Pilot & Feasibility Program

The Pilot and Feasibility (P and F) programs at the University of Chicago DRTC support new initiatives in diabetes related biomedical, epidemiological or behavioral research. The program is designed to provide limited support to develop preliminary data sufficient for funding of a research grant application or to test an innovative hypothesis which might have important implications or yield significant results for diabetes related research.

We are currently accepting applications for 2023 funding and applications are due by February 1, 2023.

P and F Project Requirements

Eligible investigators should hold a PhD, MD or MD/PhD degree and have a full time appointment at a research university or medical center in the Chicagoland area.  Postdoctoral and MD Fellows are not eligible to apply, while faculty of parenthetical rank are eligible to apply.  Applicants include new investigators without current or past NIH support as principal investigators, established grant supported investigators who have not previously worked in diabetes related areas, or established investigators in diabetes related areas with a proposal for testing the feasibility of a new or innovative idea that is diabetes related and represents a clear and distinct departure from his/her ongoing research interests.

DRTC Pilot & Feasibility studies are research projects aimed at: 1) attracting more junior members of the faculty into the area of diabetes-related research; 2) allowing more established faculty members who are not currently engaged in diabetes research to extend their investigations into this important area; or 3) permitting any faculty member to test a novel hypothesis of relevance to diabetes which might not yet meet NIH requirements for R01 funding. It is strongly anticipated that the results of these pilot projects will eventually permit investigators to compete successfully for more standard sources of research support.  

We and the NIH view diabetes as a multifaceted disease with broad biological aspects. Applications are acceptable from any member of the faculty who believes that he or she can make an important contribution in any of these areas within the framework of molecular understanding of diabetes and broader aspects of endocrinology using cellular, animal and/or clinical approaches.

Applications that propose to investigate social, behavioral and psychological aspects of diabetes, health outcomes or community outreach are not suitable for this funding mechanism.  Instead, applicants should consider applying for P&F funding through the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translational Research.

Pilot and Feasibility Studies will be funded for one year beginning April 1, 2023, with the option of a second year of funding contingent on satisfactory progress. Pilot and Feasibility Studies are funded up to $40,000/yr in direct costs. Funds may be requested for personnel, supplies, service and other costs, as for any NIH grant application. There is no support for PI salary or indirect costs so they should not be included in the budget.

P&F awardees are required to attend the Annual Diabetes Day held each May at the University of Chicago campus as a requirement for a second year of support. Awardees are encouraged to present a poster in the second year of funding at this meeting.

Pilot & Feasibility applications are limited to 5 single-spaced typewritten pages (Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation, Experimental Plan) plus applicable NIH forms (face page, abstract, table of contents, year 1 budget and modular budget justification, NIH Biosketch and resource page) and are due by February 1, 2023.  Final award notification will depend on the pending NIH funding of the DRTC.  We are particularly interested in applications from candidates from backgrounds that are under-represented in medicine. 
For questions regarding the application, please contact Michelle Williams ( or Dr. Ronald Cohen (

Please email final applications to both Michelle and Dr. Cohen, along with Gladys Paz ( before February 1, 2023.