UI Logo and Link

Pilot Grant Program

Current Due Date: February 15, 2019

Guidelines for Application

Key Dates:

  • February 1, 2019 - Communication with appropriate Center Facility Director (see facility designations below)
  • February 1, 2019 - Budget approval
  • February 15, 2019 - Proposal submission

Specific Aims Review (optional):

The Specific Aims Review Meeting is hosted by the EHSRC Career Development Program. It is open to all Center investigators preparing to submit EHSRC pilot grant proposals for submission to the Center. For specific guidelines for participation, please visit the following link: Specific Aims Meeting Guidelines

Upcoming Specific Aims Review meetings available to pilot grant applicants are scheduled for the following dates:

  • November 15, 2018 / 1:00 - 2:00 / S302 CPHB
  • December 27, 2018 (tentative) / 1:00 - 2:00 / S302 CPHB
  • January 17, 2019 / 1:00 - 2:00 / S302 CPHB


All University of Iowa researchers eligible for apply for K or R01 grants from NIH are invited to apply. This specifically includes Post-doctoral Fellows, Post-doctoral Scholars, Faculty (all ranks) and Research Scientists, Research Engineers, Associate Research Scientists, Associate Research Engineers, Other categories of individuals; students and staff may not be investigators but may be designated to receive salary support and should be listed in the budget.

We specifically encourage the following applicants:

  • Junior investigators with interests in pursuing environmental health research
  • Senior investigators who wish to move into new directions or into new collaborations within the environmental health sciences research arena

Funding Available:

Funds up to a maximum of $40,000 will be awarded directly to an investigator for a one-year period. Of this, up to $6,000 may be budgeted for the combined salary and fringe benefits of the principal investigator. We expect to make approximately 4 - 6 awards to meritorious applications.

Science-based projects are eligible to receive up to $5000 in additional funds for a community engagement supplement. Investigators should consult with the Community Engagement Core of the EHSRC prior to submitting a supplement proposal, which should be no longer than one half page. Funds required to achieve the activities in the supplement should be described in the budget justification.  Potential approaches include:

  • Citizen science projects in which community members participate in data collection and/or analysis
  • The inclusion of a community stakeholder advisory board or other mechanism that provides regular community input and feedback to the investigators to ensure that project results are relevant to community concerns
  • Inclusion of disenfranchised populations in research that will reduce environmental disparities or improve environmental justice

The first individual listed as an investigator of a pilot grant is the corresponding author, and will be responsible should the pilot grant be funded, for the timely completion of the research and the appropriate expenditure of funds.

Prior to issuance of a pilot grant, the awardee must agree to:

  • Cite support of the EHSRC (NIH P30 ES005605) on all manuscripts, posters, and abstracts emanating therefrom;
  • Spend the funds within the one-year award period (carryover requests are strongly discouraged);
  • Submit a two-page progress report within three months of project completion;
  • Present completed work within six months of project completion in the EHSRC seminar series

Areas of Interest:

We are interested in receiving proposals with a focus on environmental health research. Example areas of interest to the EHSRC include the following:

  • Studies of susceptibility to environmentally induced disease
  • Studies of development origins of health and disease (DOHaD)
  • Nanotoxicology
  • Microbiome
  • Environmental risk factors for disease
  • Fundamental biology with environmental relevance
  • Environmental and mammalian toxicology
  • Occupational and environmental medicine
  • Assessment of exposures to environmental agents
  • Environmental remediation and control
  • Water quality and human health (particular interest in receiving applications that employ interdisciplinary teams (i.e. biomedical researchers and engineers) to study water contaminants
  • Air quality and human health
  • Community-based research and outreach
  • Disaster Response Research

We are not accepting applications for projects that have components outside the U.S. at this time.

Submission Requirements:

Page Limit



Cover Page (Title, Investigators, Affiliations, and 250 word Abstract)


Specific Aims


Research Strategy including:

  • Significance
  • Innovation
  • Approach with preliminary data (if any)


Additional required information:

  • Research schedule and milestones
  • Use of Center facilities (see below)
  • Potential for future grant support


Community Engagement supplement (if applicable)


Detailed Budget and Justification (up to $6,000 may be budgeted for the combined salary and fringe benefits of the principal investigator)

Grant Applications, in the form of a single PDF file attachment, should be sent to Nancy Wyland (nancy-wyland@uiowa.edu) via e-mail by the stated deadline.

Other required documents are:

  • NIH Biosketches (2-page) for Each Investigator
  • EHSRC Proposal Routing Form
  • Letter of support from appropriate EHSRC Facility Director(s) (See descriptions below)
  • Letter of commitment from collaborating institution(s), if applicable
  • Letter from community collaborating institution(s), if applicable

Budgetary Restrictions

Salary and fringe for the Principal Investigator must not exceed $6,000
Travel expenses are not allowed, unless clearly for the purpose of conducting research (ie; field sampling, data collection)
Purchase of computer equipment or food for events is not allowed

Pilot Grant Proposal Study Section:

    Primary Reviewer (May be outside EHSRC)
    Secondary Reviewer (May be outside EHSRC)
    Internal Advisory Committee Members (N=12)

Proposal Review Criteria:

    Relevance to EHSRC goals
    Originality and scientific relevance
    Validity and reliability of methods
    Qualifications of investigators
    Special consideration for junior faculty, or new directions
    Use of EHSRC facilities
    Likelihood of future extramural funding
    Appropriateness of the budget

    Scoring Guidelines

Who to Contact:

For further information regarding the pilot program, please contact:
Technical Advice: Dr. Thomas Peters/319-335-4436 / thomas-m-peters@uiowa.edu
Programmatic Information: Ms. Nancy Wyland, Coordinator / 319-335-4756 / nancy-wyland@uiowa.edu

For information regarding resources available through EHSRC Facilities, contact:

For information about applying for a Community Engagement Core supplement, contact:

For information about Center researchers within EHSRC Research Thematic Areas, contact:

Brief Descriptions of the EHSRC Facilities Cores:

The Environmental Modeling and Exposure Assessment Facility (EMEAF) facilitates the research efforts of Center investigators and pilot grant awardees by providing a variety of services and equipment needed to understand the relationship between contaminants found in rural environments and their impact on human health. The EMEAF offers a cost-effective instrumentation lending service, guidance on modeling and display of contaminants and affected populations, advice on initiating and conducting population-based studies, and expertise in measuring environmental contaminants. Consult Dr. Patrick O'Shaughnessy 335-4202 for additional information.

The Integrative Health Sciences Facility (IHSF) provides the infrastructure for training of young clinical/ translational investigators with an interest in environmental health science. THE IHSF provides guidance on recruiting human subjects and obtaining IRB approval for clinical and translational studies relevant to environmental health science; and, carries out acute human exposures to dry aerosols, gases, nebulized solutions and combined exposures. The Facility also controls, monitors, and quantifies exposures and environmental conditions throughout the studies; assesses and monitors pulmonary and systemic physiologic responses; obtains and processes biologic samples; assesses and quantifies radiographic manifestations of airway injury and response; and, develops registries and tissue banks of asthma patients and their environmental exposures. Consult Dr. Alejandro Comellas 384-6484 for additional information.

The Pulmonary Toxicology Facility Core (PTF) provides the facilities and expertise for EHSRC investigators to enhance the productivity and quality of their pulmonary toxicology research and to assist them in exploring new investigative areas in asthma, pulmonary biology, inhalation toxicology, or aerosol science. In addition, investigators from NIEHS-funded Environmental Health Centers are supported with expertise and assays for evaluation of exposures to asthma triggers. Consult Dr. Peter Thorne 335-4216 for additional information.