John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund for Biomedical Research

Research Pilot Grant Instructions and Application Packet

The purpose of the Research Pilot Grant program is to stimulate the development of new research initiatives through the support of pilot projects that have a very high probability of attracting new biomedical research grants to UTMB. While there are no restrictions upon the goals of the projects (which may be related to ongoing work in the principal investigator’s laboratory) Research Pilot Grants will not supplement or replace externally funded research projects. It is incumbent upon the principal investigator (PI) to address the relationship between the proposed research and ongoing projects, and to convince the reviewers that successful completion of the proposed experiments will have a reasonable likelihood of attracting new grant support. Reviewers will critically evaluate proposals (which may include preliminary data) for scientific merit and the potential to attract new funding.

Peer Review

John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund (JSMEF) Research Pilot Grants will be evaluated using the NIH Enhanced Peer Review Process. Research Pilot Grant applications will mirror the NIH Shortened/Restructured applications, and reviewers will utilize the 9-point rating scale. Additionally, JSMEF reviewers will recognize an investigator’s NIH designation as a New Investigator (NI) / Early Stage Investigator (ESI). Applications from NI/ESI will be identified so that consideration of their career stage can be applied during the review.

A new investigator is defined as an individual who has not previously competed successfully for an NIH-supported research project other than small or early stage research awards (R00, R03, R15, R21, R34, R36, R55, R56) or training-related and mentored career awards.

An Early Stage Investigator is defined as a PI who qualifies as a New Investigator and is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent).


Research Pilot Grants are open to all eligible UTMB assistant professors, associate professors or professors. Please refer to the current UTMB policy for Principal Investigator eligibility. New, early stage and established investigators (tenure/non-tenure track) are encouraged to apply.

Research Pilot Grants

Approved applications will be funded for up to $50,000 for one year. Applications for both clinical and basic research are encouraged. PIs may request a no-cost extension at the end of the project period. PIs with funded JSMEF Research Pilot Grants may submit a competitive renewal for a second year of funding for the same project. The PI must be able to demonstrate substantial progress on the grant to be eligible for a second year of funding. An individual investigator may submit only one Research Pilot Grant per round. Unfunded proposals may be resubmitted one time with revisions.

If other support is obtained for the project, the Sealy Pilot Award will be inactivated and all unexpended funds will be returned to the program.

Salary support for the Principal Investigator and Co-investigators is not an allowable expense.  A minimum of 1% effort is required for all sponsored projects per UT System Policy UTS163-Guidance on Effort Reporting Policies.

Cost Sharing forms are not required.

Equipment and Computer costs are not an allowable cost. Travel will not be allowed unless it is required to carry-out the project (i.e., travel to communities to interview subjects). Subcontracts will be allowed only if subcontract budget is less than $5,000.

A faculty member may simultaneously submit to both the research pilot grant program and bridging grant program provided the applications are significantly different; however, only one application can be funded.

The Research Pilot Grant Application

The principal investigator is requested to provide one electronic copy by email of the following:

  • An OSP routing form with appropriate signatures;
  • JSMEF Research Pilot Application packet, which includes:
    • Face Page
    • Proposal Abstract
    • One Year Budget
    • Budget Justification
    • Biosketches for all Key Personnel (NIH format)
    • Resources and Environment
    • An explanation of how Sealy Funding will advance the research and career of the Principal Investigator, and attract extramural funding.  Also address the relationship between the proposed research and ongoing projects, if applicable (one page limit).

  • Research Plan including
    • Introduction (only for resubmissions; 1 page limit)
    • Specific Aims (1 page limit)
    • Research Strategy (6 page limit)
  • Human Subject information
  • Animal Subject information
  • Literature Cited
  • Letters of Support, if applicable

Click here for a printed copy of the Research Pilot Grant application. Click here for a printed copy of the Research Pilot Grant instructions.

For information or answers to specific questions, please contact Ericia Huff at (409) 266-9433.