Pilot Projects Program

Have a Good Idea? We'll Help You Grow It

Our mission is to improve health in our region. If you have an idea--or even the seed of one--talk to us. The NNE-CTR funds projects for the initiation of preclinical, clinical, or translational research. The NNE-CTR will help you every step of the way, including the application process, study design, collaborators, and IRB approval. Advance your career with research and professional development support through the NNE-CTR's Pilot Projects Program. 


Some Previous Research Topics ...


  • Neonatal care in rural settings
  • Breast cancer research
  • Leukemia research
  • Improving outcomes for victims of cardiac arrest
  • Access to clean syringes
  • Pregnancy and opioid use
  • Immunotherapy and heart health
  • The needs of babies of opioid-using mothers
  • Blood clot risk among patients receiving cancer care
  • Dementia
  • Multiple myeloma research
  • Stroke care in rural settings
  • Pain treatment
  • Non-toxic cancer treatment
  • Pain management for opioid users
  • Wood stoves and indoor air quality
  • Mindfulness and autism caregivers
  • Reducing falls among the elderly
  • Health access for refugees


The Details


  • Pilot Project Awards provide one year of seed funding. 
  • All PIs on the application must be registered with the NNE-CTR. (Need to become a member? Learn more about membership and sign up here!)
  • While the NNE-CTR has a history of supporting a range of projects from cell biology to public health initiatives, we encourage pilot project proposals that examine the intersection of the changing climate and mental health as climate events have a profound effect on mental health
  • The NNE-CTR Pilot Projects Program supports a wide variety of projects, from bench science to social science.
  • Collaboration is key: Broad collaborations, particularly across our three-state area, are helpful in your pilot project application. This includes co-PIs, mentors, specialists, community groups and non-profits. It's never too early to start collaborating, and we're happy to help you build your team. Just contact Sheila Clifford-Bova, Program Manager, NNE-CTR. 


Click here for Application Materials and How-To Guides

Your Pilot Project and Your Core Leads 

Our core leads (below) play a pivotal role in assisting investigators throughout the project cycle. We do that in the following ways: 

  • Serving as a first point of contact for inquiries about the program
  • Connecting investigators with one of our experienced research navigators to help with ideation, design, the application, the IRB and IACUC process, and the project itself
  • Monthly meetings between investigators and core leads to ensure smooth progress
  • Arranging research progress presentations for awardees to present to core leads and navigators
  • Collection of data throughout the process to produce a final report and analysis for the Administrative Core
  • Connecting investigators to other NNE-CTR initiatives

Our Team

RobKoza pic_tif (002)Rob Koza
Core Lead

Janet Stein headshot

Janet Stein, PhD
University of Vermont
Core Co-Lead

Meet Past Awardees:

Become a Member

Applicants are required to register as NNE-CTR members in order to be eligible for a pilot award. Learn more about the free benefits of membership, and join today!

NNE-CTR Pilot Project Information Session 7/14/2023

Click the link above to view the Pilot Project Information Session hosted by Core Leads Dr. Rob Koza and Dr. Janet Stein. Interested pilot project applicants attended to learn about the Pilot Project Proposal Process, requirements and tips for submitting a Letter of Intent, and some of the eligibility requirements and budgetary guidelines involved in our pilot project process.

NNE-CTR Pilot Project Navigator Training Session 8/2023

Click the link above to view the Pilot Project Navigator Training Session hosted by Core Leads Kimberly Luebbers and Susan Santangelo. The session focuses on the regulatory requirements involved in pilot project grants (based on NIH guidelines). It's beneficial to pilot project applicants who wish to learn more about the application requirements as well as to our own NNE-CTR navigators and analysts.

NNE-CTR Full Application Workshop 9/2023

Click the link above to view the Pilot Project and Joint Catalyst Award Full Application Workshop hosted by Pilot Project Core Leads Dr. Rob Koza (MH) and Dr. Janet Stein (UVM LCOM). The session introduced Round 8 applicants to the NNE-CTR Service Core Leads and team members who stand ready to assist investigators in creating fundable applications for our grant awards. A walkthrough of the full application process then followed, with a robust Q&A.  Go to Round 8 Pilot Project/Joint Catalyst Award Applicant Workshop for the slide deck.