Pilot Grants


Release date: 3/1/2021

Application deadline: 4/1/2021

Project Duration: 12 months 

Pilot funding will be made available to support meritorious projects that focus on identifying, reducing and/or eliminating health disparities. All applications must address how the pilot project will (1) directly contribute to achieving health equity for a vulnerable population and (2) obtain critical data to support an extramural grant submission that will promote health equity. It is expected that up to 2 proposals will be funded in this round depending on number and type of applications received. This year we will fund one pilot study in conjunction with the UNITE Research priority area. One of the missions for UNITE is: to support research focused on racial disparities, racial health equity, social and racial justice that will result in impactful scholarly outputs and extramural funding for sustainability. As such, research focused on achieving racial health equity is particularly encouraged, but research focused on other vulnerable groups or populations affected by health inequity are also eligible for pilot funding under this mechanism.

Eligibility is limited to full-time faculty (all title series including regular, research, clinical and special) at the University of Kentucky who are CHET affiliates or CHET core faculty (to request CHET affiliation please email CHET@uky.edu). If your project aligns with UNITE mission and you are not a member of UNITE, please email Leah Holton (leah.holton@uky.edu) to request membership. Investigators in training including residents, post-doctoral fellows, and clinical fellows are not eligible to serve as PI but may be co-investigators.  A maximum of $25,000 will be awarded for a period of 12 months. Applications are due April 1, 2021.

Applications will be accepted through the online form at http://chet.med.uky.edu/chet-pilot-grants. Applications must be single-spaced, at least 11 point font, and adhere to standard grant 1/2-inch margins. Proposal submission through OSPA is not required. Applications must include the following information uploaded as one PDF file through the online application. The abstract and COVID-19 precaution statement will not count toward the page limit.

  • Abstract (300 words or less)
  • Specific Aims (1 page)
  • Research plan (2 pages)
    • Briefly describe the significance, innovation, and approach, including the health equity implications of the pilot study
    • Include a timeline for activities
    • Describe the plans beyond the pilot project, including plans for seeking extramural funding (e.g., specify an RFA, FOA, or PAR with a projected application date).
    • References do not count towards 2 page total.
  • COVID-19 Precautions - Due to guidance issued by the Vice President for Research, many research activities may be unable to be conducted in-person due to concerns about COVID-19. In submissions due April 1, we ask you to add an addition paragraph, up to ½ page, to describe your plans for conducting remote recruitment and data collection or other procedures to protect study staff and research participants for your proposed study in line with this guidance (should it be necessary at the time of award). This additional information is outside of the existing page limits. Please see the UK Office of Research Integrity (ORI) https://www.research.uky.edu/office-research-integrity for more information. 
  • NIH or NSF-style biosketch for each investigator (5 page limit per investigator) with each investigator’s role on the project clearly outlined
  • Budget/justification (1 page)
    • Provide brief justification for each budget item or category.
    • Allowable expenses include: graduate student stipends and tuition, equipment, travel costs associated with the research, up to 1 month of summer salary for
    • Those faculty on 9-10 month contracts, participant payments and other standard research expenditure.
    • Non-allowable expenses include: conference travel, salary for 11 or 12-month faculty
  • Letter(s) of support (optional) (e.g., community partners, consultants, data or facilities access needed to complete study)


Topical Focus:

The pilot awards are open to health equity studies affecting any vulnerable group or population affected by health disparities. Applications that align with UK’s health disparities research priority areas are encouraged (i.e., Substance Use, Cancer, Diabetes & Obesity, Cardiovascular, Cerebrovascular/Neurological, and UNITE). However, other health equity research topics are also eligible to apply.   

Reporting Requirements: All publications, presentations, and other creative activities resulting from this award must include the following acknowledgement: “Funding was provided, in part, by the Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET) at the University of Kentucky.” Projects that have been selected to be supported by the UNITE RPA will also need to include the following acknowledgement: Funding was provided, in part, by the UNITE Research Priority Area at the University of Kentucky.”

One (1) page final report due at project completion detailing study enrollment, results, dissemination, and plans for future funding. In addition, recipients are expected to be responsive to ongoing contact from the UNITE RPA to assess progress and outcomes from the award.

Application deadlines and key dates:

  • Monday, April 1, 2021: Applications due
  • Mid May, 2021: Selected Applicants notified
  • Project period: 12 months from project start date (project start date dependent on IRB approval and disbursement of funds, but must be within 1 month of award notification date).

Apply Here

2021 CHET Pilot RFA.pdf

Projects must have the appropriate IRB and any other required regulatory approvals in place before funding will begin.

Please address specific application questions to Shyanika Rose, PhD, MA (s.rose@uky.edu). 

Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by the CHET Research Committee as well as by selected external reviewers. Scoring of proposals will be based on the standard NIH 9-point scoring system. Each proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Significance: (i.e., Does the project address an important problem or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the study have potential to generate knowledge relevant to health equity?)

Innovation:  (i.e., Does the proposal utilize novel theoretical concepts, approaches, methodologies, instrumentation or apply existing concepts to new populations or problems?)

Approach: (i.e., Are the intended research activities well-described and likely to be feasible? Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are study limitations acknowledged and addressed?)

Investigator(s): (i.e., Does the PI have the appropriate experience and training, evidence of productivity and/or potential to be an investigator in the area of health equity research?, Does the PI and research team have the required expertise and experience to conduct the proposed research study?)

Evidence of future research and funding potential: (i.e., Does the proposed research show clear evidence of potential for future funding in health equity research)?

The review committee will also assess whether the proposed budget and timeline are appropriate for the scope and nature of the project and whether there are any human subjects considerations that may affect study implementation.