page (Please use form on next page), which includes title, abstract up to 250 words (can be Arial 10) and pending/approved IACUC/IRB protocols.
    2. NIH Biosketch of applicant and mentor (if applicable).
    3. Applicant’s other support (salary source, etc).
    4. Budget and Justification for funds requested.
    5. Specific Aims, Background, Preliminary Results, Research Plan, Future Directions: total 3 pages, font size Arial 11.
    6. Plans to apply for extramural funding: topic and time frame: 1 page
    7. References: 1 page.
    8. Letter from PI, mentor(s), Department Chair or Division Chief stating how this project will allow you to advance independence and further your career, with emphasis on establishing independence.


The Center’s Internal Scientific Advisory Committee will review the proposals based on the eligibility criteria. An interview may be offered. For additional information, please contact: Esther Choi (


Kelsey Bennett