Request for Applications: Open Call for Pilot Projects

1. Letter of Intent (LOI):  2023 RFA is Closed

Pilot studies must be embedded within one of our existing partner health systems, address one of the partner health system’s priorities, and involve a clearly identified partner health system team. Applicants must work with the proposed health system team to prepare the Letter of Intent.

Potential applicants must submit: 

  • Letter of Intent (LOI 1-2 pages) with the following components
    • LHS partner and their identified priority area
    • Brief description of the proposed pilot idea
    • Concise statement of the applicant’s preparedness to conduct the pilot study
    • List of key personnel including a senior faculty mentor
    • Statement affirming that the applicant’s home institution is eligible for NIH funding
    • Current or former LeaRRn LHS Scholar schould explain how the Pilot builds on their Scholar work
  • NIH biosketches if applicant and senior faculty mentor
  • Letter of support from the collaborating health system 

In addition to the LeaRRn Pilot Studies leadership review, health system partners will review LOIs for suitability and feasibility. The LeaRRn team will notify LOI applicants whether or not they are selected to submit full applications. Our health system partners will review LOIs for suitability & feasibility. The LeaRRn team will notify LOI applicants whether or not they are selected to submit full applications.

Applicant Requirements

The LHS Pilot program is open to rehabilitation researchers with doctoral level or equivalent training/research experience who are at any stage of their career. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply. We welcome applicants from academic institutions or health systems eligible for NIH funding.

Health System Partners

This call for applications is limited to projects conducted in partnership with one of our health system partners. A brief description of each partner and their priority topics is listed here.

Senior Faculty Mentor

Pilot study applicants are often junior investigators who require mentorship and expertise of senior investigators. If the applicant is a junior investigator or is new to the proposed topic or approach, the LOI must include a senior investigator who will serve as a mentor. Mentors may be a LeaRRn faculty member, from the applicant’s home institution, or from another institution. 

2. Invitation to Submit Full Application: March 1, 2023

The Pilot Studies leadership will invite the top rated LOIs to submit full applications. LOIs will be evaluated for project suitability, significance, and feasibility, appropriate mentorship, and LHS priority match. 

3. Full Pilot Study Applications: Due May 1, 2023

After receiving notification to proceed, applicants must submit a pilot proposal with the following components. For additional guidance, please see detailed application instructions page:

  • Structured cover page 
  • Project Summary
  • Specific Aims (1-page)
  • Research Strategy (6-pages) with the following sections: significance, preliminary work (if any), innovation, methods, feasibility, and timeline
  • Budget: Use these budget forms (documents will download automatically)
    • $45,000 maximum, including indirect costs, and costs for a Senior Faculty/Mentor
      • $3,000 in salary support is typical for a Senior Faculty/Mentor
      • Actual payment mechanisms for an external or senior faculty/mentor from Brown University, Boston University, or University of Pittsburgh should be discussed with the LeaRRn Pilot team before preparing the budget
    • Create a corresponding budget justification
    • Pilot funds must be spent within 2 years
    • Use the forms provided on this website
    • Include the Indirect Cost Rate Agreement
  • NIH Biosketches of key personnel
  • Completed PHS human subjects form, using this guidance (document will download automatically)
  • To facilitate a timely start date, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit IRB protocols at the time of proposal submission
  • Letter of support from the LHS mentor outlining mentorship plan
  • Letter of support from the applicant’s home institution Department Chair supporting protected time
  • LOI signed by institutional official indicating a willingness to consortium agreement between Brown and their institution

Highest priority will be given to pilot studies that address LHS research topics identified by our health system partners and that have strong letters of support from the proposed mentor and health system team.

4. Notification of Award: June 1, 2023

Successful applicants will need to secure IRB approvals and negotiate subcontract requirements before funding begins.

5. Earliest Possible Start Date: September 1, 2023

Please submit all inquiries and materials to:

Margarite Whitten via email at: 


Drs. Theresa Shireman and Linda Resnik direct the Pilot Studies Program.