Call for Pilot Award Applications

The goal of the COBRE Center for Computational Biology of Human Disease (CBHD) Institutional Pilot Award Program is to identify and support activities of talented junior investigators working on human disease related questions that require computational analyses of complex data sets.  Awardees will gain access to the Computational Biology Core of staff data scientists who will assist with data analyses.  In addition, awardees may be considered for eventual recruitment to a Project Leader position in the COBRE CBHD program as existing Project Leaders attain their own independent funding and graduate from COBRE support. 


The principal investigator for the proposal must be a junior investigator with a faculty appointment at Brown University or the equivalent at one of its affiliated hospitals at the time of the award.  More senior faculty applicants will be considered if they have concrete plans for a significant change in research focus towards computational biology.  Applicants must not have been a principal investigator on an R01 or equivalent grant.  The research proposed must involve a question related to human disease that requires computational analyses of large data sets.  This Call for Pilot Award Applications will be announced annually, and in future years may be opened up to other research institutions across Rhode Island. 


We expect to fund two one-year projects for $25,000 each.  Indirect costs and faculty salaries are not allowed.  Competitive proposals might include requests for funding to generate new omics-level data sets that would require computational analysis with the help of the COBRE Computational Biology Core.  Alternatively, requests for partial support for a computational biology postdoctoral fellow to join a Junior Investigator’s research group would be responsive to this request for applications.


Applications must be completed using UFUNDS and are due by 11:45 p.m. on Monday, October 16, 2017.

Internal Advisory Committee Review Due Date:  Thursday, November 16, 2017

External Advisory Committee Review Due Date:  Friday, December 15, 2017

Estimated Application Award Date:  Monday, January 1, 2018


Applications must be completed using UFUNDS and should follow an abbreviated NIH format with minor modifications.  Click here for PHS 398 forms and instructions.

1.  NIH face page (PHS 398 face page)

2. NIH Project Summary Page (PHS 398 form page 2)

3.  Research Strategy - Limited to 5 pages including Specific Aims and Research Strategy.

a.  Specific Aims - Describe the project goals for the 12-month pilot project in no more than 1/2 page.
b.  Significance:  Include overall significance of the project, including relevance to goals of the COBRE Center for Computational Biology of Human Disease, and plans for use of data from pilot award for subsequent independent funding.
c.  Innovation:  Include both conceptual and any technical innovation.
d.  Approach:  Preliminary data (if applicable) and research plan including expected results and alternative approaches.
e.  References Cited:  Not included in 5-page limit.

4.  Protection of Human Subjects per PHS 398 Instructions (if applicable)

a.  IRB approval
b.  Human subjects education certification
c.  Targeted/Planned Enrollment Table (PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report)

5.  Vertebrate Animals per PHS 398 Instructions (if applicable)

a.  IACUC approval
b.  Vertebrate Animal Section

6.  NIH Biographical Sketch of PI

7.  Updated Other Support of PI

8.  Detailed Budget with Justification using PHS 398 form page 4

a.  Indirect costs are not allowed
b.  Costs of equipment >$5,000 and renovations are not permitted
c.  Faculty salary is not allowed.


Criteria for Selection

Funding is dependent upon the review of the COBRE CBHD Internal and External Advisory Committees.

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

  • scientific merit of the work
  • potential for the award to provide a basis for further research support from external sponsors
  • potential impact of the research on human disease
  • use of computational biology methods for data analysis
  • likelihood that the proposed work will be completed during the award period


Awardees will be expected to present a seminar describing their project and results as part of the COBRE CBHD Seminar Series.  They will also be required to provide a final progress report within 60 days of the end of the approved award period to the COBRE Director.  The report should outline the work that was accomplished and describe the proposal(s) submitted to external sponsor(s) as a result of this award.  The report should also describe any significant deviations from or extensions to the project described in the original proposal.  Investigators will be contacted thereafter for brief annual updates on grants and publications resulting from funding under this program.


Address inquiries regarding COBRE CBHD Institutional Pilot Awards to cbhd@brown.edu