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Launch Pilot Grants


Funding Opportunity Purpose

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.

Required Letter of Intent (LOI)

To better serve those applying for Launch Pilot funding, the WVCTSI requires Letters of Intent (LOI) from all interested researchers.  As part of the submitted LOI, those applying for the Launch Pilot grant must also include a notice of Invention Disclosure and Assignment approval from their respective home institution. To obtain a letter of approval, the applicant must have an accepted Invention Disclosure and Assignment form on record for the technology described in the application. Approval letters will be provided for those who have submitted a completed and signed Invention Disclosure and Assignment form.

  • WVU and WVSOM: For questions regarding this approval letter, or to obtain a letter, please contact Erienne Olesh at  WVU PI’s should work with the Health Sciences Innovation Center (HSIC). 
  • Marshall University: Investigators at Marshall University should contact the Technology Transfer Office, with any questions.

The technology to be further developed under this RFA must be the subject of a WVU, Marshall University School of Medicine, 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.  In addition, 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 6-9 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  • Project has progressed to the point where typical academic research funding sources are no longer applicable but the project has yet to reach a commercial value inflection point; and,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 should follow the template and can be found here.

  • LOIs are required and must be submitted as a single PDF document on or before the deadline listed. LOIs should be submitted via the iLab website (see instructions Complete RFA).


LOI Due Date

  • August 3, 2020 by 5:00 PM EST

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.   The LOI application is located on the WVCTSI Pilot Grants web page.

Full Proposal Due Dates

For those applicants invited to submit full applications, you will receive an e-mail notifying you after your LOI has been reviewed and approved.  Unsolicited full proposals submitted will not be reviewed nor considered to receive Pilot grant funds.

  • October 5, 2020 by 5:00 EST


For all funding cycles, the budget is limited to a maximum of $50,000 in total direct costs with a period of performance of nine (9) months.

Compliance  Requirements

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 as well as documentation of IRB and/or IACUC protocol submission. Documentation for these requirements should be included in the Appendix of the application. IRB/IACUC approval are not required prior to application submission deadline but must be completed within 60 days of notice of grant award.

Note that all WVCTSI Pilot awards require final NIH approval before funds can be released and official proof of IRB/IACUC approval is required to obtain NIH approval. Therefore no project can start nor funds be released without proper compliance documentation.

Other Requirements for the Launch Pilot Grants Program

The following priorities for Launch Pilot grants will be articulated to the review committee:


  • Applications that have been favorably reviewed extramurally and/or by the WVCTSI that are re- submitted with clear responsiveness to previous critique and a plan for translational focus of the research.
  • Proposals with investigator teams that include clinician scientists in key roles (PI/Co-PI) with clearly articulated plans for translational application of the research. Clinician investigators must contribute an appropriate amount of effort (minimum 10% effort for the PI) to the project and their roles must be clearly defined in the application. 
  • Proposals with strong potential to secure external funding; this potential will be evaluated based on the science as well as the PI (if single PI) or the team of investigators if Co-investigators are included in the application.
  • WVCTSI thematic focus topics related to cancer, neuroscience, obesity and metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke and the risk factors associated with the aforementioned thematic focus topics. 
  • Applications in which Early Stage (ESI) and Junior Investigators propose pilot studies to obtain preliminary data for an extramural grant submission. An ESI is 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 gran For WVCTSI purposes, qualifying ESIs must have at least one year of eligibility remaining that meets the NIH definition of an ESI upon completion of their WVCTSI funded project. Junior Investigators and ESIs must identify a mentor to assist with the investigator’s training with written documentation that the mentor is willing to serve in this capacity as well as a description of the mentoring team, if applicable. Mentorship Agreement Plan: ESI PIs must complete the one page attachment with signature from proposed mentor. Mentorship Agreement Plan can be found here.
  • Applications intended to stimulate innovation and commercialization.

Eligibility Information

For both the LOI as well as the full proposal, PI Eligibility is limited to the following: 

  • Faculty (all title series including regular, research, clinical) of the WVCTSI member institutions (West Virginia University, Marshall University School of Medicine, CAMC-Institute/WVU-Charleston, and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)) who intend to apply for external funding in the future.
  • 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.
  • WVCTSI Leadership are restricted from submitting applications which will direct funds into her or his program or lab.
  • Individual PIs cannot receive WVCTSI funding for more than one Pilot Grants Program projec Upon completion of an initial Clinical and Translational Pilot Grants Program project, subsequent WVCTSI funding can be requested based on the PI’s scholarly productivity relating to the initial funded project. Scholarly productivity includes the submission of applications for extramural grant opportunities, publications, and proceedings/presentations.


  • Leaders of pilot projects must hold a faculty appointment or equivalent at the time the pilot award commences. 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 either
    the School of Medicine or the School of Pharmacy. Other Schools and Colleges at
    Marshall University are NOT currently eligible for WVCTSI Pilot grants.
  • The Project lead for Pilot projects may not concurrently have research funding from other IDeA Program award mechanisms (e.g. INBRE, COBRE).
  • Pilot projects may not overlap with ongoing WVCTSI-funded projects.
  • 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.


Per NIH guidelines, only one (1) resubmission is allowed for any given proposal. If you are planning on completing a resubmission, please contact the WVCTSI team prior to re-submitting your application.