Pilot and Feasibility Program

Eligibility   |   Budget   |   Process   |   How to Apply    |    P&F FAQ

The mission of the NIDDK-funded Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center (BNORC) is to facilitate and support the conduct of cutting edge basic and translational research in the fields of nutrition and obesity science in Boston and the New England area. BNORC’s Pilot and Feasibility Program provides funding on a competitive basis for new investigators who are transitioning to an independent line of research or established investigators with novel ideas in the area of nutrition and obesity research.

Applications that address the themes of the Center will be given higher priority.

These themes are:

P&F awards are made with the expectation that the preliminary research supported by the pilot will lead to successful applications for additional external funding. Applicants are encouraged to consult and use BNORC Cores:

Applicants should clearly identify which core(s) their project will utilize. Interaction with Core staff during the application phase is encouraged.


The Pilot and Feasibility Program is directed at New and Early Stage Investigators (https://archives.nih.gov/asites/grants/06-14-2017/policy/new_investigators/index.htm) and provides funding on a competitive basis for new and early stage investigators who are transitioning to an independent line of research.  The program also supports established investigators with novel ideas in the area of nutrition and obesity research.

In accordance with NIH’s interest in diversity within the biomedical research workforce (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-031.html), the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center’s Pilot and Feasibility supports individuals from underrepresented groups and/or disadvantagedbackgrounds as well as individuals with disabilities. 

Eligible applicants fall into one of three categories, listed in order of priority for BNORC:

  • New investigator without current or past independent research support (i.e., NIH R01, P01) or equivalent support. Eligible applicants must have a faculty appointment or equivalent. M.D. and Ph.D. fellows and senior postdoctoral fellows who have completed a minimum of 24 months of a fellowship are eligible in this category but must have a formal mentor and are required to include a letter of support from their mentor(s) that includes a description of the trainee’s path to independence and evidence that the proposed project belongs to the trainee as well as a statement of departmental support that will be available to the trainee during the 1-2 year period of the proposed project (please limit letter to 2 pages maximum).
  • Established, funded investigator with no previous work in nutrition- or obesity-related areas who will apply their expertise to a nutrition- or obesity-related problem.
  • Established investigator in nutrition- or obesity-related areas who will test the feasibility of a new or innovative idea that represents a significant departure from their funded research and which initiates a new collaboration with one or more other investigators active in nutrition- or obesity-related research.

*Note: MD Fellows and senior postdoctoral trainees are eligible for P&F awards if they are in their latter year(s) of training and have documented suitable expertise to design and carry out the proposed experiments as an independent, principal investigator. These applicants are required to have a formal mentor or mentoring committee, as well as a statement from their post-doctoral mentor that the research proposed represents an independent line of investigation that the mentee can build upon, and a defined mentoring plan, including plans for development of the career of the junior person and transition to independence. Applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents must have active visas permitting them to remain in the U.S. for the full period of the proposed research.


Applicants may request a maximum of $25,000 in direct costs per year for a total of two years ($50,000). Funding in Year 2 is contingent on progress made in Year 1 and will be evaluated by submission of an annual progress report. P&F awards do not include indirect costs and cannot be used to cover shortfalls in other NIH awards or to augment projects that have been previously funded.


P&F awards are made based on scientific review of a Letter of Intent, and full applications are submitted by invitation only. Faculty rank is not required of P&F applicants. Each investigator may receive no more than one P&F award during a five-year cycle.

How to Apply

The application cycle for competitive Pilot & Feasibility funding is currently closed.

For further information, please check the BNORC P&F FAQ or contact Drs. Sai Krupa Das or Peter James, Co-Associate Directors for scientific matters or Donna Gibson, Center Administrator for administrative issues.

Sai Krupa Das, Ph.D., Associate Director, P&F Program

Peter James, Sc.D., Associate Director, P&F Program