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Launch Pilot Grants



The goal of this Request for Applications (RFA) is to accelerate the translation of intellectual property developed by West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) researchers into realized inventions as well as patents.

The technology to be further developed under this RFA must be the subject of a WVU, Marshall University, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, or CAMC Health and Research Institute Invention Disclosure and Assignment. The subject technology must require additional development to be viable for commercialization.

Questions regarding the proposed projects being appropriate for this funding opportunity, please contact Erienne Olesh via email at

Required Letter of Intent (LOI)

To better serve those applying for West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute pilot project funding, Letters of Intent (LOI) will be required from interested Principal Investigators. Applicants to the Launch Pilot grant must also include a notice of Invention Disclosure and Assignment approval from their respective home institution.

  • WVU and WVSOM: For questions regarding this approval letter, or to obtain a letter, please contact Erienne Olesh at
  • Marshall University: Investigators at Marshall University should contact the Technology Transfer Office,, with any questions.

Only the top scoring LOIs that address one or more of the following funding priority areas will be invited to submit a full proposal:

  • Poised for commercialization with specific targeted demonstration or test results.
  • The technology can be developed with available resources provided by this grant to the point that it can be used for additional commercialization funding or be licensable within 9 months of receipt of the award.
  • The initial research scale results require the development of a prototype.
  • Project has progressed to the point where typical academic research funding sources are no longer applicable, but the project has yet to reach a commercial value inflection point; and,
  • Must demonstrate that if the project is successful the results will be a technology that has interested licensing or funding partners.

The LOI must follow the template found here.

LOIs are required and must be submitted via iLab as a single PDF document on or before June 28.

The LOI will be used to screen applicants based on scientific merit as well as WVCTSI research thematic alignment. After review, only applicants with scientific merit and focused research thematic topics will be asked to submit full proposals. This requirement will help to ensure that potential projects are in line with WVCTSI goals and target areas.  

All investigators will receive an email notification informing them whether they are invited to submit a full proposal or not. 

Investigators whose projects are consistent with our mission and the scope of this RFA will be invited to submit full proposals. Unsolicited full proposals from PIs who do not submit an LOI will not be reviewed nor considered for funding.

Human subject project applicants are required to present the clinical component of their project at the PI Academy’s Idea Lab before the full application due date. Please reach out to our Training Manager, Debbie Lee, at to schedule a time to present.


For this funding cycle, the budget is limited to a maximum of $50,000 in total direct costs for nine (9) months. PIs can request an additional $5,000 if they include a six-week or longer research experience for a medical student as part of the project.

Compliance Requirements for a Full Proposal

PIs submitting a full proposal in response to this RFA must include CITI certification for investigators conducting research or collecting outcomes with human and/or animal subjects. Documentation for these requirements should be included in the Appendix of the application. IRB/IACUC approval are not required prior to application submission deadline. For animal studies, proof of IACUC submission is required in the application. Note that all WVCTSI Pilot awards require official proof of IRB/IACUC approval before project start. Therefore, no project can start, nor funds be released without proper compliance documentation.

Faculty members invited to submit full proposals need to include projects that address the specific aims of the WVCTSI. To better address the specific aims of the WVCTSI, PIs will be invited to submit full applications that address one of the following funding priority areas:

  • Addiction
  • Emerging Epidemics (e.g., SARS-CoV-2, HIV, Hepatitis C)
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease (including stroke)
  • Chronic Lung Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

Application Types Allowed

  • New - An application that has not been previously submitted to any WVCTSI grant program. All new applications will be reviewed competitively using the evaluation criteria described in Section IV – Application Review Information.
  • Resubmissions - An application that has previously been submitted to Launch Pilot Grants Program but was not funded. PIs submitting a revised proposal must respond to the previous panel review summary and will have one additional page within her or his application to respond to all identified previous panel review comments. Resubmitted applications must be received by the relevant due dates, will be evaluated in competition with other pending applications in the appropriate area to which they are assigned, and will be reviewed according to the same evaluation criteria as new applications. Applications which appear to be resubmissions (regardless of the designation) are regarded as such by the program and the panel and compete on the same basis with all other applications submitted to the Launch Pilot Grants Program at the same time.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is nine (9) months.

PI eligibility criteria:

  • Principal Investigator (PI) must hold a faculty appointment or equivalent at the time the award is announced. Appointments can be held at CAMC Institute/WVU Charleston, Marshall University, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and West Virginia University.
  • For the purposes of this RFA, these are individuals who can independently apply for federal or non-federal investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed Research Project Grants (RPG). Individuals holding postdoctoral fellowships or other positions that lack independent status are not eligible to lead pilot projects.
  • Note that Marshall University faculty members must hold an appointment in the School of Medicine. Other Schools and Colleges at Marshall University are NOT currently eligible for WVCTSI Pilot grants.

All Early-Stage Investigator (ESI) PIs must complete the one page attachment with signature from proposed mentor. The Mentorship Agreement Plan can be found here. Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Principal Investigators, as defined by the NIH as a new investigator who has completed his or her terminal research degree or medical or other professional residency—whichever date is later—within the past 10 years and has not yet been awarded a substantial, competing NIH research grant.


  • The following personnel are not eligible to serve as PIs but may be co-investigators: investigators-in- training including residents, post-doctoral fellows, clinical fellows, and faculty member(s) with courtesy appointments.
  • Pilot projects may not overlap with other ongoing WVCTSI-funded projects.
  • The Project lead for Pilot projects may not concurrently have funding from other IDeA Program award mechanisms (e.g. INBRE, COBRE).
  • Faculty named in the WVCTSI organization (i.e., program chairs and key personnel) are restricted from serving as PI on WVCTSI pilot grants, as well as prohibited from having funds directed to their labs or programs. However, such individuals may be included on pilot grants in supportive roles such as Co-Investigators, mentors, and consultants.

Past Pilot Funded Principal Investigators

Any Principal Investigator submitting a full proposal that has received past WVCTSI and/or INBRE pilot grant funding must include the following in their appendix:

  1. A paragraph that, in layman’s terms, clearly describes how this proposal differs from past funded projects. Please describe if this is a new project, or an extension of past funded projects.
  2. Please list any and all publications that resulted from past funded pilot grants as well document any external grant submissions, and subsequent results (funded, scored, not funded). If other items demonstrate the productivity of past WVCTSI or INBRE funded pilot grants, please describe them as well.

Note: Significant prior WVCTSI, INBRE, and/or current NIH funding will likely result in low priority during the reviewing process unless the new proposal is radically different from previous projects. The WVCTSI Pilot Core Program’s mission is to support the growth of investigators in order to promote high-quality research resulting in increased team science, dissemination of finding, and extramural funding success. As such, priority is typically given to promising researchers in early stages of their career and who have not yet secured significant other funding sources. We respect the time and effort that all applicants dedicate to their proposals, and welcome inquiry about eligibility prior to any formal submission.

Number of Applications

For the Launch Pilot grant, PIs can submit as many LOIs as she/he can prepare, but each PI will only be invited to submit one full application by the submission date.


Any application previously been submitted to WVCTSI Pilot Grants Program, but not funded is eligible for resubmission once. PIs submitting a revised proposal must respond to the previous panel review summary and will have one additional page within their application to do so.

Resubmitted applications must be received by the relevant due dates, will be evaluated in competition with other pending applications in the appropriate area to which they are assigned, and will be reviewed according to the same evaluation criteria as new applications.

Regardless of designation, applications appearing to be resubmissions are regarded as such by the program and the panel and compete on the same basis with all other applications submitted to the WVCTSI Pilot Grants Program during that funding cycle.  

If you are planning on completing a resubmission, please contact the WVCTSI team prior to re-submitting your application.


Meg Haller, MPA, MSW - Pilot Grant Coordinator