Pilot Award for Environmental Health, Nutrition and Obesity

Project Award Amount $50,000


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The Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) and Center for Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) at UCSF are co-sponsoring an open Request for Applications (RFA) for Pilot and Feasibility Grants, which provide funding for investigators to pursue novel and promising ideas broadly relevant to how environmental exposures particularly during development relate to obesity and metabolism. The Pilot and Feasibility Programs for NORC and EaRTH are funded, through Center grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), respectively, to facilitate the engagement of junior faculty and encourage new directions in related research, regardless of a laboratory’s historical research focus. Exposures of interest include food additives, environmental pollutants, and relevant environmental chemicals, including but not limited PFAS, phthalates, phenol compounds including parabens and BPA and its substitutes. Research that evaluates exposures in relation to health disparities and environmental justice is also of interest.

Each pilot project will have a maximum budget of $50,000. Pilot projects are for one year and are not renewable. Sufficient financial support during the Pilot Award funding year is intended to aid the research project to eventually secure extramural (preferably NIH) funding. Awardees will be required to present results in forums for each Center. A progress report is required at the end of the funding period, identifying resulting publications and subsequent funding obtained to support the expanded/extended projects. Any resulting publications or public presentations must directly acknowledge funding from both the UCSF NORC P30DK098722 and EaRTH P30ES030284.



This mechanism is for Independent junior faculty who do not yet have NIH R01 funding (K awardees are eligible to apply). Eligibility extends to faculty at UCSF, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz or UC Merced in any series (Ladder Rank, In Residence, Clinical X, Health Science Clinical, Adjunct). Appointment must begin before application deadline. Residents, Fellows and Postdocs, and Specialists are not eligible.

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications

Proposals will be evaluated by reviewers based on the quality of the proposed scientific investigation, innovation in ideas or approach, the quality and promise of the applicant and the research team, and the potential of the proposed research to impact the fields of metabolism/obesity and environmental science as well as to lead to future successful NIH grant applications. Applications must adhere to the following:

  • 1-3 PIs are allowed, with cross-disciplinary approaches encouraged. A lead PI must be designated.
  • Proposals must involve at least one Core service from the either Center with budgeted costs of at least $10,000. Please consult https://earth.ucsf.edu and http://norc.ucsf.edu/cores.
  • Applications should be written for a broad scientific audience with inclusion of only necessary details.
  • Projects involving human subjects require human research committee approval before funds are released.
  • Early stage investigators, (ESIs) as defined by the NIH, are encouraged to apply.

Selection of Awardees

Finalists will be asked to present a brief overview of their proposal. Funding decisions are based on scientific review score, alignment of proposal to the strategic goals of both Centers, proposal research area of focus, conformity to stated guidelines, and potential for to lead to future successful NIH grant applications. Information on the EaRTH Center can be found at https://earth.ucsf.edu and NORC at https://norc.ucsf.edu


Assemble the following documents into a single pdf and email to [email protected] by 11:59 pm on November 17th, 2021.

Format Requirements: Arial font; 11 pt; minimum 0.5 inch for all margins; no appendices; include page numbers and table of contents.

1. Cover page:

a. Title of proposal

b. Lead Principal Investigator name with pronouns

c. Lead PI academic title

d. Lead PI department,

e. Lead PI phone number(s)

f. Lead PI email address(es).

g. Are you an Early Stage Investigator (ESI), as defined by NIH?

h. Optional: membership in any groups historically excluded from science

i. Name, title, department of Co-PI(s), if applicable

2. Abstract: To a broad scientific audience, convey the goals of the project, approach and significance (>300 words).

3. Biosketch: An NIH Biosketch including personal statement, for each PI (5 pages)

4. Current & Pending support: All current and pending intramural and extramural research support information for each PI, following the NIH format.

5. Proposal (maximum 2 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited)

• Background, Significance and aims

• Experimental Design and Methods

• Literature cited (not included in page limit)

6. Statement of Collaboration detailing alignment of project with the goals with NORC and EaRTH and proposed core usage (1-2 paragraphs)

7. Budget (any format, 1 page)

8. Budget Justification: Fully explain how the funds will be used (1 page).

9. Facilities and Equipment: Briefly summarize the laboratory facilities where the proposed project will be carried out including any essential equipment (1 page or less).

Contact: Potential applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals and partnerships with UCSF EaRTH Center Pilot Program Director Dr. Diana Laird [email protected] or NORC Center Pilot & Feasibility Program Director Dr. Brian Feldman [email protected].