Pilot Program

Call for Pilot & Feasibility Proposals in Pediatric Kidney Disease

Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology
Call for Pilot & Feasibility Proposals in Pediatric Kidney Disease
Cycle 1: 2023 Start Date


The Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology (PCENs) at the University of Virginia (UVA), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) are issuing a joint RFA for Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) projects. The PCEN program is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and was established to:

  1. Attract new scientific expertise to the study of human pediatric renal physiology, kidney development, and pediatric kidney disorders;
  2. Encourage multidisciplinary research in these areas; and
  3. Develop the pediatric nephrology research community—in part through the P&F Program.

The PCENs are seeking applications for one-year pilot and feasibility research projects. The maximum funding is $50,000 in direct costs for one year, with one optional no-cost extension (NCE).

Applications are expected to generate preliminary data to support future research applications. Research with science proposed that is not relevant to pediatric kidney disease or health will not be accepted. Proposals that utilize one of the PCENs’ Cores are encouraged but not required (see descriptions below).


Early-stage investigators, new investigators, or established investigators not previously involved in pediatric nephrology research are invited to apply. The P&F program and funds are not intended to support or supplement the ongoing research of an established investigator.

Key Dates

  • Letters of Intent are due by Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at 5:00 PM EST.
  • Invitations to submit Full Applications will be issued by February 15, 2023.
  • Full Applications are due by Wednesday, March 7, 2023, at 5:00 PM EST.
  • Awards will be announced in May 2023.

How to Apply

All letters of intent and applications should be submitted electronically to the administrative contact at the most applicable Center (listed on page 3) as PDFs. All proposals must receive Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval (as applicable) before the funding begins.

Application Guidelines

All letters and full applications must be submitted as a single PDF file. Submissions must be in Arial, 11-point font with 0.5-inch margins.

Letter of Intent (1 page): The letter of intent should be a 1-page description that outlines a promising research project that aligns with the goals of the PCEN Pilot and Feasibility Program. The letter should contain the following items:

  • Descriptive title of the proposed research
  • Name, department, and contact information for the PI
  • A brief summary of the specific aims, central hypothesis, rationale, research approach, and significance of the findings or outcome for advancing the
  • Field of pediatric kidney research in relation to the theme of the Center.
  • Timeline for completion of the project with quarterly milestones.
  • Which Core resources or services do you intend to use through one or more of the Centers and how they will benefit the project?

Full Applications (if invited):

  • Research Proposal (3 pages): The research proposal must be no longer than 3 single-spaced pages. References do not count toward the page limit. The research proposal should include the following information:
    • Essential background information relative to the project.
    • Specific aims, central hypothesis, rationale, research approach, and implications for potential findings.
    • Description of Core resources or services to be used and how they will benefit the project (if applicable).
    • Timeline and milestones for completion of the project.
    • The importance of this funding to the feasibility of your research proposal and future research applications. Indicate if any other funds are available to you for the proposed research.
    • Anticipated findings and how they relate to the theme of the Center.
  • NIH Biosketch: NIH format bio sketches must be submitted for the PI and the Co-PIs.
  • Budget (Template): Please use the Excel template budget page and provide detailed expenses. This form will be provided to those who are invited to submit the full application.
  • Budget Justification: Please provide a short justification for all personnel, supplies, and services for the project.

Budget Guidelines

  • Budgets of any size up to $50,000 may be submitted.
  • The following are not allowable and cannot be requested:
    • Indirect costs are not allowable.
    • Salary support for faculty is not allowable. However, salary support for staff is allowable.
    • Equipment expenditures are not allowable. Please keep in mind that equipment is defined as any item costing more than $5,000 with an estimated useful life greater than one year.
  • Name, title/role, percent effort, salary, and benefits must be defined in the budget for each grant participant.
  • Supplies should be detailed by type and number in the budget and the budget justification.
  • Service contracts should be detailed in the budget and budget justification.
  • If you are invited to submit a full proposal, guidance on budget preparation for Core utilization will be provided.

Information for Funded Projects
Funded projects will be assigned to one of the 3 PCEN Centers for subsequent administration.

IRB or IACUC Approval Letter: Funding will be delayed until these approval documents are received by your assigned PCEN Center. The applicants are encouraged to have a feasible plan to obtain these in a timely manner.

Progress Reports: All progress reports will be submitted to your assigned PCEN Center and should serve as a summary of the progress of the research to date. Each report should be no more than 2 single-spaced pages and list any abstracts/publications and/or additional awards related to this pilot project.

Any publications or presentations that are the direct result of this funding MUST include the applicable funding reference text, to be provided to applicants upon award. You will be prohibited from applying for future pilot funding if you do not reference the funding support on publications and if you do not submit timely progress reports.

All grantees are expected to present research results at the annual PCEN P50 scientific symposiums.

Application or Funding Questions
For questions, please contact the administrative lead at the institution to which you are applying:

Deadlines & Application Requirements

Questions or Applications

Submit your application by Emailing R. Ariel Gomez, Md, Director PCEN/UVA.

Click Here Here to Email
  • Letters of intent: Due by  Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at 5:00 pm EST.
  • One-page letter
  • Biographical sketch, NIH format
  • Full application: Due by Wednesday, March 7, 2023, at 5:00 pm EST.
  • 4-page application (including figures and references)
  • Budget & Justification
  • 1-page essay
  • 2 Letters of support (1 from a mentor)

A number of awards and review timeline: it is expected that up to two meritorious awards will be made. Reviews will be completed by August 20 and awards will be announced in May 2023.

Questions or Applications

Submit your application by Emailing R. Ariel Gomez, Md, Director PCEN/UVA.

Click Here Here to Email

Institution Cores and Resources