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CTSA Awards Are Steppingstones Toward Larger Studies

Posted on July 30, 2014

The Clinical and Translational Science Award helps you secure seed funding for a project that is likely to receive federal funding, says Kristina Deligiannidis (bio).


At our institution, we've been awarded one of the CTSA [Clinical and Translational Science Award] awards. And at our institution and many others, there are these pilot grant mechanisms that are available at each institution. The purpose of the grant is really to provide seed funding. So a pilot project that has a high likelihood of gaining external funding, federal funding, after completion and publication of the results.

So at my institution, these are two-year grants, $150,000, and they are geared for translational research, sometimes more on the basic side, sometimes more on the clinical side. Often, a pair of researchers working on both the basic, or preclinical, and clinical aspects of a scientific problem. But they're really geared toward — already have identified a funding mechanism. So looking at requests for applications by NIH or other federally funded mechanisms, and then really stating how your grant application, if funded through the pilot program project, these pilot grants, will help you get that fundable project, federally.

So it's really a steppingstone, and it's been a wonderful opportunity to really lay out your scientific questions, your rationale. And it proves to the funders when you're applying for a larger federal grant that you can demonstrate feasibility, that you have the resources, the technology you need to conduct the science, that if it involves human subjects, that you're able to recruit and retain, and you have low attrition, you're able to complete a study, that you're able to analyze the data and publish it.

So a fantastic opportunity to bring investigators together onsite within the institution or within campuses of the institution, and then really a steppingstone for that needed money to garnish larger studies that can take the research further.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2014 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Pittsburgh, PA.


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