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Pilot Projects Program

The CEG provides seed money for pilot projects focused on the study of gene-environment interactions (GxE). Made possible by NIEHS center 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 core facilities (e.g., genomics, proteomics, etc.) with a matching subsidy that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The program has seen an average 13 to 1 return on investment as recipients parlay their preliminary findings into larger externally funded studies.

The annual research funding opportunity announcement (RFA) is typically issued in late November, with applications due in mid-February. Systematic internal and external peer-review are conducted in March; decisions are timed to allow a 1-year funding period, commencing on April 1. The RFA will be posted here and disseminated via ListServs and social media. Applications for Time-Sensitive Response awards may be submitted at any time (reviewed on a rolling basis). Click here to download a prior copy of the RFA and instructions in PDF format (PDF). Click here for a sample RFA in Word format

Successful applicants engaged in Human Subjects Studies (HSS) or non-exempt studies using existing human data human specimens are  required to complete an ASSIST questionnaire and provide current IRB approval and planned Inclusion Enrollment Report before any funding can be released for the project. Download the required Human Subjects questionnaire (PDF)

Awards will be offered in 4 categories:

  1. Innovator Awards for existing EHS scientists who wish to develop research in a new direction, using a new technology/concept, or establishing new collaborations. Up to 45K.
  2. New-to-EHS Awards 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. Up to 45K.
  3. New Investigator Awards for junior faculty investigators: only NIAs who have already been selected for initial salary support under the CEG Administrative Core or those who have not received their first R01. Pilot funding up to 45K. NIAs must have a mentor \ mentor committee.
  4. Time-Sensitive Response (TSR) Awards for CEG members with urgent but unexpected research needs: e.g., addressing a rapidly emerging environmental exposure concern. TSR awards will be made on an ad hoc basis, up to 5K. Applications in categories 1 through 5 will be solicited once a year.

Applications in categories 1 through 3 are requested and reviewed once a year per annual Research Funding Announcement (RFA). TSR category submissions will be received, reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis.  

Applicants in categories 1 through 3 may request funds up to $45,000 for 1 year. Applicants in the Time-sensitive Response Award category which may request up to $5,000. Actual award amounts, however, may vary depending on funds available. Indirect or F&A costs are not allowed.

The CEG Community Engagement Core will directly offer Community Partnership Grants of up to $5,000 per partner per year to increase pilot funding proposals from regional stakeholders and to promote research translation.  Contact CEC leader Nick Newman, DO, MS, FAAP for details: to email the CEC click here.

Pilot 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 CEG pilot awards.

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 Translation and Community Engagement 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.... However, it is appropriate to include these factors as part of research to define effects of the exposome, and these factors may be a part of applications focused on the totality of a person’s environmental exposure.  [our emphasis added]

For more information on the Pilot Project Program, including scientific or technical questions, please contact its directors Dr. Jagjit Yadav ( or Roman Jandarov, Ph.D. (

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.

For IHSFC contact information and other directory\administrative inquiries: Please contact Teresa Donovan 513-558-3625.

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

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Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences
Center for Environmental Genetics
Kettering Lab Building
Room 210
160 Panzeca Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056
Mail Location: 0056
Phone: 513-558-3646