CHAD Pilot Grants

CHAD Research Program Announcement

Request for Applications (RFA): Pilot Grants

ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED:                         Pilot Research

DEADLINES:                             04/01/2019 (by 5pm)



The Center on Health, Aging, and Disability (CHAD) is an interdisciplinary research center that supports research, education, and outreach addressing the many facets of health, wellness, disability, and quality of life.

The Center supports interdisciplinary approaches to research that focus on:

  • Aging and disability across the entire lifespan
  • A broad definition of health that includes not only prevention, but enhancement of quality of life and building healthy communities
  • Development of useable breakthrough technologies
  • Community-based outcome focused research

The goal of the Center on Health, Aging, and Disability’s Pilot Grant Program is to support innovative, groundbreaking interdisciplinary research aimed at advancing our understanding of health and wellness, aging, disability and the maintenance of a high quality of life. All proposals from AHS faculty will be considered, however, special consideration will go to proposals that address current priorities related to: a) campus strategic priorities (brain health, health analytics, environmental and health monitoring, sustainability, cancer), b) the role technology plays in health, wellness, and accessibility (including activities that could leverage the new Siebel Design Center or Discovery Partners Institute) or, c) research related to Age-Friendly Champaign-Urbana that partner with University Extension or local stakeholders. In addition, review criteria being equal, priority will be given to junior faculty. Veteran’s health-related research should be submitted to the Military Service Knowledge Collaborative Seed Funding Call.

SUPPORT PROVIDED: The total project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed eighteen (18) months. Total costs are limited to $30,000.


Applications will be reviewed according to the following 6 criteria:

  • Significance
  • Investigators (including interdisciplinary approach)
  • Innovation
  • Approach
  • Environment
  • Potential for external funding


  • Principal investigators must be tenured or tenure-track faculty (Assistant, Associate or Full Professors) in the College of Applied Health Sciences, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • AHS faculty who have had prior CHAD pilot grant funding in the past three years (awarded in 2016-2018) are not eligible.
  • Faculty who have received prior CHAD pilot grant funding will be required to provide information relative to their productivity with prior funding.
  • AHS faculty members, research associates, graduate students, and faculty from other campus units and other institutions may serve as co-investigators; an interdisciplinary team is strongly encouraged.
  • Research projects proposed must reflect a new area of research that is capable of being sustained with external funding, and is likely to move the science or clinical practice forward.


  • Applicants will complete a brief application form
  • Applications must be submitted by 5:00 PM on Monday April 1, 2019
  • Peer reviewers on the CHAD Senior Faculty Committee participate in the reviews. Much like the NIH scoring system, an overall impact/priority score is given for each grant application based upon 6 criteria. Scores range from 1 (exceptional) to 9 (poor). Scores and summary statements are used by the CHAD Director in making final funding decisions.
  • Awards are for an 18-month period beginning July 1, 2019.
  • Unfunded PI’s will have the opportunity to work with CHAD to improve their proposals for future submissions.

Applications must include the following items:

  • Investigator Name(s) (First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name), year of rank and highest degrees
    • Note about Investigators. For multiple applicants, put the name of the primary investigator at the top, followed by other investigators. For multiple investigators, the primary investigator is responsible for the administration of funding. The PI must be a faculty member in the College of Applied Health Sciences.
  • Contact Information for Investigator Submitting Grant
  • Project Starting Date
  • Project Title 
  • Lay Proposal Summary (100 words or less)
  • Budget Request (Not to exceed $30,000)
    • For Research Assistants: $ amount requested
    • For Research Support (non RA): $ amount requested
    • Total Funding Requested: total funding $ requested
  • Budget Justification
  • How does your proposal support your career goals and plans for securing external funding? (Limit 1 page)
  • What is the focus of your current research projects, whether or not they are related to the proposed project? (Limit 1 page)
  • Proposal Narrative-should not exceed three (3) pages (not including references), single-spaced, half-inch margins, use font 11 point Arial. Narratives should address each area of the review criteria.
  • Grant Submission Information:
    • Targeted Federal Agency or other Funding Opportunity
    • Targeted Submission Date
  • Include attachments
    • NIH or NSF style biosketch for each investigator
    • IRB or IACUC approval for human or animal subjects (approval not necessary for submission, but must be secured before data collection and forwarded to CHAD)


The CHAD Pilot Grant Program funds are intended for direct research costs (e.g. wages for RAs and hourly student employees, supplies, travel relative to research project, and small equipment). If graduate research assistantships are to be awarded with the grant, the grant will only cover the stipend and not the tuition waiver. The PI should get Department Head approval for this prior to submission.

The following expenses are NOT allowed:

  • Salaries for faculty, post-doctoral research associates, research technicians, or computer programmers are not supported.
  • Full-time appointments of any kind
  • Graduate research assistantship appointments for greater than 50% time, more than two months in the summer session, or persons not currently enrolled as graduate students at the University of Illinois
  • Dissertation project research costs which are not clearly also faculty research costs
  • Construction and remodeling of facilities
  • Non-research costs
  • Travel to scientific meetings (this can be supported by other means such as the UIUC Scholars Travel Fund, CHAD travel awards, etc.)

Submission of Application

Submit one PDF file of the application, as an attachment online at

Acceptance of Grant/Post Award

By accepting a CHAD Research Grant, recipients agree to:

  • Grant recipients will work with CHAD staff and the CHAD Senior Faculty Committee facilitate their project implementation, and provide help in preparing and developing a proposal for external funding
  • Submit interim reports and attend meetings as requested
  • Submit a final report eighteen months from the start date of the award that includes
    • an accounting of expenditures and activities
    • the submission of the grant proposal to a federal (or other) agency on the specified date for continued research support of the proposed project.
  • Submit a copy of the grant submissions to CHAD.
  • Identify the AHS Center on Health, Aging and Disability as the funding support source on all resumes, vita, biosketches, presentations or publications.

A 6 month no-cost extension may be requested with justification.


Grant Review


  • A 9-point scale identical to that used by NIH, will be employed
  • A score of 1 indicates an exceptionally strong application with essentially no weaknesses. A score of 9 indicates an application with serious and substantive weaknesses with very few strengths; 5 is considered an average score
  • Ratings are in whole numbers only (no decimal ratings)
  • This scale is used to provide an overall impact/priority score and for assigned reviewers to score six individual criteria (e.g., Significance, Investigator(s), Innovation, Approach, Environment, Potential for external funding)
  • For the overall impact/priority score rating, strengths and weaknesses across all of the review criteria should be considered
  • For each criterion rating, the strengths and weaknesses within that review criterion should be considered
  • Reviewers should consider not only the relative number of strengths and weaknesses noted, but also the importance of these strengths and weaknesses to the criteria or to the overall impact when determining a score
  • For example, a major strength may outweigh many minor and correctable weaknesses

Review Criteria

1. Significance. Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

2. Investigator(s). Are the PI, collaborator(s), and other researchers well suited to perform the project? Do they have appropriate experience and training? Have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? Do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Is the research team interdisciplinary?

3. Innovation. Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

4. Approach. Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Is the subject number justified and is the statistical approach described? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Timelines should be presented for project completion including significant milestones.

5. Environment. Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?

6. Potential for success in external funding. Will the completed pilot work provide the basis for a competitive external grant submission? Does the PI identify specific federal agency, foundation or industry RFP’s? If NIH is a proposal target, has the PI identified an individual Scientific Review Group (SRG) or study section? Has the PI discussed their work with a Scientific Review Administrator (SRA)? If other, has the PI discussed the potential of their ideas to be responsive with a society or industry sponsor? Does the PI have a track record of external grant submissions? What is targeted agency and specific submission dates for external proposals resulting from this pilot work?