LA CaTS Cores & Resources

LA CaTS Center Pilot Grants Frequently Asked Questions

LA CaTS Center Pilot Grants Funding Opportunities

1. How often are pilot grant applications awarded?

Our regular rounds of pilots are announced once per year following the Standard Due Dates as listed on our website. In addition, the LA CaTS Center may offer special one-time grants (i.e. multi-institutional grants, etc.) throughout the year.

2. How can I find out about your announcements for pilot and other grant funding opportunities? 

You can visit the LA CaTS Center website home page and subscribe (in the top left corner) to receive email notifications of all opportunities OR email

3. Is a Letter of Intent (LOI) required for pilot grant applications?

Yes, usually either a letter of intent or pre-application is required, but please refer to the specific RFA for all requirements.

4. Who should submit the Letter of Intent and application?

The principal investigator (PI) should submit all required documents for review electronically as instructed in the RFA.

5. How will the principal investigators be informed whether their letter of intent has been accepted and if their grant is funded or not? 

An email will be sent directly to the PI notifying them if their letter of intent was accepted. This will typically include a request to submit a full proposal.  An email will also be sent to notify the PI of the funding decision.

6. Will proposal applicants receive the comments from the grant reviews?

Yes, applicants will receive reviewer comments by email after the awarded grants are announced.

7. How does funding work for my LA CaTS Center grant award?

Typically LA CaTS Center grants are funded either directly from LA CaTS Center (NIH funds) or by the member institutions participating in the Pilot Grants Program. The PI will be notified of the funding source. Regardless of funding source, all LA CaTS Center projects must  receive final approval from LA CaTS Center administration after regulatory approval(s) is received before the project can begin. Some projects may also need NIH approval, but the Administrative Core staff will assist with facilitating this approval. Contact for questions regarding approvals.

8. Before a pilot grant can be submitted for review, does it have to be routed and signed off by my institution’s research office?

Yes, all pilot grant applications must be routed and signed off by your respective institution’s research office for approval before submission. The face page for each application should be signed by your institutional official.

9. Are appendices allowed as part of the application?

Unless stated in the RFA instructions, appendices are typically allowed for documents such as manuscript reprints, letters, IRB/IACUC approvals, questionnaires, etc. Appendices do not count toward the allotted page limit for the Research Plan.

10. Are references included in the specified page limit for the Research Plan?

No, references are not to be counted in the specified page limit.

11. What are the project start & end dates?

Unless stated otherwise in the RFA, the earliest start date for a pilot project would be the day after the project has been awarded, provided the PI has submitted all required documents and has obtained written approvals from the LA CaTS Center and/or NIH (note:  the LA CaTS Center Administrative Core will facilitate the NIH approval process). The end date is one year from the project start date. A second year of funding is possible, but is contingent on progress made in Year 1.  For a second year of funding, investigators may be required to reapply in the next round of pilot projects or as instructed by the Pilot Grants Program Director or Committee.

12. Are biosketches required for each Co-investigator and for key personnel?

Unless otherwise stated in the RFA instructions, biosketches are required for the PI only, with a short personal statement of their commitment to the proposed project. Biosketches should be submitted on the NIH template.

13. Do I need to provide verification in the application that I have consulted with the LA CaTS Cores on my project?

You do not need to provide signatures or verification that you have contacted our cores. However, a statement that you plan to use or have utilized any of the LA CaTS Cores or Resources should be included in your application.  This utilization will most likely strengthen the review of your proposal.  Note:  if awarded, you may also be requested to report your utilization of the LA CaTS Center resources.

14. Will the application be sent to NIH? 

Yes, projects that are funded by the LA CaTS Center (NIH funds) will be sent to the NIH for review and approval before the project can begin.

15. Can I change the title of my project in the application stage?

Yes, contact so we can change the title in our system.

16. Is there a LA CaTS Center RFP # for the application face page?

No, however please do list the title on the Request for Applications instructions.

17. Can an investigator from an institution not part of the LA CATS Center submit an application to the Pilot Grants Program (Pilot Grants, Visiting Scholars, Grant Development Awards, etc.)?

No, all pilot grants should be submitted by a PI whose primary affiliation is from one of the LA CaTS Center member institutions. However, you are allowed to have collaborators outside of the LA CaTS Center institutions on the project.

18. Does an assistant professor require a mentor to co-sign an application?

Unless stated in the RFA instructions, it is not typically required that a mentor co-sign our application.  However, we strongly suggest you have a senior advisor or mentor for the proposal.

19. I am a pilot grant awardee and need to request a no cost extension to complete my project. Who do I contact?

Please contact send a request to We will notify you on the process and what information is needed.

20. Do I need to provide a letter of collaboration/support from all collaborators on the project?

Unless otherwise stated in the specific RFA, letters from collaborators are not required as part of the pilot application. However, the role of the collaborators must be explained in the research proposal.

21. Is an individual eligible to apply for the Pilot Program if s/he was the recipient of a COBRE grant?

The Project lead for Pilot projects may not concurrently have research funding from other IDeA Program award mechanisms (e.g. INBRE, COBRE). Pilot projects may not overlap with ongoing funded projects.

Pilot Grants Budget FAQs

22. Will the Pilot grant provide/allow indirect costs?

Although facilities and administrative costs are allowed under the terms of the prime award, it is our belief that these funds should be used in the spirit intended i.e. direct costs in support of this project. It is hoped that for an award of this type, your institution will consider these costs as matching funds to your project.

23. Since approval for a second year of funding for a pilot grant is not guaranteed, should the initial Year 1 application’s project description & budget include Year 2 details?

The pilot study emphasis needs to be on the first year.  However, the project description and budget for Year 2 should be included in the application along with the project description of Year 1 in as much detail as possible. We fully expect significant progress the first year, and based on progress and results achieved by the end of Year 1, the Pilot Grants Committee may award the 2nd year. The timeframe and format to apply for a 2nd year of funding will be up to the Pilot Grants Committee.

24. Should consultation and/or service fees be included in the budget for internal consultants (from LA CaTS) and external (outside of LA CaTS Center Cores)?

Budgeting for an outside consultant is only allowed if the consultant is providing services that cannot be provided by the LA CaTS Center Cores and Resources.  You also must provide a strong justification for this need and a clear fee schedule in the application. There are many no-cost services offered by the LA CaTS Cores, however some of our cores do require a budget so investigators should contact those cores for possible costs early on in the application process. All service and/or consultation fees should be listed on the budget pages. Requests for consultations from the LA CaTS Cores and Resources should be made on the LA CaTS website.

25. Can I request money to purchase equipment?

No. Equipment costing over $5,000 is not allowed through the LA CaTS Center Pilot Grants Program.

26. If the PI is responsible for clinical/technical time in actual implementation of the project (i.e. time spent in database construction performed by PI), can salary support be listed on the budget?

No, funds compensating the PI’s time on any level are not allowed.

27. Can a post-doctoral researcher’s salary be included in the budget?

Yes, but the post-doc’s effort has to be proportional to the work being done and the final budget should provide for all supplies, etc. to complete the study.

28. If the budget for the project exceeds the awarded amount, should the PI list the source of funds for the additional dollars allocated to carry out the project?

It is recommended that the PI list the source of funds for additional project support in the Research Approach section of the LA CaTS Pilot Proposal.