Translational Pilot Studies

The University at Buffalo CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program, with local institutional support and an award from the National Institutes of Health, provides seed money to advance promising new technologies and therapeutics from the conceptual stage to clinical trials.

Advancing translational research

The program seeks proposals for innovative, high-impact, clinical-translational science projects. Translation, as defined by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic or community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations. Interventions may range from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral interventions.


The CTSI CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program funds original preliminary (“seed”) projects that will allow applicants to generate sufficient preliminary data to secure future extramural funding, or to develop new methods or make discoveries that will significantly advance translational science. 


  • Support pilot studies to develop innovative methods and technologies to solve significant clinical and translational research problems
  • Foster cross-disciplinary collaborations and mentoring relationships
  • Create a context for innovation in clinical and translational science within the Buffalo Translational Consortium


We support projects across the T1-T4 translational spectrum with a focus on building interdisciplinary research teams, particularly those that pair junior (“early-stage”) investigators with established, more senior investigators. We invite investigators from the basic, clinical, and/or applied sciences to apply. Please note: No clinical trials beyond phase IIA will be supported by this CTSI program.

Successful pilot studies projects should address a significant translational research question that will lead to generalizable knowledge and insights that will advance translational science so that new diagnoses, treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients more rapidly.


Priority will be given to projects that address health care disparities in underserved or underrepresented populations in Western New York. All applicants should have a preliminary hypothesis underlying the research and a defined plan and timeline for seeking extramural federal funding (e.g., NIH, National Science Foundation, etc.), or a defined plan for the application and dissemination of new research methods (i.e., extramural funding, publications, conferences, etc.).

Applicants should also articulate a plan for publication or dissemination of all research results, whether positive or negative.

Additional priority will be given to projects submitted by “early stage” (NIH definition) investigators collaborating with senior, established researchers who have a history of substantive extramural research funding, and where the project promotes collaboration within and across different UB departments and schools/colleges, as well as with other Buffalo Translational Consortium partner institutions (e.g., Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Research Institute on Addictions, etc.).

Typically, pilot studies awards are one-year duration, with total budgets of up to $50,000. 


In order to be eligible to apply for and receive pilot studies funding, you must:

  • Be a full-time faculty member at UB or at an affliated BTC partner institution, and
  • Agree, if called upon, to serve as a reviewer for proposals submitted for a current or future rounds of CTSI pilot studies funding.

Please note:  Trainees (i.e., graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, clinical residents or fellows) are not eligible to apply for CTSI pilot studies funding.

Only one person can serve as the PI and submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) or full application. [LOIs and applications are tracked by the PI’s last name.]  All other collaborators are considered “co-investigators” (Co-Is).

Requests For Proposals (RFPs) are intended to solicit applications for projects that accomplish several goals. They should:
The pilot studies review process consists of an initial letter of intent which determines invitations for full RFPs (Requests For Proposals). The invited full proposals are then reviewed according to RFP criteria by faculty in a partner Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) hub. 
The University at Buffalo CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program supports groundbreaking research to develop innovative methods and technologies that solve clinical and translational research problems while fostering cross-disciplinary collaborations and mentoring relationships.