Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
A legacy of life-saving research and humane animal care

WNPRC Pilot Research Projects Grants Program

The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) will soon be announcing its 2019 Pilot Awards Program. Stay tuned.

View our recent WNPRC pilot research project awardees.

pilot PROGRAM and application information

Pilot research is intended to help investigators generate preliminary data or results necessary to apply for support from other primary sources of funding. Pilot Research Projects may include preliminary activities on biomedical research topics in keeping with the main research areas of the WNPRC (Regenerative and Reproductive Medicine, Global Infectious Disease, Neuroscience, and Energy Metabolism and Chronic Disease) and are typically developmental or exploratory in nature. Investigators at early phases of their careers are especially encouraged to apply. The awards provide a maximum of $50,000 (direct costs) for one year.

Requirements promulgated by the NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)

  • WNPRC core scientists shall be integrally involved in planning, management, conducting the project and reporting results, as either lead scientist or collaborating investigator with qualified external scientists.
  • Funds may be used for personnel not already supported by the WNPRC base grant, supplies including animals and animal care costs, equipment under $5,000 (or over this amount with permission), and consultants and other expenses, such as surgery, pathology, assays or clinical services for the approved project only.
  • These funds are not to be used for interim support of established projects.
  • Major activities related to the approved project should be conducted on site at the WNPRC.
  • Written semi-annual progress reports will be required.

Application Process

Prospective applicants are urged to contact the WNPRC Director’s Office, or appropriate core scientist, well in advance of the proposal deadline, to discuss the project and gain a preliminary assessment of its feasibility and alignment with the WNPRC mission. The application form and instructions can be downloaded here, then completed and emailed to Dr. Jon Levine, with a copy to Edi Chan. Briefly, please complete the cover page, provide an NIH Biosketch, Other Support, Specific Aims, Budget (with narrative justification) and Significance, Innovation, and Approach. In addition to the budget and biosketch, the text should not exceed five pages in length. Please note that in addition to the standard NIH format, it is important to include a description of the animal resources needed for the proposal and the WNPRC Research Services, if any, which will be used to carry out the proposed project. This information will be used to determine animal and technical availability.

Review Process

The applications will be reviewed internally by the WNPRC Executive Committee and Senior Management Team for scientific merit and feasibility, respectively. They will also be reviewed by members of the WNPRC External Advisory Board and other non-WNPRC experts as needed.

Note: all projects must also have an approved UW-Madison IACUC-approved protocol and Biosafety protocol in place before any project can be activated. These can be prepared after initial review and scoring of the proposals.

The NPRC Guidelines for the Pilot Research Project program are appended as follows for additional guidance.

From the NPRC Guidelines, Sixth Edition

The five major criteria to be used in evaluating Pilot Research Projects and Resource Related Research Projects are as follows:

  1. Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the Aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? What will the effect of these studies be on the concepts or methods that drive this field?
  2. Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, including composition of study population, methods, and analyses developed adequately, well-integrated, and appropriate to the Aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
  3. Innovation: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? Are the Aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?
  4. Investigator: Is/are the investigator(s) appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the Principal Investigator and other researchers (if any)? PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE descriptive biographical information unless important to the evaluation of merit.
  5. Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support? PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE description of available facilities or equipment unless important to the evaluation of merit.

In addition, the reviewers should address the following:

  1. Overall Evaluation: Recommend a score reflecting the overall impact of the project on the field, weighing the review criteria, as the reviewer believes appropriate for each project. A project does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have a major scientific impact and thus deserve a high merit rating. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative, but is essential to move a field forward.
  2. Need for the NPRC: The Primary Reviewer should include a one-sentence description of this project’s need for the Center’s resources. Five suggestions are:
    • Cannot be carried out without Center resources.
    • Unlikely to be carried out without Center resources.
    • Could possibly be conducted off Center-site, but Center resources would facilitate study.
    • Minimal need for Center resources.
    • No apparent need for Center resources. Include a numerical score (note: the new NIH 1.0 – 9.0 scoring system will be used) recommendation.
  3. Budget: All assigned reviewers will evaluate if the budget is reasonable and justified, and recommended as requested or alternatively, recommend deletions or alterations. Reviewers must justify all recommended deletions and reductions.