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About Us


An operational principle for the CTSI is to maximize the impact of our initiatives through a catalytic approach to the development and testing of new approaches to solving translational research problems, and to implementation and dissemination of those approaches that work. We conduct a robust pilot studies program to identify new methods for translation with an emphasis on strategies to better engage underserved populations.

Translational Pilot Studies Program

The CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program provides funding for innovative, high-impact, clinical and translational science projects. The program provides funding for 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. Funded pilot studies will foster cross-disciplinary collaborations and mentoring relationships to address the following: 

  • Clinical and translational science projects, which is the development and testing of novel methodologies, approaches and technologies that will yield generalizable solutions to research problems that can be applied to translational studies beyond the current proposal
  • Innovative, multidisciplinary clinical and translational research at UB and Buffalo Translational Consortium institutions
  • Implementation science projects that develop and test methods and strategies to facilitate the uptake of evidence-based practice and research into regular use by practitioners and policymakers


The program supports 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 disparities in under-resourced populations, underrepresented populations, and/or special populations (including children and the elderly) in the Western New York region. We encourage proposals that will promote multi-disciplinary collaborations and advance ways in which creativity and innovation can be stimulated, fostered, and augmented in the design and conduct of clinical and translational research.

Research that addresses health disparities can be implemented across all levels of analysis, including but not limited to, those that address social determinants of health, evaluate genetic or epigenetic effects on health disparities, biological and neurobiological influences on health disparities, individual differences in response to drugs that may explain differential health benefits to new or commonly used pharmacological interventions, or developing unique programs that address health disparities in underrepresented populations in WNY, including T3 and T4 translational research projects.

Additional priority will be given to projects submitted by early stage 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 (BTC) partner institutions.

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


To be eligible to apply for and receive pilot studies funding, applicants must:

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

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 principal investigator 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.

Application process

The pilot studies RFP process consists of an initial LOI which determines invitations for full applications. The invited full proposals are then reviewed according to RFP criteria by faculty in a partner Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) hub. To view the seven step application process, click here.

Pre-award research resources and services are offered by the CTSI at no cost to investigators with primary appointments or positions at University at Buffalo and Buffalo Translational Consortium (BTC) institutions. We strongly encourage applicants to take advantage of the CTSI cores to help prepare the most responsive and competitive grant application. (See CTSI Cores tab.)

Creative Scientist Workshop

A unique component of the CTSI Pilot Studies program is the biennial Creative Scientist Workshop, which advances innovation and creativity in clinical and translational science using an approach that is grounded in the science of creativity and collaboration. The workshop targets critical barriers to translation, engages faculty and scholars throughout the CTSA consortium, and disseminates post-workshop results.

This program is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR001412 to the University at Buffalo, as well as: UB’s Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, and Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences; Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center; and the deans of UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Professions, and School of Nursing.