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Pilot Grant Program

Application Information

In order to enhance basic science, translational, and clinical studies on the CU Anschutz Campus, the RNA Bioscience Initiative (RBI) supports RNA biology research, particularly RNA-seq and other informatic intensive, cutting-edge technologies via its Pilot Grant Program. The RBI requests applications for various grant types twice each year- spring and fall. Applications are invited for investigator-initiated pilot projects that will generate preliminary data to test the feasibility of novel avenues of research and will support future extramural grant applications. Awards may be in-kind or monetary depending on the studies proposed and the specific program to which you have applied.


  • Principal Investigators (PIs) for all awards must have faculty appointments at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus and hold the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor, Research Professor, or Instructor
  • Proposals must have an RNA-related research focus and may not describe the same specific research that is funded by other sources during the grant period

Application Requirements

  1.  All applicants must submit a Letter of Intent to this form by the deadline posted in the relevant RFA.
  2.  Full applications must be submitted by the deadline posted in the relevant RFA and include the following components:
    1. Brief Cover Letter stating the title of the proposal, describing the value of the project, and confirming that all collaborators listed on the application agree with the proposal
    2. Research Proposal consisting of no more than 1 page in standard NIH grant application format- specific aims, background and broader impact, and research plan.
    3. Current NIH biosketch for all named PIs
  3.  All components of the final application should be submitted using the OpenWater Application & Review Platform. A link to the   OpenWater Application will only be provided to those that submit a Letter of Intent.

Selection of Awardees

A peer review panel composed of faculty with a range of expertise will be responsible for award decisions, evaluating eligible applications competitively. The primary factors in award decisions will be the scientific merit of the proposed research, the likelihood to “seed” eventual R series-level or equivalent extramural funding, and the long-term promise of the proposed research. No critiques will be provided to applicants. Applicants will be informed with a review response of “Funded”, “Not funded” or “Not eligible”.

Grant Recipient Requirements

RBI grant recipients are expected to become active members of the University of Colorado RNA research community. Both the PIs and those working on funded projects are required to:

  • Acknowledge RBI support on publications that result from the award
  • Self-identify in “Affiliations” as a member of the RBI on publications that result from the award
  • For all bioinformatics support, include the RBI fellows as authors on publications that result from the award
  • Use awarded funds solely to support the RNA research described in the proposal
  • Provide a progress report to the RBI 30 days after the end of funding year
  • Attend/Present at “Evenings with RNA” co-hosted by the RBI and the Colorado RNA Club, and at other RBI sponsored RNA events