Pilot Translational & Clinical Studies Program Start-up Awards

CTSI Pilot Translational and Clinical Studies Program Start-up Awards

The CTSI Start-up Pilot Awards support work which prepares investigators to submit strong, competitive pilot award proposals. Projects are small, short-term feasibility studies with a duration of 6 months or less, with the expectation that the output will be a highly competitive proposal for the traditional pilot award.

Request for Applications release date:

June 15, 2017

The CTSI Pilot Translational and Clinical Studies Start-up Awards Program is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These funds may be used to:

  • Gather preliminary/feasibility research data
  • Validate a research method or approach
  • Conduct exploratory analysis
  • Data mining
  • Build community and/or academic collaborations (e.g. meeting costs, facility charges, and travel costs)
  • Determine recruitment feasibility
  • Develop or test survey instruments and other measures
  • Explore methods for data collection
  • On a case by case basis, funds may also be used for strategic training (e.g. specific methods or technical skills).

Key Dates

Key Dates

  • Request for Applications Release Date: June 15, 2017
  • Application Due in MCW Grants & Contracts Office (GCO): July 25, 2017 @ 11:59 a.m.
    (for projects with an MCW PI or Co-PI)
  • IRB Approval, if applicable: August 1, 2017
  • Application Deadline: August 1, 2017 @ 5:00 p.m. CT
  • Notifications of Award: early September, 2017
  • Project Start Date: October 1, 2017
  • Project End Date: March 31, 2018



  • Projects will be funded at a level of up to $12,500. Institutional and departmental cost sharing to supplement these funds is highly encouraged.
  • Project duration will be 6 months.
  • All PI(s) and Investigators must be CTSI Members. To become a member, please complete the CTSI Membership Form.
  • Investigative teams from all of our CTSI consortium partners (MCW, UWM, MU, MSOE, CHW, BCW, VA, Froedtert Hospital) are encouraged to apply. Note: While inter-institutional collaboration among CTSI academic/research partner institutions is not required for this award, it is a requirement of the CTSI traditional pilot award. Therefore, proposals for the Start-up which do not involve inter-institutional collaboration should include plans to establish these partnerships for the upcoming traditional pilot project.
  • This award allows for, but does not mandate, a multiple PI model. In cases where a project has multiple PI(s) and one is from MCW, the MCW PI must submit the proposal through the MCW Grants and Contracts Office (GCO) eBridge system.
  • All PI(s) must have full-time or full professional effort status at their primary academic institution to be eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI). Adjunct and part-time faculty are not eligible to apply as a PI.
  • PI(s) are responsible for all grant reporting and fiscal management, and will be the main contact for budget and reporting management. PI(s) will be primarily responsible for ensuring compliance with the scientific, safety, and ethical responsibilities of the grant award.
  • PI(s) will be expected to comply with reporting and meeting requirements as a condition of receipt and continuation of funds. Non-compliance of final and/or annual reporting could result in the rescinding of funds by CTSI.
  • Community partners or investigators from other academic institutions would be welcomed additions to projects as a Co-PI or Co-Investigator.
  • All personnel must be identified prior to the start date to replace any “to be named” positions proposed in the application.
  • Human Subjects Research projects need to have IRB approval at the time of application. If applicable, proof of any Exempt Status must be provided. Applicants are encouraged to contact CTSI IRB Navigator, Sonia Maldonado-Schmidt: smaldonado@mcw.edu or the appropriate IRB manager at their institution.
  • Research conducted at Froedtert Hospital will need OCCRIC approval at the time of application.

Budget Information


  • No “indirect costs” may be charged for any CTSI funding, and no funds may be requested for general purchase of laboratory or clinical equipment greater than or equal to $3,000.
  • Faculty salaries are subject to the NIH salary cap ($185,100/year).

If you have any questions about whether your start-up project qualifies for funds, or have a question about a budget item, please contact: Christine Zeller, CTSI Pilot Award Program Manager at czeller@mcw.edu or 414-955-2524.

Project Examples

Project Examples

  • To administer a battery of instruments to a small test sample of subjects to determine subject burden: time for completing, problem items, and sequence of measures.
  • To conduct complex cohort identification of cancer patients using the CTSI Clinical Data Warehouse.
  • To conduct statistical power analysis to determine feasibility and assist in the development of a viable study.
  • To conduct preliminary surveys in a community to gauge interest in engaging in Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • Test the viability of a particular research tool, or measure.
  • To support meeting costs for convening community groups to explore partnering on a CBPR project.
  • To establish reliability and/or validity of a measurement tool in the population of interest

How to Apply
Elements & Requirements of the Application

All forms will be available for download on June 15, 2017

  • 2017 CTSI Start-up Award Proposal Form (available June 15, 2017)
  • Budget and Budget Justification Form (1 per partnering institution/agency)
  • NIH Biographical Sketch (all PIs, limit 5 pages per individual)
  • MCW Faculty Cost Sharing Commitment Form (if applicable)

All projects with an MCW PI must be routed through MCW eBridge and must be received by the MCW GCO no later than 5 business days before the CTSI submission deadlines in this RFA. Different departments may have different deadlines for obtaining departmental approvals prior to receipt by the GCO.


For MU investigators, applications may need to be registered via the routine Proposal Registration process with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) prior to submission. Please contact an ORSP staff member early in your application preparation process to ensure accurate compliance.

For UWM investigators, applications may need to be routed using the WISPER system and approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) prior to submission. Please contact an OSP staff member early in your application preparation process to ensure accurate compliance.

For MSOE investigators, please contact Sheku Kamara, Dean of Applied Research, 414-277-7416, kamara@msoe.edu

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


Zablocki VA Medical CenterMedical College of WisconsinMSOE