Pediatric Research Alliance Pilots

Special CCIV Request for Applications Related to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: Due April 3, 2020 by 6:00 PM
Due to the recent outbreak caused by SARS-CoV-2, CCIV is conducting a special call for applications related to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 ONLY.

  • Projects selected for award under this special RFA will have a project period of May 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021.
  • All terms and conditions for center-based awards as stated in this RFA will apply to projects awarded through the special CCIV RFA.
  • CCIV also will accept applications on any topic related to the center during the primary RFA for center and JFF pilot grants.
  • See the How to Apply tab below for a link to the online application portal.

Primary Request for Applications for Center and JFF Pilot Grants: Due July 1, 2020 by 6:00 PM

  • Projects selected for award through the primary RFA will have a project period of October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2021.
  • The primary RFA will include the following centers and programs: CCIV, CORPH, CTID, CDD, CPCT, Marcus and JFF.
  • The online application portal for the primary RFA will open in early April.

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 in the primary RFA:

  • 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 (Children's). This includes those Emory faculty who are outside of the Emory DOP or employed by the Pediatric Institute and who are on Children's professional staff as well as all non-faculty clinicians on Children'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 2018 should have concluded by 6/30/2019 and should lead to submission of an extramural research proposal by 6/30/2020. 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 abstract and provide an oral or poster presentation at the annual Southeastern Pediatric Research Conference.
  • 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:

To resume a saved application of any type, or view a submitted application of any type, please click here.

Note: Some links have been disabled and will be reactivated during the next application cycle.

Awardees by Year:











Center- and Program-Specific Themes

Director: Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD
Coordinator: Karol Flowers

CCIV is conducting a special request for applications related to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 ONLY. Applications are due April 3, 2020 by 6:00 PM. Please note:

  • Projects selected for award under the special RFA will have a project period of May 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021.
  • All terms and conditions for center-based awards as stated in this RFA apply to projects awarded through the special CCIV RFA.
  • See the How to Apply tab above for a link to the online application portal.

CCIV also will accept applications on any topic related to the center during the primary RFA cycle, which will open in early April 2020 and have an application due date of July 1, 2020.

Most Recent Success Rate (2018): 22% (9 applications received/2 funded)

Model CCIV Pilot Grant Application
Autophagy Mechanisms in Human Bone Marrow Long-lived Plasma Cell Generation and Maintenance (2014)
Frances Eun-Hyung Lee, MD

This application is a model of excellent grantsmanship. It exhibits a clearly defined hypothesis, aims that test this hypothesis, expected results and alternatives for each aim. Figures are easy to read and legends describing the figures are easy to understand. She also provides good use (but not overuse) of bold text to highlight important points. This project led directly to an R01 (4 year total: $2,102,432) and a project on a P01 (5 year total: est. $1,923,447). Click here to view the research plan. 

Acting Director: Ann Mertens, PhD, MS
Coordinator: Tracy Willoughby

CORPH is accepting applications on any topic related to the center.

Please also see the inaugural RFA for the Global Health Office of Pediatrics (GHOPE), which supports trainee-engaged pilot research, quality improvement initiatives, or programmatic work in global child health.

Most Recent Success Rate (2018): 22% (9 applications received/2 funded)

Model CORPH Pilot Grant Application
Childhood Asthma Phenotypes: Identification and Utility in Outcome Prediction (2018)
Anne Fitzpatrick, PhD, RN, CPNP, MSCR & Claudia Morris, MD, FAAP

This project was selected from a competitive pool of 9 applications based on the strong interdisciplinary team with a documented track record of collaboration including prior publications; the potential of this project to develop precision-driven medicine in a pediatric population; and the likelihood of obtaining extramural funding. This project is on-going. Click here to view the research plan.

Co-Directors: Subra Kugathasan, MD and Greg Gibson, PhD
Coordinator: Tracy Willoughby

CTID is seeking applications related to the implementation of personalized genomics. Preference will be given to proposals taking a personalized genomic approach to immune-mediated disease, but applications from members of other centers with a precision genomics focus will also be considered.

Most Recent Success Rate (2018): 40% (5 applications received/2 funded)

Model CTID Pilot Grant Application
Differential Roles for Human Fetal B Lymphocytes in Childhood and Adult Immunopathologies (2018)
Eliver Ghosn, PhD

This pilot project was selected from a competitive pool of five (5) applications largely for the novelty of the hypothesis, the potential to grow genomic studies of immunology in pediatrics, and likelihood of obtaining extramural funding. Dr. Ghosn has been able to use the support to obtain further evidence that fetal B cells take up permanent residence in adult tissues where they may well be contributing to the etiology of immune disorders. He was preparing to apply for NIH funding when the new policy essentially prohibiting research using human fetal tissue came into effect; nevertheless, the research was able to support his component of a very large DARPA award that has been funded and will be a major component of his research for the next five years. As envisaged, Dr Ghosn has established himself as a leader of single cell genomic analysis in the domain of pediatric immunology at Emory and Children's. This project led to the aforementioned DARPA grant (4 year total: $734,911), 2 publications, and 1 poster presentation. Click here to view the research plan.

Director: Baek Kim, PhD
Coordinator: Tracy Willoughby

CDD is seeking applications that fulfill the following key criteria:

  • Disease relevance and significance
  • Cell culture based phenotypes that can be read by Cytation 3
  • Feasibility, reproducibility and simplicity of the phenotypic readouts/systems

Most Recent Success Rate (2018): 33% (6 applications received/2 funded)

Model CDD Pilot Grant Application
Cell-Based Screen for Enhancers of Bacterial Killing by CF Airway Neutrophils (2018)
Rabin Tirouvanziam, PhD

This pilot application was selected for funding because this application harbors an innovative drug screening concept as well as its strong relevance to pediatric health. This application searches for novel disease related screening platforms that can be used for compounds enhancing bacteria killing by neutrophils in CF patients. Indeed, based on the outcome of this pilot support, Dr. Tirouvanziam was able to develop a screening system proper for both medium and high throughput compound screenings. Importantly, this outcome enabled Dr. Tirouvanziam's team to acquire new two-year funding from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which will further encourage this team to pursue their search for exciting novel compounds for the treatment of CF patients. This project led to the aforementioned CFF grant (2 year total: $269,495). Click here to view the research plan.

Co-Directors: Trent Spencer, PhD and Ed Horwitz, MD, PhD
Coordinator: Jianing Li, PhD

CPCT will accept any proposal related to cellular/gene therapy with high potential for translation to treatment and patient care.

Most Recent Success Rate (2019): 66% (3 applications received/2 funded)

A model CPCT pilot grant application is not available.

Research Directors: Gordon Ramsay, PhD and Larry Scahill, MSN, PhD
Coordinator: Jennifer Shipp

Marcus Autism Center will accept any proposal related to pediatric brain health and social development.

Most Recent Success Rate (2018): 50% (4 applications received/2 funded)

Model Marcus Autism Center Pilot Grant Application
Neural Correlates of Perceived Salience in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2016)
Sarah Shultz, PhD

This application is a model for all of our pilot grants. The structure clearly demonstrates that the investigator understands how to write a successful NIH proposal. The specific aims are clearly stated and explicitly linked to testable hypotheses. The significance of each aim, and the innovation of the proposal, are soundly anchored in the literature and in pilot data from the author's own studies, increasing confidence in feasibility. The experimental design is explicitly described and meticulously detailed. The statistical analysis states exactly how the final results will be used to test the initial hypotheses. Finally, the document is a pleasure to read, and the text and figures are beautifully formatted with no errors, reducing the burden on the reviewer. Click here to view the research plan.

Program Officer: Stacy Heilman, PhD
Coordinators: Jennifer Villaseñor and Karol Flowers

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. 

Most Recent Success Rate (2019): 33% (6 applications received/2 funded)

Model JFF Pilot Grant Applications
Contribution of Alternative Complement Pathway to Acute Lung Injury in Sickle Mice (2018)
Satheesh Chonat, MD
Mentors: Sean Stowell, MD, PhD & Clint Joiner, MD, PhD
Research and Career Development Plans

Towards Translation of Platelet Contraction Cytometry as a Biophysical Biomarker of Bleeding in Immune Thrombocytopenia (2018)
David Myers, PhD
Mentors: Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD & Carolyn Bennett, MD, MS
Research and Career Development Plans

The example applications were chosen because of the balanced emphasis on both the research and career development plans. Competitive applications will specify what extramural funding opportunity will be pursued, in what timeframe, and how the JFF award will provide them with the time, resources, and preliminary results needed to position them for successful extramural funding. Both projects are on-going.