IDC Research Pilot Projects


The Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center’s (SIRC) Pilot Project Program is administered through an NIH/NIMHD Specialized Center of Excellence on Minority Health and Health Disparities grant entitled, “Leveraging Bio-Cultural Mechanisms to Maximize the Impact of Multi-Level Preventable Disease Interventions with Southwest Populations” (2U54MD002316-11; PI: Flavio F. Marsiglia).

Under the auspices of SIRC’s Investigator Development Core (IDC), the pilot program is designed to encourage and support promising early stage investigators to develop and carry-out novel research projects that address health disparities causes and solutions, and help the investigators obtain the data and expertise necessary for successful externally-funded grant applications.

Successful applicants will receive up to $50,000 of funding for a project duration of 12 to 24 months, as well as access to resources at SIRC to support the development and execution of their research.

The priorities for the SIRC Pilot Projects integrate the scientific and community-based perspectives of SIRC researchers and SIRC’s Community Advisory Board. The Pilot Project Program will support early career investigators to conduct rigorous scientific research that investigates how biological, sociocultural and other contextual factors exert protection and/or increase risk for the development of chronic diseases, as well as efforts to prevent and treat them. 

We will begin accepting applications on December 8, 2017.

Submission Due Date: 5:00 PM on Monday, January 8, 2018

As stated in NIH/NIMHD RFA-MD-17-005, the funding mechanism for the SIRC Specialized Center of Excellence:

Although scientific and technological advances have improved the health of the U.S. population overall, racial/ethnic minority populations, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minority populations continue to experience a disproportionate share of many chronic diseases and adverse health conditions. As the Nation’s steward of biomedical and behavioral research, NIH has devoted considerable resources to characterize the root causes of health disparities, uncovering complex webs of interconnected factors (e.g., biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors) acting at multiple levels across the life course.….[Research] should address the intersection of domains of influence (biological, behavioral, physical environment, sociocultural environment, healthcare system) and levels of influence (individual, interpersonal, community, societal).

Proposed projects should have a health equity research focus that is multi-level (individual, interpersonal, community, societal) or multi-domain (biological, behavioral, physical environment, sociocultural environment, healthcare system) minority health disparities focus and have an intent to show a demonstrable impact on reducing minority health disparities. Health disparities topics addressing at least one of the following themes are especially encouraged:

  1. Ecodevelopmental pathways (e.g., family functioning, parenting styles, and household environment) leading to health disparities;
  2. Community-level mechanisms (e.g., neighborhood norms, trust, and cohesion) influencing health outcomes;
  3. The role of cultural mechanisms and processes (e.g., acculturation, acculturation stress, and parent-child acculturation gaps) in health promotion and disease prevention;
  4. Dissemination science research that examines ways to engage community stakeholders and policymakers in addressing minority health and health disparities.

Priority will be given to projects addressing these themes, to proposals from eligible SIRC Faculty Research Affiliates, and to projects most likely to lead to successful extramural funding.

  • Earliest Submission Date: Friday, December 8, 2017
  • Submission Due Date: Monday, January 8, 2018
  • Scientific Merit and Committee Review: February, 2018
  • Earliest Start Date: March 1, 2018
  • Principal Investigator must have a full-time appointment as non-tenured faculty or postdoctoral fellow by the application deadline.
  • Principal Investigator must be within 10 years of completing a terminal research degree. 
  • Principal Investigator has not previously competed successfully as a PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award.
  • Principal Investigator must maintain a full-time appointment at ASU for the duration of the pilot project.

The application will mirror many of the aspects of the NIH R03 small grants and R21 mechanisms, including essential information to assess the proposed project’s scientific significance, innovation and rigor. A detailed and comprehensive description of the following required sections can be found in the PDF document: Application Guide.

Required Section

Page Limit

Title page



30 lines

Specific Aims


Research Strategy:
Significance, Innovation, and Approach


Quarterly Timeline:
All key phases and activities over the requested one or two years, and benchmarks for progress toward the aims should be specified.

Bibliography & References Cited


Biographical Sketch


Human subjects protections narrative*


A detailed budget up to $50,000 for the entirety of the pilot project


Budget Justifications


Please refer to the PDF document: Application Guide for a detailed and comprehensive description of the required sections.

* Human Subject’s approval will be required through ASU IRB if the pilot is funded. In the proposal, the plan for Human Subjects’ protections should be detailed.

 We strongly recommend budgets be developed with input from SIRC. To begin the budgeting process, please email As a guide, please see the Budget Template and Budget Categories. Carryover costs are not expected in the pilot projects. Under rare circumstances, funds that may be considered for carryover must first obtain approval from the PI of the Investigator Development Core.

Key personnel are defined as all individuals who contribute in a substantive way to the scientific development or execution of the project, whether or not salaries are requested.

The eligible early career investigator will be the Principal Investigator (PI) on the pilot proposal submission. The PI is expected to lead the scientific development and execution of the project. The PI is responsible and accountable for the proper conduct of the project.

A senior Co-Investigator may be included as Key Personnel on the application. This person is expected to contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project. This senior Co-Investigator should have clearly defined roles outlined in the budget justifications.

Multiple-PIs are not allowed.

All Key Personnel dedicating effort to the project should be listed on the budget.

Biosketches must be included for all Key Personnel.

Other personnel can be listed by project role (e.g., graduate students, lab technicians), but are not considered Key Personnel and do not require a biosketch.

Intensive guidance for the development of the pilot project applications is available through SIRC. This support can include:

  • Mentorship from senior SIRC Faculty Research Affiliates;
  • Advice from the SIRC weekly Methodological and Statistical Clinic;
  • Feedback from SIRC’s Community Advisory Board;
  • One-on-one consultations with members of SIRC’s Investigator Development Core;
  • Technical assistance on preparing budgets, budget justifications, and protecting human subjects; and
  • Professional development and career enhancement activities.

To inquire about support available for the development of your pilot project application, please contact Dr. Stephanie Ayers at

Font (type and size): Use a font that is 11 pt or larger. We recommend using Arial. Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable, as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%.

Margins: Use margins of at least one-half inch (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages.   

Citations and References: Follow a single, consistent style guide for all citations and references: APA, AMA, Chicago, MLA, or IEEE.

Line Spacing: Minimum line spacing for all sections is 1.0 (i.e., single line spacing). 

Combining Information into a Single Attachment: All documents must be combined into a single PDF file. Avoid scanning text documents to produce the required PDFs. It is best to produce documents using your word-processing software and then convert the documents to PDF.  

Headers and Footers: Do not use headers. Add page numbers as a footer. No other footers are allowed.

Page Limits: Please refer to the Application Content section for information regarding the page limits of the required sections.

Electronic Application Submission Required

Apply online

All documents must be combined into a single PDF file.  Please allow yourself time to combine the documents. This single PDF file will be submitted online.  The system will not accept applications after the deadline. Applications that do not comply with the instructions may not be accepted for review. You will receive a submission confirmation email.

The Selection Committee will be a multidisciplinary panel comprised of academics, researchers and community members.  Keep this in mind when writing your narrative so committee members can understand why your research is important.  Avoid unnecessary jargon.  Preliminary studies are not a requirement for the proposal and will not be used as review criteria.


Applications will be reviewed by the Selection Committee and rated on 10 criteria:

  1. How well the pilot project fits the previously described applicable research themes;
  2. Significance and potential to impact health disparities;
  3. Clearly articulated health disparities theoretical or conceptual framework linked to the research aims;
  4. Potential contribution to health disparities knowledge;
  5. Investigator(s) expertise to complete the project;
  6. Appropriate methodology to achieve the aims;
  7. Discrete, well-defined, and realistic timelines, project goals, and budgets;
  8. Potential and planned external grant submissions expected to emerge from the pilot study;
  9. Involvement of community partners collaborating in the study; and
  10. Adequate human subjects protections.

Pilot proposals will be reviewed by a minimum of two committee members who are assigned based upon content of the proposal and their expertise. After an individual review and rating of all pilot applications and compilation of ratings, the Selection Committee will make a final determination of three or more pilots to be funded. All applicants will be provided written feedback from the Selection Committee.

While the pilot project is active, SIRC will make available intensive and ongoing support and dissemination mechanisms that ensure successful completion of the pilot projects, notable publications of results, dissemination of results, and competitive submissions of subsequent grant applications. Mechanisms as outlined above in the “Resources Available for Assistance” will continue. 

Post-award support will include:

  • Mentorship from senior Faculty Research Affiliates;
  • Advice from the SIRC weekly Methodological and Statistical Clinic;
  • Feedback from SIRC’s Community Advisory Board;
  • One-on-one consultations with members of SIRC’s Investigator Development Core;
  • Technical assistance on preparing budgets, budget justifications, and protecting human subjects;
  • Professional development and career enhancement activities;
  • Technical assistance on manuscript preparation;
  • Comprehensive support for the research needs of the pilot studies, where budgeted;
  • Technical assistance and support for the development of new externally-funded grant applications; and
  • Dissemination mechanisms for pilot project findings. 

Quarterly progress reports are required while the grant is active. At each quarter, the pilot PIs will be evaluated by the SIRC IDC personnel on accomplishments, products, impact, challenges, and budgetary information.

These details will be outlined in the Notice of Award terms and conditions.

Funding for the SIRC Research Pilot Projects comes from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD/NIH), award 2U54MD002316-11 (F. Marsiglia, P.I.). The content is solely the responsibility of SIRC and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIMHD/NIH.

Questions should be referred to Dr. Stephanie Ayers at or 602-496-0255.