Pilot Projects

Pilot Project Award Program

Request for Applications

The COBRE Center for Addiction and Disease Risk Exacerbation (CADRE) investigates biopsychosocial mechanisms by which substance use disorders (SUDs) increase the risk for or exacerbate chronic disease in vulnerable populations, especially underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities. CADRE’s long-term goals are to provide the scientific, administrative, and financial  support needed to conduct the best and highest-impact science on SUDs and their chronic disease manifestations, and to launch the careers of early career faculty by helping them to attain  independent funding.

The CADRE is reissuing its Pilot Award Program, which on this cycle will support 4-6 pilot projects (PPs) led by early career investigators from a number of disciplinary backgrounds (i.e. sociology, economics, public health, anthropology, psychology, medicine). Through this effort, CADRE aims to increase the quantity, quality, and breadth of research on mechanisms linking substance use and chronic disease.

Pilot PIs will have access to:

  • Mentorship and collaboration with senior (Associate Professor or higher) investigators (identified at time of application)
  • Professional Development Workshops, an annual CADRE Symposium, and professional conferences.
  • CADRE core resources, including:
    • State-of-the-art clinical labs
    • CADRE Clinical Laboratory Core faculty and staff with  laboratory and medical training,
    • Data management and data analysis expertise, along with consultation with biostatistics faculty,
    • Project management support and guidance from CADRE’s Administrative Core.


Program Requirements & Eligibility

  • PPs must undergo IRB review and approval.
  • Research must be related to SUDs and chronic disease in vulnerable populations, especially in underrepresented ethnic/racial minorities.
  • The proposed research project should be of one-year duration. Awardees who wish to extend their project to up to 2 years must receive formal permission at least 2 months before the end of Year 1 of their project period.
  • Awardee must hold the rank of Assistant Professor or Investigator at Brown University at the time the award is submitted to NIGMS for approval.
  • Applicants must identify a primary mentor, and may also identify a secondary mentor (optional)
  • Applicants must be early career investigators as defined by NIH: an individual who does not have and has not previously had an external peer-reviewed research project grant (R01), R01 equivalent, or Program Project Grant (PPG) from either a federal or non-federal source that names the investigator as PD/PI.
  • Investigators holding K awards can serve as COBRE pilot investigators.
  • Under special circumstances an established investigator can apply, if they intend to make a significant change to their career.
  • Funding is contingent on NIH approval

Foreign components are not allowed. Please see more information on foreign components.


Special Considerations

Applications from investigators who comply with program and eligibility requirements will be reviewed. Special considerations will be given to investigators who:

  1. Take a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing SUD research.
  2. Are from the following backgrounds (can include, but not limited to):
    1. Sociology
    2. Economics
    3. Public Health
    4. Anthropology
    5. Psychology
    6. Medicine
  3. Are from underrepresented or racial backgrounds.
  4. Conduct their work with participants from underrepresented minority groups

Award Budget

  • Support of up to $75,000 direct costs per project will be provided. Funding is contingent on NIH Prior Approval.

Use of Funds

  • The budget request may include federally allowable research expenses and supplies. (Click here for information on allowable costs and activities.) New to this RFA, request for up to a total of 10% faculty salary support can be requested. Funds to attend scientific conferences and present findings is appropriate if linked to the PP. Equipment cannot be purchased with these funds.

Award Project Period

The project period is 12 months, but it may be extended to up to 24 months through a no-cost extension, by obtaining formal permission at least 2 months before the end of year 1 of the project period.

Application materials will be accepted up to 12 noon on February 14, 2022. Applicants are highly encouraged to contact the CADRE team ([email protected]) to discuss their project before submitting a proposal. All materials should be uploaded into one PDF file for consideration and review. Applications will be comprised of:

  1. Applicant NIH Biosketch
  2. Applicant Other Support
  3. Application Content (Click here for PHS 398 forms and instructions):
  • NIH Face Page (PHS 398 Face Page)
  • Research Strategy (Up to 5 single-spaced page limit, no form). For more guidance on writing a strong Research Strategy click here. Strategy includes:
    • Introduction and Specific Aims (up to 1 page) 
    • NIH Project Summary Page (PHS 398 Form Page 2)
    • The following three sections are up to a total of 3 pages:
      • Plans for future funding
      • Innovation & Approach: Include both conceptual and technical innovations. For approach, include preliminary data (if applicable) and research plan including expected results.
      • Background and Significance: Rationale and significance of the project, including relevance to the goals of the COBRE and plans for use of the Cores in subsequent independently-funded projects
    • Citations (up to 3 pages, not included in page limit)
    • Project Timeline (not included in page limit): Milestones and plans for publishing one peer-reviewed manuscript and submitting at least one grant application.
    • PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials information (Click here for form and here for instructions). Note: All NIH funded studies that meet the NIH definition for clinical research must address plans for the inclusion of women and minorities within the application or proposal.
    • Vertebrate Animals per PHS 398 Instructions (if applicable)
    • Other Support Documentation following NIH guidelines (Click here for format and instructions)
    • Detailed 1-year budget and budget justification using PHS 398 forms.
    • Checklist Format Page with F&A cost break down
    • Letters of Support from your primary and if relevant, secondary mentors. Letter from department chair
    • Biosketches from primary and, if relevant, secondary mentors


Review Process and Selection Criteria

Funding is dependent upon the positive review of the CADRE External Advisory Committee, CADRE Executive Committee, and final approval from the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences.

The final selection will be made based on the following criteria:

  • Potential for the PP to lead the PI to be competitive for a K-award, an R21, an R01, or as a CADRE Project Leader.
  • Interdisciplinary approach.
  • Significance and impact of work in areas of SUDs and chronic disease
  • Scientific merit of the work
  • Preference will be given for a focus on underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities
  • Feasibility of proposed project:
    • Available funding
    • Timeline for PP


Upon acceptance into the program, Pilot PIs will be expected to:

  • Meet weekly with their mentor
  • Obtain IRB review and approval
  • Provide brief quarterly progress reports
  • Attend scientific conferences and organizations to present data and work.
  • Attend monthly ALL-CADRE, Clinical Laboratory Core (CLC), journal club, and professional development series meetings, the annual COBRE retreat, and    Center-sponsored workshops and trainings.
  • Submit at least one peer-reviewed publication based on this research within 18 months of grant start date.
  • PIs must acknowledge sponsorship from the CADRE (P20GM130414) in all research publications and presentations supported by the grant.
  • Submit at least one grant application within 18 months of grant start date

Mentors are expected to:

  • Meet with their mentee on a weekly basis
  • Ensure the mentee is meeting their project milestones and assist with professional development
  • Review and comment on PP quarterly reports and their annual progress   reports.
  • Attend the COBRE annual retreat



Questions and concerns regarding the Center for Addiction and Disease Risk Exacerbation COBRE application may be directed to: [email protected]