Pilot Grant Program

All faculty members are eligible to apply for Pilot Grants

  • Junior faculty beginning their research careers (faculty within four years of appointment at the level of Assistant Professor, tenure track) (see below);
  • All faculty (tenure track or non-tenure track) are eligible to apply for the new Transformative Award in Basic Aging (see below). This program builds on the success of the former Emerging Technology Program, now replaced with this award. There is no requirement that applicants for this award have any prior experience in aging research, and prior experience in aging research will not disqualify applicants.

Grants will be awarded for $50,000, direct costs. Normally a single year of funding will be provided, but occasionally a second year of funding may be awarded for junior faculty. If a second year of funding is requested, the applicant must submit a progress report (maximum of 2 pages) as part of the application (this does not count toward the 6 page limit).

If your project proposes the use of one of the Nathan Shock Aging Center Cores, please consult with the relevant core leader, and obtain a letter of support to be included with your application (does not count toward the page limit). See


Evaluation of the proposals is a two-stage process. At stage one, two experts on the subject of the proposal from outside the Health Science Center prepare written evaluations. At stage two, a panel of Shock Center Core Leaders uses these written reports to judge the merit of the proposal and evaluate the relevance of the research to gerontology and to the goals of the Barshop Institute and the Nathan Shock Aging Center. The final review meeting will be held in June. Awardees will be notified no later than June 30th.

Award Recipient Follow-up:

Successful applicants will be required to provide the Barshop Institute with the following:

  • A seminar on the pilot study research
  • Notification of abstracts or papers published to which the pilot study contributed
  • Notification of extramural grants sought and awards received that relate to the pilot study

Specific Areas of Interest:

All pilot project applicants should indicate if their proposal falls under one or both of these two categories:

Research with a specific translational impact: Applications under this area are eligible for co-funding by the Institute for the Integration of Medicine and Science. While all applications must address some aspect of the basic biology of aging, this funding is for applications that have specific identifiable translational aspects, that indicate a clear path by which the research can be brought into use in human medicine.

Research at the aging/cancer interface: Applications under this area are eligible for co-funding by the Cancer Therapy and Research Center. While all applications must address some aspect of the basic biology of aging, this funding is for applications that aim to use better understanding of basic aging biology to address fundamental issues of why cancer is much more frequent in older individuals and how this research can have implications for cancer therapy and research. Note: It is not sufficient to state only that cancer generally, or an organ-specific cancer, is more frequent as a function of age as a justification for research in this area. Applications that are judged by the Executive Committee to not seriously address aspects of the basic biology of aging underlying the age-related increase in cancer will not be reviewed.

It is not a requirement that applications address either of these two specific areas, but if your application is relevant for either or both of these areas please so indicate on the application.

Proposal Format:

For all grant applications – both junior faculty awards and Transformative Awards in Basic Aging:
1) Face page (See Application at top of page). Complete all information requested.
2) Proposal: Use NIH formatting throughout. 1 page for Specific Aims, 5 pages for Research Strategy. This may include Significance, Innovation and Approach, including statistical analyses to be used, and how the pilot grant will enhance future success in obtaining extramural funding.
3) References (with complete authorship and titles). No page limit.
4) NIH-formatted 1st Year Budget and budget justification (RESTRICTIONS on BUDGET: No funds for PI’s salary or travel; no major items of equipment).
5) NIH-formatted biosketch including other support – 4 pages (per person).
6) Letters of support as needed.

• Assemble the grant application into a single PDF and email it to Dr. James Lechleiter, Co-Leader of the Research Development Core (

Proposals must be received no later than 5:00 PM, Wednesday, April 15, 2016.


2015 Pilot Grant Program – Transformative Awards in Basic Aging Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies

Application Requirements:

  • The Transformative Award in Basic Aging Research is a new program that began in 2015. It was built on the success of the Emerging Technologies Program (ETP) which was intended to facilitate rapid application of emerging technologies to aging. The Transformative Award differs from the ETP in that there is no longer an emphasis on technology only, although novel technological approaches may well be a feature of projects funded as Transformative Awards. These awards of $50,000 will fund investigators with conceptual ideas in basic aging research that could transform the field. In many cases, the need is to test ideas in aging research that are truly innovative and transformative, but preliminary data must be obtained in order for the researcher to be able to submit a credible grant application. We will also fund projects that aim to critically test the usefulness of novel emerging technologies in basic aging research, as in the former ETP.

Document formatting: Follow all the instructions above.

• It is very important to include a discussion of how the pilot grant will enhance future success in obtaining extramural funding.

Budget: Budgets should be fully justified. You may request $50,000 for a one year project. Whether the budget is realistic and justified will be a factor that will be considered by the Executive Committee in selecting grant applications for funding.

Proposals must be received no later than 5:00PM, Wednesday, April 15, 2016.