The Pilot Projects Program is an integral part of the Center promoting the exploration of new research areas and initiatives, promoting careers of new investigators, and developing new research collaborations among scientists. The program is managed by Center Director Dr. Frank Gilliland, with scientific assistance from Drs. Rob McConnell and John Froines, and the Internal Advisory Committee (IAC). Center Administrator, Ms. Tracy Bastain provides administrative assistance to the program.
The main objectives of the pilot projects program are to:
(1) Provide funding for small-scale studies that will establish the feasibility of a full-scale project and provide preliminary data for which major research support is sought
(2) Provide funding for validation studies for procedures that may be adopted for full-scale research proposals
(3) Facilitate junior investigator's career development
(4) Attract the involvement of investigators in Southern California who are not active in environmental health research.
The Pilot Projects Program is designed to fund projects once each year at the discretion of the IAC. Our pilot program application and review process begins each year by circulating the announcement of the program. The review process follows the conflict of interest rules in place for peer review of NIH grant submission. At least two external advisors review each proposal. These written reviews are presented to the IAC, who then determines which pilot projects will receive funding based on (1) consideration of the peer reviewer's comments and scores, (2) stage of the pilot applicant's career, (3) potential for future funding for an expansion of the project, (4) overall proposal merit, and (5) coherence with the Center mission and research priorities as established by the research initiatives. After funding decisions have been made, grantees receive notice and instruction for receiving funds; in each subsequent year after initial funding, grantees submit a progress report detailing the progress and findings of their studies, as well as publications and subsequent grants resulting from their initial pilot studies.
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