Faculty Pilot Research Grant Application Details

2023 Application Cycle Now Closed

The application cycle for the 2023 faculty pilot research grants is now closed. The earliest notification date for applicants is Oct. 16, 2023.  

The MUSC Center for Global Health funds several pilot research grants each year up to $20,000 for a 12-month period. The primary purpose is to stimulate research in low and middle-income countries, with the larger goal of enabling investigators to leverage preliminary findings and data to obtain larger awards of external funding. Proposals must be for activities in low-and middle-income countries. A listing of eligible countries can be found at the World Bank.

The Center of Global Health and its Advisory Board has a special interest in projects that focus on COVID-19, emerging infectious diseases, and surveillance of COVID-19 and emerging infectious diseases in LMIC. Consideration this cycle will also be given for domestic global health projects in the U.S territories (such as Puerto Rico), as well as projects that address disadvantaged populations in the U.S. such as Native Americans, refugees, immigrants, undocumented persons and migrant workers.

Applicants must describe plans for how the results generated will be applied to future external funding. Applications that include matching funds will be given preference.

It is not necessary to have regulatory (e.g., IACUC, IRB, etc.) approvals to apply for this grant; however, applicable approvals must be in place and documented before funding is released.

Allowable research topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Studies assessing the prevalence of diseases, behaviors, or health conditions.

Pilot studies assessing the effectiveness of novel health intervention strategies.

Assessment of the acceptability, feasibility, and/or safety of health interventions.

Health services research targeted to low-income settings.

Formative research (including qualitative studies) to develop novel health intervention strategies.

Development of health technologies appropriate for low-income countries in which in-country assessment is part of the research plan.

Laboratory studies using samples from low-income settings.

Principal Investigator (PI) must have primary faculty appointment at MUSC at the time of application, and must be an Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor. Those in “visiting” or “adjunct status” or those with pending appointments are not eligible.

Early-career investigators are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must not have existing funding that can support the proposed research.

Proposals may include collaborators from other institutions but the PI must be MUSC faculty.

Proposals must include a plan for leveraging this award for future external funding support.

Applications focusing exclusively on travel, conference attendance, or organizing conferences and meetings will be considered non-responsive to the RFA.

Applications proposing to provide health interventions, services, and capacity-building activities that are not directly linked to proposed research will be considered non-responsive to the RFA.

Application Format: Arial 11-point font size, at least 0.5” margins, single space and numbered pages.

Submission Format: Combine all required elements into a single pdf document saved with the following naming convention: (current year) Global Health Faculty Pilot Grant – (PI name) – (Proposal title). Submit via email to ellisk@musc.edu.

1. Cover Page

2. Project Description/Global Health Relevance. Provide a NIH-formatted, one-half page description. State the application's broad, long-term objectives, relevance to global health in low and middle-income countries, and specific aims. Summary should serve as a succinct and accurate description of the proposed work when separated from the application.

3. Research Proposal. (6-page limit). Follow NIH instructions for Research Strategy. The page limit excludes references, support letters and technical appendices.

  • Statement of research objectives and specific aims
  • Significance of the research
  • Preliminary data (if relevant)
  • Proposed research design and methods, and plans for data collection, management and analysis
  • Description of the research team, research setting, and the site collaboration plan
  • Include the plans and estimated timeline for receiving IRB clearance at both MUSC and in the country where the study will be conducted. Specify which institutions and national agencies in the host country will require ethical clearance. If you believe that the study is exempt from IRB approval at either MUSC or in the host country, provide a rationale for exemptions.

4. Future Funding Plan. Include a one-half page detailed plan addressing the timeline for the study, and post-study submission timeline for a larger, external grant. Include a comprehensive plan for use of the data/outcomes from this study to seek additional research funding, and anticipated dates of submission for subsequent funding. Investigators are encouraged to cite a specific RFA or Program Announcements from potential funders of the future study.

5. Budget and Justification. Please use PHS 398 Form Page 4: Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period and use Continuation Format Page as needed for the budget justification. Faculty salary support is not allowed. All expenses must be directly related to proposed research. Facilities and administrative costs, also known as indirect costs, are not permitted

6. Letters of Support. A letter of support from a collaborating in-country investigator is strongly encouraged, but optional. Letters of support should be submitted as part of the single PDF file with the proposal, references and technical appendices.

- Include no more than three documents such as reports and papers, survey instruments, and illustrations. Reference section should be limited to two pages. Technical appendices that contain material normally included within a proposal should not be attached and will not be considered.

7. NIH Biographical Sketch. Use the most recent NIH format and include biosketch for PI and any co-investigators. Personal statement of Co-Investigators must describe his/her role in the project.

8. Matching Funds (if applicable). We encourage (but do not require) applicants to seek matching funds. Applications with matching funds will be given a higher priority. If matching funds are available to the investigator, submit a signed statement from the PI and the provider of matching funds, as part of the single PDF proposal document. Clearly indicate the source and amount of matching funds. The match can be from PI’s Department/Division, Center or Foundation grants but cannot be from existing grants.

Applications will be evaluated by reviewers with substantial expertise in research and in reviewing grants. Preference will be given to the most promising applications based on scientific merit, innovation, impact, and feasibility to become the basis of a competitive extramural research grant application.

Review criteria include:

  • Standard NIH criteria (significance, innovation, approach, and investigative team).
  • Likelihood that preliminary results will lead to external funding.
  • Future funding plan (see instructions) must describe how the funds will provide data that is critical to future extramural grant application(s).
  • Priority given to matching funds.


Please direct inquiries related to this funding announcement to:

Kathleen Ellis, Executive Director
MUSC Center for Global Health