Today is Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017

Department of Environmental Health

Center for Environmental Genetics

Pilot Projects Program

Each year the CEG provides seed money for innovative pilot projects focused on the study of gene-environment interactions (GxE). Made possible by NIEHS award P30 ES006096, CEG pilot funding supports new initiatives in basic and population research, attracts investigators to research in environmental health sciences, and enables recipients to use CEG Facilities and Services Cores with a matching subsidy that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The program has seen a 16 to 1 return on investment as recipients parlay their preliminary findings into larger externally funded studies.

The deadline for 2017 pilot project grant applications was March 15, 2017. A copy of the application instructions and cover sheet may be downloaded here (PDF). Word version, click here.

Future awards will be offered in 6 distinct categories:

  1. New Investigator Award:  Competitive award application limited to junior faculty\early career investigators selected for initial salary support by the CEG Administrative Core.
  2. Innovator Award: For existing EHS scientists who wish to develop research in a new direction, using a new technology/concept, or establishing new collaborations
  3. New-to-EHS Award:  For investigators at any level who are venturing into EHS research but have no prior experience in this field. Applicants must identify at least one established EHS researcher as a co-investigator.
  4. Affinity Group Award for multiple investigators from different disciplines submitting a highly integrated and novel transdisciplinary application.
  5. Translation and Community Engagement Award for EHS researchers to pursue new directions in research translation and community engagement.
  6. Time-Sensitive Response Award for CEG members with urgent but unexpected research needs: e.g., addressing a rapidly emerging environmental exposure concern. Such awards will be made on an ad hoc basis; applications in categories 1 through 5 will be solicited once a year.

Applicants may request funds up to $30,000, except for the Affinity Group awards category, which may request up to $50,000. Actual award amounts, however, may vary depending on funds available. Indirect or F&A costs are not allowed. Pilot funds are intended to help the investigator gain sufficient preliminary data to justify future grant proposal(s) for extramural funding.

Eligibility: Principal investigators (PIs) must have a faculty appointment or be a senior research staff member with doctoral-level training. Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Assistants are not allowed to be PIs on these awards. Exceptions are made only for CEG Next Generation Biomedical Investigators and New Investigator Scholars with a productive track record.

Proposals that do not address gene x environment interaction(s) will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed. Exceptions may apply to the Community Engagement in Research Award category.

Gene in this context means individual genes/gene products, genomics, functional genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, epigenomics.

Environment in this context is defined based on the language used by the NIEHS for environmentally relevant toxicants in its RFAs, as described below.

Examples of environmentally relevant toxicants include industrial chemicals or manufacturing byproducts, metals, pesticides, herbicides, air pollutants and other inhaled toxicants, particulates or fibers, and fungal/bacterial or biologically derived toxins. Agents considered non-responsive include, but are not limited to: alcohol, drugs of abuse, pharmaceuticals, chemotherapeutic agents, radiation which is not a result of an ambient environmental exposure, and infectious or parasitic agents, except when agents are disease co-factors to an environmental toxicant exposure to produce the biological effect.

Authors of proposals that include use of human subjects or human specimens are advised to seek an advance consultation with the Integrative Health Sciences Facilities (IHSF) Core, directed by Susan Pinney, PhD. Phone: 513-558-0684.

For more information on the Pilot Project Program, including scientific or technical questions, please contact its directors Dr. Jagjit Yadav ( or Dr. Aimin Chen ( All other inquiries: Please contact Teresa Donovan 133A Kettering Laboratory, 513-558-3625.

Research supported by the Center for Environmental Genetics should cite NIEHS P30ES006096.