Frequently Asked Questions: Pilot Projects

Below are a list of questions from prospective applicants to our Pilot Project Program.

If you have a question that is not addressed below, please email us at


PI Eligibility Questions

Q: I want to confirm that I am eligible for this despite being research faculty and not a tenure track faculty member? 

A: Yes, all faculty are eligible for award, regardless of tenure or research track status.

Q: Is an Associate Professor who has had previous independent funding, am I eligible for a Pilot Project if they are not transferring to a new research area?

A: No, only junior faculty members (Assistant or instructor) are eligible, or senior faculty members (Associate or above) if they are transferring to a new research area

Q: I'm an Assistant Professor at Brown Medical School.  Does this disqualify me?

A: Junior faculty at the Alpert Medical School are eligible for this award.

Q: Is an Associate Professor eligible for a Pilot Project if they are transferring to a new research area?

 A: If you do not have a current R01, you may apply, but please contact us to discuss whether your shift in focus constitutes a “new research area” to confirm your eligibility.

Q: I am an Associate Professor who has not had independent funding previously, can I apply?

A: Please contact us to discuss you specific eligibility concerns.

Q: I have had an R01 before, can I apply?

A: You may apply if you are transferring to a new research area. If so, please contact us to discuss your eligibility.

Q: Is there a cutoff on the maximum number of years a position can be held to still be considered junior faculty?

A: There is no cutoff for the number of years to be considered junior faculty. Any Brown University or URI faculty member with the appointment of Instructor, Investigator, or Assistant Professor (or equivalent) may apply.


Multi-PI Specific Questions

Q: Can I apply to both Category 1 and Category 2 award mechanisms?

A: An investigator can submit an application to both categories of funding; however, only one application would be eligible to progress to the full proposal round. An investigator may only be listed as the Contact PI on one application.

Q: Can I submit two different proposals for the pilot funds as MPI?

A: An investigator can submit as an MPI on more than one application; however, only one application would be eligible to progress to the full proposal round. Please make sure that other members of both project are aware you are listed as an MPI on more than one proposal, and that only one will be eligible to progress to the full proposal round.

Q: I have a mentor who is also a PI how do I put that in the application?

A: Please list that person as an MPI (Contact-PIs cannot be Mentors) and as a Mentor on the InfoReady portal.

Q: Can I submit an application with a collaborator from a different department or institution?

A: Yes, interdepartmental and inter-institutional collaborations are encouraged.

Q: Can I submit an application with a collaborator who is from my same department?

A: Yes, as long as both investigators are from different disciplines. Interdepartmental and inter-institutional collaborations are encouraged, but not required.

Q: Can there be more than two PIs on a research team?

A: Yes, there is no limit. However, the size of the team should not impede the research.


Mentor Questions

Q: Does my project need a mentor?

A: Yes, all projects are required to have at least one mentor.

Q: How important is it that the mentor(s) are from a different department in order to create a trans-disciplinary proposal and application?

A: The mentor does not need to be from a different department. Please note that a team of mentors is allowed, but only a primary mentor is required and must be named at the time of the preliminary application submission. The mentors selected will be evaluated to make sure they make sense for the project and the applicant.

Q: Is it expected that mentors be more senior faculty rather than junior faculty?

A: Mentors are expected to be at the Associate Professor or Professor rank (or equivalent) unless there is good reason to have an Assistant Professor (or equivalent) as a mentor (e.g., unique expertise in relevant methodology or research technique). Ultimately, the reviewers will look at the mentoring team on the whole to ensure it makes sense for both the proposed research and the applicant.


Proposal and Submission Questions

Q: How do I access InfoReady?

A: Please click here to access the InfoReady Portal. If you have Brown credentials, you can log in with using the Brown University SSO. If you do not have Brown credentials, you can create an account using your email address.

Q: How do I know if I am part of an Underrepresented minority group/ a group given priority?

A: We use the NIH definition of underrepresented minority groups. More information can be found here.

Q: Are the references expected to be in the same one-page research summary or a separate page?

A: References should be uploaded as a separate file. They are not part of the one-page overview.

Q: To confirm: Letters of support from the department chair and mentor are not required for the pre-application, correct?

A: That is correct. Letters are not required until full proposal submission (unless otherwise specified).


Funding Restrictions Questions

Q:  Can a study be conducted outside of RI?

A:  Research could be conducted outside of RI; however, funding from this IDeA mechanism of support cannot leave the state of Rhode Island except when used to cover fee-for-service products or consultant fees. Additionally, it is worth noting that it is a review criterion for Advance-CTR pilot projects whether the project addresses a health priority in RI, as defined by the RI Department of Health.

Q: Is requesting funding for equipment in the scope of the pilot grants?

A: Budgeting equipment (defined as durable items valued at $5,000+) is not allowed for this award mechanism


Other Questions

Q: Could you provide more information or links to websites about what constitutes Clinical and Translational Research?

A: The following NIH definitions apply for the purpose of this award:

  • Clinical research comprises studies and trials in human subjects as defined by NIH Regulations and Policies.
  • Translational research includes research that aims to convert basic research advances to practical applications in humans, and research aimed at the adoption of best practices in community healthcare.

Q: Who reviews the applications for the Pilot Project  Awards?

A; Reviews of full applications are conducted by members of Advance-CTR Pilot Projects Program Steering Committee, which is composed of senior faculty across Brown, Brown School of Public Health, URI, and the hospital affiliates (Lifespan, Care New England, Providence VA), and, in keeping with our focus on community engagement, members of community organizations with relevant expertise. However, if a proposal's content area is not within the expertise of the committee, we will involve external reviewers with the appropriate expertise.

Q: What is considered too ambitious in terms of a research plan?

A: Reviewers will be assessing for feasibility based on the allotted performance period, funds available, and the background of the investigator as well as mentor(s). It is up to the applicant, with support from mentors, to determine what a feasible research plan would be.

Q: Where can I find links to the Human Subjects and Clinical Trial Form and the IER template?

A: These links can be found in the RFA. For your convenience, they are also listed here:

CTR-HSCT Form and IER Template