Pediatric Research Alliance Pilots

The next application cycle is expected to take place in spring 2020.

PURPOSE: To stimulate new research projects, build new collaborations, and increase extramural funding for pediatric research.  Proposals should be aimed towards generating preliminary data for subsequent extramural grant applications. 

AMOUNT: Up to $50,000 for 12 months

TYPES: Two types of awards will be offered:

  • Center-based awards
  • Junior Faculty Focused awards


  • The principal investigator(s) must hold a faculty appointment at their institution(s) which allows them to serve as principal investigator on extramural grant applications.
  • All applications must involve two or more investigators, at least one of whom:
    • Has a primary faculty appointment in the Emory Department of Pediatrics (DOP) OR
    • Is on the professional staff at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). This includes those Emory faculty outside of the Emory Department of Pediatrics who are employed by the Pediatric Institute, who are on CHOA's professional staff and all those non-faculty clinicians who are on CHOA's professional staff.
  • Faculty from GRA-affiliated institutions are encouraged to apply; however, a faculty appointment at a GRA-affiliated institution is not required.


  • The principal investigator (PI) must have a current rank of Instructor or Assistant Professor at Emory and be no more than 7 years into their faculty appointment. The PI’s primary faculty appointment must be in the Emory Department of Pediatrics; if the primary appointment is in another Emory department, the PI must have professional staff privileges at CHOA. Please note that adjunct faculty appointments do not meet this requirement.
  • The PI must have NIH New Investigator status, meaning she/he has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award such as an R01. Click here for a detailed definition and exclusions.
  • The PI cannot be PI on any grant with more than $200,000 of direct costs per year.
  • The PI must be on a trajectory to become independently funded, meaning they expect to apply as PI for K or R level funding within the next three years. Submitting an extramural grant proposal (of any level) as PI within 1 year of the end date of a funded pilot is a firm requirement.
  • The application must include a mentor and a mentee, similar to an NIH K career development award.
    • The mentee serves as PI of the application.
    • The mentor must be listed as a co-investigator to fulfill the requirement for a second researcher.
    • The mentor must include a statement in the application on the applicant’s likelihood of being successful as an independent researcher. 
  • Both the scientific plan and the candidate’s past and future productivity will be factored into the funding decision.
  • The applicant’s career objectives must be clearly stated on her/his biosketch.


  • Funds may not be used to build databases or other infrastructure.
  • Investigators may not receive funding from a Pediatric Research Center or the Pediatric Research Alliance for multiple projects if the projects have the same or overlapping aims.
  • If you received a Pediatric Research Center pilot grant in the past and are not in compliance with the requirements of your previous award, you are not eligible to apply for another pilot grant from the Pediatric Research Alliance.  All pilots awarded in 2011 or later required the PI to submit a proposal for extramural funding within one year of the end date of the pilot project. Unless no cost extensions were granted, pilots awarded between 2011 and 2016 should have concluded by 6/30/2017 and led to submission of an extramural research proposal by 6/30/2018. If you are not sure if you are in compliance, please contact Jennifer Villaseñor to confirm your eligibility. To request a waiver of the extramural funding application requirement, please click here.

REQUIREMENTS: The principal investigator(s) must:

  • Submit a progress report within one month of the end date of the pilot project in the format specified in the Notice of Award.
  • Submit a related application for extramural funding within one year of the end date of the pilot project.
  • Present the progress and results of your project as requested by the center director.
  • Submit an annual update report in our online grants management system in response to requests/prompts from staff for up to six years after the end date of the pilot project. This report must include publications, extramural grant applications and awards, press releases, conference presentations, invention disclosures, patents (pending and approved), and devices or technology that resulted from the pilot.

THEMES: Please see below for center-specific themes and requirements. All proposals must relate to child health.

The primary component of your application is your research plan: a 5-page, single-spaced, Arial 11 font, 1” margin scientific plan document that includes the following:

  • Specific Aims
  • Background and Significance (Be sure to include the significance of the problem under study to child health.)
  • Experimental Design and Methods
  • Note: References should be listed but are not included in the page limit. Appendices are not allowed.

​JFF applicants must also include a separate 2-page career development plan.

Helpful Links for ALL Pilot Applications:

All applications must be submitted electronically through the online application portals:

Awardees by Year:











Center- and Program-Specific Themes

Director: Nael A. McCarty, PhD
Coordinator: Karen Kennedy, PhD

Most Recent Success Rate (2017): 67% (3 applications received/2 funded)

We welcome basic/translational research proposals that directly focus on either cystic fibrosis or asthma. Preference will be given to proposals that link to metabolism, nutrition, exercise, and diabetes (or glucose homeostasis), and their effects on either the human host or microbial pathogens.

Interim Director: Clinton Joiner, MD, PhD
Coordinator: Kristen Herzegh, MPH


Most Recent Success Rate (2017): 22% (9 applications received/2 funded)

Topics appropriate for this CCTR funding opportunity include:

  • Pre-clinical projects aimed at developing a clinical trial
  • First in pediatrics investigator-initiated clinical studies
  • Pilot clinical studies necessary to initiate a phase I or phase II clinical trial
  • Biomarker (genomic, gene expression, cellular, protein, etc.) development and validation in pediatric diseases

Director: Michael E. Davis, PhD
Coordinator: Kristen Herzegh, MPH

Most Recent Success Rate (2017): 20% (5 applications received/1 funded)

Priority will be given to applications that address:

  • Transplant rejection/longevity
  • Cardiooncology in the young
  • Mechanisms of pediatric heart failure
  • Genetics of cardiomyopathy
  • Heart-on-a-chip and other in vitro models

Contact: Stacy Heilman, PhD or Clinton Joiner, MD, PhD
Coordinator: Tracy Willoughby

Most Recent Success Rate (2016): 50% (6 applications received/3 funded)

Any clinical, translational or basic science project related to pediatric brain health will be considered. Partnerships with Georgia Tech are encouraged.

Program Officer: Stacy Heilman, PhD
Coordinator: Jennifer Villaseñor, RN

Most Recent Success Rate (2018): 38% (8 applications received/3 funded)

All child health focused clinical, translational or basic science projects will be considered.

Eligibility requirements for JFF awards are different than those for center-based awards. Please read the above eligibility section carefully. In addition, JFF applications must include the following:

  • Career Development Plan (max. 2 pages) - Please follow the instructions provided in the above Helpful Links section.
  • Statement from mentor on the applicant’s potential to become a successful independent researcher.