UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center annual request for pilot project applications

Clear river water

The UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC), funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), invites applications for pilot projects to be conducted in the 2019-2020 grant year.


Scientists examining beaker of water

The Pilot Projects Program supports short, 1-year projects to provide preliminary data for new extramural grant submissions in the area of environmental health sciences (EHS) research. The review process emphasizes:

  • Relevance to the focus of the Center and NIEHS
  • Responsiveness to themes identified in the request for proposals
  • Community engagement
  • Potential for translation of the science into public health

Successful applications demonstrate a strong likelihood of leading to significant NIEHS funding in the short term. Applications that are in areas of interest to this year’s funding partners (Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, California National Primate Research Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center and the West Coast Metabolomics Center) are especially desirable. 

Eligibility: All UC Davis investigators who are eligible to apply as a principal investigator (PI) for National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants. Prior applicants are encouraged to submit revised applications.

Please note the application procedure has changed

  1. Concept letters are required, but pre-approval of a concept letter is no longer required for submission of a full application. For applicants requesting assistance with proposal preparation, concept letters are due by November 8th.  For applicants who are not requesting assistance with proposal preparation, concept letters are due by November 15th. Please note that applicants who obtain Core assistance in the preparation of their proposals increase their likelihood of submitting a more responsive and competitive application. Concept letters are now submitted via an online form.
  2. Full applications should be submitted via InfoReady. The deadline for full applications is December 11th. Each PI may submit only one proposal. Proposals undergo full scientific review and applicants with the most competitive proposals make a short, oral presentation of their research ideas to the Center leadership.

Priority areas

  • Interdisciplinary team research
  • Translational science, e.g. taking results from in vitro to in vivo, or from animal to human epidemiology, or discovering mechanisms in toxicology for epidemiology findings, or testing an association through an intervention
  • Development of resources, methods or technology to benefit exposure assessment or disaster response
  • Human health concerns, particularly respiratory health, neurodegeneration, neurodevelopment, mental health, immune regulation, reproductive/endocrine or metabolic function and cancer
  • Projects likely to inform policy or advocacy efforts for scientifically supported actions
  • Substantial relevance to California’s Central Valley population, such as pesticides, air pollution, climate change and its consequences for human chemical exposures and health, water quality and quantity, and toxicants in household and personal care products

2019-2020 Pilot Project awards are for a maximum of $30,000 direct costs for a 1-year project. Revised submissions are encouraged.

Scientists sitting at table

Resources to help applicants prepare competitive applications

EHSC provides applicants with the opportunity to consult with senior center investigators in the preparation of pilot project proposals. Consultation is provided through a design clinic or individually with EHSC Core directors or members.

Many applicants find this service valuable however participation is not required for submission to the Pilot Projects Program. To learn more about the Core expertise and services and how engaging with one or more Cores might strengthen your proposal, you can indicate which Cores you are interested in working with in the online concept letter form. Descriptions of EHSC Cores are below:

  • Career Development Core Early stage investigators (ESI within 10 years of terminal degree) or investigators new to EHS can request assignment of an EHS mentor to assist in preparation of a competitive proposal.
  • Community Engagement Core (CEC): Community engagement plans are required and scored for every application. The Community Stakeholders Advisory Committee (CSTAC) has a list of priority environmental health concerns and would like to engage UC Davis scientists who have relevant research interests (see below for the list of priorities and stakeholder contacts). Please visit the Community Engagement Core page on the EHSC website for more information. For questions about the CEC’s services, please contact CEC Program Manager Aubrey Thompson (abthompson@ucdavis.edu).
  • Exposure Core: If you are planning to measure any exposures in the environment, are planning on exposing any animals, or need more information regarding selection of chemicals, the exposure core may be able to help you. 
  • Integrated Health Sciences and Facilities Core (IHSFC) If you need help with statistics or are new to animal or human subject research, or you want to access novel animal models or archived biospecimens, our IHSFC core may be able to help you.
Additional information

If selected for funding, grantees must present their project at a Center meeting; acknowledge the Center grant in work resulting from Center support, and provide written progress reports and updates on manuscripts and grant applications.

If human or animal subjects are included, no award will be issued until approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has been received and the NIEHS has authorized allocation of funds. Please review the application instructions carefully to ensure your human or animal research is described according to NIH requirements.

Applications will be internally triaged for responsiveness and compliance with the above requirements. Final funding recommendations are made by the Center’s Funding Council.

After reading the applicant instructions and stakeholder research priorities on the following pages, SUBMIT APPLICATION PACKETS ONLINE.

Questions? Contact Melissa Rose mbrose@ucdavis.edu or Laura Van Winkle lsvanwinkle@ucdavis.edu (530-754-7547)