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Pilot Grants Program

Augusto Ochoa

Augusto Ochoa, MD
Program Director
LSUH New Orleans

Tonette Krousel-Wood

M. "Tonette" Krousel-Wood, MD, MSPH
Program Co-Director
Tulane University

Peter Katzmarzyk

Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD
Program Co-Director
Pennington Biomedical

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About This Core

To promote clinical and translational research among faculty in the State, it is imperative to have adequate financial, administrative and regulatory support across and within the collaborating institutions to facilitate project initiation, conduct and completion.

The Pilot Grants Program will provide financial support for these pilot projects, facilitate support-in-kind such as access to cores, statistical and regulatory support, and help awardees obtain any education and training needed to enhance the long-term success of these projects. The Pilot Grants Program will ensure the support and identification of promising research projects at all member institutions, and the rational allocation of core resources.

Specifically, this program will support pilot, feasibility and collaborative research studies of significance and impact that would then allow the investigator to be competitive for extramural NIH R01 funding. The long-term goal of this program is to develop a critical mass of senior scientists and promising young investigators trained in translational research. The pilot program will provide significant funding to support early stage research efforts of junior faculty, while at the same time, encouraging collaboration among the institutions in support of these projects. The Pilot Grants Program will specifically encourage and support those proposing novel research methodologies.

The vision for the Pilot Grants Program consists of the following key components:

  • To provide support for promising clinical research in the form of translational research awards especially for those that demonstrate collaboration among the various institutions and among scientific disciplines.
  • To increase the critical mass of scientists in clinical and translational research by providing support and resources for junior faculty interested in clinical research and senior faculty interested in moving their research toward a clinical focus.
  • To identify, solicit and support projects involving novel technologies and hypotheses at both the basic and clinical level that have potential to enhance translational research and commercialization of inventions and discoveries.

With an expanded infrastructure now in place, we will build on the prior successes of the PPP Core using three new strategies aimed at: [a] promoting diversification of Pilot Project applicants and awardees and [b] facilitating “team science” to ensure the development of multi-institutional centers of excellence that can rapidly address emerging health challenges and capitalize on major federal funding opportunities and [c] training translational scientists and clinicians through partnerships with other institutions. These strategies are aimed at continuing to build an effective and innovative infrastructure that strengthens core resources, consolidates research teams, and ensures long-term sustainability of the gains achieved. We propose the following Specific Aims:

Aim 1: To solicit, review, and recommend funding for LA CaTS Pilot Project grant awards. These awards are expected to lead to high quality clinical and translational research applications for extramural funding. We will prioritize early-stage investigators and junior faculty from underrepresented minority populations.
Aim 2: To build inter-institutional teams of investigators. These teams are expected to be rapidly competitive for major federal grant initiatives addressing existing and emerging diseases affecting our population and worsening health disparities in the Gulf South.
Aim 3. To provide opportunities for early-stage investigators and clinicians to engage in new research training opportunities. Investigators will learn novel, cutting edge methods for the conduct, translation and implementation of innovative research including clinical trials. This aim fills an important need by keeping our investigators abreast of the latest methods and procedures given the ever-shifting landscape of clinical research.

The Pilot Grants Program also oversees two additional funding and training opportunity programs investigators from LA CaTS Center member institutions can apply for:

  • Grant Development Award Program - provides support so that junior and/or senior faculty can collaborate on planning and preparation for submission of interdisciplinary and innovative grant applications
  • Visiting Scholars Program - intended for investigators to learn new techniques and to acquire different skills and expertise by interacting with experts in the field outside of the LA CaTS Center institutions.