Proposals Due:

November 10, 2023

by 11:59 pm

Extended to Monday, November 13, 2023 by 8:00 am

Start Date:

April 1, 2024

The Washington University Musculoskeletal Research Center requests proposals for Pilot & Feasibility studies in the broad area of musculoskeletal research and arthritis (basic science, translational and pre-clinical).  The goal of the P&F program is to foster projects that will generate preliminary data to support future applications for independent research support through conventional NIH granting mechanisms.  We anticipate awarding 2-3 P&F grants this year.   Support for the P&F program is provided by an NIH Core Center Grant (NIH/NIAMS P30 AR074992) and the Musculoskeletal Research Center.


Solicitations are sought from any Washington University investigator who fits one of the following criteria:

  1.  Early Stage Investigators without current or past NIH support (e.g. R01 or P01) as a Principal Investigator (definition of an Early Stage Investigator), within 6 years of first faculty appointment.
  2. Postdoctoral fellows within their last 1-2 years of training who are moving toward independence.  The goal is to facilitate a timely transition from a mentored postdoctoral research position to a stable independent research position.   Applicants holding postdoctoral fellowships (F32) are eligible.
  3. Established investigators who are entering into new studies related to musculoskeletal research.  This can include moving from basic to translational studies.
  4. Investigators who have a current P&F MRC award are eligible to submit a renewal proposal for a 2nd year.   Investigators who have received a past P&F MRC award that ended 5 or more years prior to the new start date are eligible to submit a new proposal (subject to criteria 1-3 above).


Pilot projects are funded for one year. Budget is up to $40,000 direct costs. Pilot funds are not to be used for substantial salary support for the Principal Investigator (e.g., more than 10%) or to purchase major equipment.


All applications will be reviewed by a Grant Review Committee.  One review criterion is how well the project will utilize the Cores in the Musculoskeletal Research Center.  The three Cores are: Musculoskeletal Structure and Strength (xray imaging of small animals using DXA, pQCT, and microCT; mechanical testing of bone, tendon and tendon-bone structures from small animals);   Musculoskeletal Histology and Morphometry (histological services for the identification and analysis of morphology and molecular phenotypes of our target tissues – bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament – in developing and adult mice/rats/rabbits); Animal Models of Joint Injury & Disease (creation of transgenic and knockout mice in partnership with the WU Mouse Genetics Core) and Zebrafish Models (develop the use of zebrafish models in musculoskeletal research in partnership with the Zebrafish Core Facility).  In your research plan and cover letter, you must indicate how you will utilize these cores. 


Please submit the following as a single PDF:

  1. Cover letter describing the eligibility of the investigator under one of the four criteria listed above, and the use of the core facilities.
  2. NIH PHS398 Face Page (Please complete sections 1, 3-6, 8, and 12. Tonia Thompson should be the contact listed in Section 12.)
  3. NIH format Personnel effort and Budget with justification
  4. NIH Biosketch.
  5. NIH Other Support page
  6. Mentor’s letter for postdoctoral fellow applicants emphasizing support and independence from mentor’s main research interests
  7. Research Plan – per NIH format (Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation & Approach) – not to exceed five (5) pages.
  8. Human and/or animal subject sections and any IACUC or IRB or other required documentation.
  9. Bibliography.
  10. Plans for NIH submission.

Please submit the following as a seperate PDF:

Suggested reviewers (1-internal, 2-External). Contact information (i.e. email, etc) must be included.

Please do not include appendix materials as these will not be reviewed. Investigators must have approvals, as applicable, from the Human Studies, Animal Studies, BioSafety, and Radiation Safety Committees. The approvals may be “Pending” at submission but must be in place at the time of award.


Informal inquires can be directed to:

Dr. Roberta Faccio | (314) 747-4602