Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program

Overview and Purpose

The Pilot and Feasibility Grants are a component of the NIH Common Fund Metabolomics Program. Their purpose is to promote the use of metabolomics in the broader research community via collaboration with Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Centers (RCMRCs) across the nation, including ours, RC-SIRM at the University of Kentucky. They are specifically designed to support projects that will provide preliminary data for new extramural grant applications that incorporate metabolomics into new areas of biomedical research. The expected outcome is to enhance the use of metabolomics in the broader research community and to foster collaborations and partnerships with the Center.


The RC-SIRM at University of Kentucky provides extensive collaborative services and unique capabilities for metabolomics, with a strong emphasis on stable isotope resolved metabolomics (SIRM). The goal of the Pilot and Feasibility Program is to promote the use of metabolomics in translational research projects by providing analytical support for investigators – both new to and experienced in the metabolomics field – in the area of SIRM studies. SIRM requires experimental design, sample preparation, analyses, data processing, and biochemical interpretation that have unique challenges. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss potential projects with the RC-SIRM staff, in order to generate an appropriate study design that uses SIRM to address metabolic questions of pathways, networks, flux, apportionment of specific carbon, nitrogen, and other atoms (such as one-carbon metabolism, source of hydride in NADPH, etc), and other areas that require SIRM technologies. Matching funds from other sources is encouraged. Data reduction and interpretation is usually extensive, requires specialized knowledge and software tools, so various levels of assistance can be provided.

Eligibility and Criteria

  • Any researcher who is eligible to apply as a Principal Investigator (PI) for NIH funding. In rare cases, a statement of such eligibility from the institution may be requested.
    • Early career investigators who are new to the field of metabolomics are especially encouraged to apply.
  • NIH application and review guidelines will be followed..
  • Applications with the following emphases are encouraged:
    • Development of collaboration and/or scientific partnership with the Center.
    • Benefits for multiple investigators and the submission of multi-PI grants.
    • Inclusion of metabolomics training, especially in experimental design and sample collection.
    • Demonstrated experimental need for metabolomics especially with tracer methodology.
  • “Feasibility” and “Pilot” applications are both encouraged, and applications should clearly state which type, in order to provide the proper context for review. In general, a “feasibility” application is used to conduct a metabolomic analytical survey to address concerns of detection limits, tracer uptake or incorporation, biological specimen size, and other factors, which are required in order to design robust studies. A “pilot” application presumes adequate feasibility determined via discussion with RC-SIRM staff, and seeks to utilize the expertise and capabilities of RC-SIRM to conduct preliminary studies with a clear experimental design; these will have larger budget request than feasibility applications.

  • Participation in certain RC-SIRM events, such as the “gloves-on, gloves-off” Workshop, is required, and registration and accommodation costs must be included in the budget (see below). The Workshop duration is 1 week of gloves-on laboratory followed by 1 week of gloves-off (data processing), and is scheduled to start the final week of July (exact date TBA).

  • Applications that seek to complete ongoing studies or bridge funds will not be considered.

Public Deposition Requirement

As mandated by the NIH Common Fund, all metabolomics data and associated metadata will be deposited in the publicly accessible Metabolomics Data Repository managed by the Data Repository and Coordination Center (DRCC).

Funding Level and Period

  • Up to $50,000 in metabolomics services only, provided by the Center
  • A 12-month funding period is standard; longer periods must be clearly and fully justified in the experimental design and explicitly stated in the milestones.
  • No funds of any type will be transferred to the applicant institution.

Projected Start Date

The earliest projected start date is September 1, 2016, approximately 4 weeks following conclusion of the mandatory Workshop attendance.

Contact Information

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact us for application development.


Application format and budgetary issues concerns are stated below. We strongly urge PIs to contact the RC-SIRM to discuss specific aims and budgetary specifics early in the process to avoid being triaged for non-compliance.


Application deadline is March 16, 2016.


Applications must be prepared using standard NIH PHS398 forms ( http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html).
  • 5-page format that includes:
    • Specific Aims with Hypothesis (1 page or less)
    • Background and Significance (1 page or less)
    • Research Plan (2 pages with timeline/milestones)
      • Both Feasibility and Pilot applications must include a Future Funding section on using results to develop future applications; this will be scored in the review, and lack of such discussion will be considered non-responsive.

      • Bibliography (not part of the 5 page limit)

    • Budget and Budget Justification (1 page). This must be carefully developed in consultation with RC-SIRM
  • Include NIH Biosketches, in the latest format, of all Key Personnel (not part of the 5-page limit).
  • A Data Sharing Plan is mandatory.
    • As mandated by the NIH Common Fund, all metabolomics data and associated metadata will be publically deposited in the Metabolomics Data Repository managed by Data Repository and Coordination Center (DRCC), http://www.metabolomicsworkbench.org/data/index.php.
    • Therefore the Data Sharing Plan must include statement(s) of data deposition to DRCC.
    • Please contact us for an appropriate example.
  • Use standard NIH font and margin requirements:
    • Use an 11pt Arial font in black.
      • A Symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size and color requirement still applies.
    • Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch. Line spacing may be no more than six lines per inch. Use standard paper size (8 ˝" x 11).
    • Use at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages. No information should appear in the margins.
    • Rules at the link above for NIH PHS398 forms supersede any statements here on guidelines.

Please contact us for an appropriate example.

Budget Guidelines

The funding works similar to a voucher system, only for services provided by the RC-SIRM and cannot be used for anything else. Services can include sample processing, data acquisition, and data processing. No funds are processed through the applicant's institution. Therefore, no support salary for personnel or supplies will be provided. Because no funds will be transferred, no F&A will be permitted. Budgets must take the number of samples, the types of samples, the types of service required, and cost of Workshop attendance including accommodations, into consideration. However, travel is not covered, except to certain RC-SIRM and NIH-approved events.
  • No support salary for key personnel outside the Center will be provided.
  • Budget justifications must indicate the number of samples, the types of samples, and the types of services required.
  • Registration and accommodation costs for the Workshop must be included in the budget.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact us and consult on your budget formulation and its justification.

Delivery Method

  • Each application must be sent as a single PDF file to rick.higashi@uky.edu.
    • If you do not receive an email confirmation of receipt within 24 hours, please follow up with another email.

Review Process

  • All applications will go through a three-tiered review and decision process.
    • Applications will first be reviewed internally by the Center's P&F Review Panel for technical feasibility and compliance to application requirements, PI eligibility, and other specified criteria.
    • Applicants will then be sent for external review.
    • Final funding decisions will be made by the NIH Metabolomics Program Executive Committee in consultation with NIH staff.

Additional P&F Funding Opportunities

Topic revision: r23 - 04 Jul 2016, AndrewLane

This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Foswiki? Send feedback