Pilot Project Programs

Pilot Project Program

The Pilot Project Program (PPP) supports the CEED strategic vision by developing new research areas, attracting new and established scientists to environmental health research, fostering the careers of early career investigators, catalyzing community collaborations, growing CEED’s funding base, and enhancing our strengths in innovative, impactful environmental health research. Through the Pilot Project Program, CEED can maintain its focus on high-quality science, cutting-edge innovation, and productive interactions with the communities it serves.  A major focus of the program is to support the CEED vision of an increase in community-centered environmental health research.

Through the PPP, researchers can test new hypotheses on emerging environmental challenges, establish new relationships with community partners, and develop new technologies and novel transdisciplinary collaborations.  The ability to generate solid preliminary data will be critical to obtaining peer-reviewed funding that can directly impact susceptible communities in NJ and beyond. The PPP is vital part of community engagement supported by EOHSI and Rutgers leadership at all levels and highlights the need to build sustainable and cooperative relationships with local and state communities.


Pilot Project Program Leadership

Photo of Andrew Gow PhD
Andrew Gow, PhD
Rutgers-EMSOPPharmacology and Toxicology
Photo of Troy Roepke PhD
Troy Roepke, PhD
Rutgers-SEBSAnimal Sciences

Applications Deadline: February 1, 2024

DATE: December 4, 2023
TO: Faculty, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
FROM: Troy Roepke, PhD, Pilot Program Director and Andrew Gow, PhD, Pilot Program Co-Director
SUBJECT: Request for Community Proposals for 2024-25 CEED Pilot Grants

The NIEHS Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease (CEED), in collaboration with the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI), is soliciting applications for its 2024- 2025 Pilot Project Program. Pilot funding supports new environmental health research with the potential to improve human health and establish or strengthen community partnerships. CEED is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, P30-ES005022).
The mission of CEED is to understand how environmental exposures are integrated with host and environmental factors to impacting human health. The Pilot Project Program is used to improve human health through education, outreach, mechanistically based intervention, prevention, modalities, and to enhance foster relationships with community partners.

Community Based Applications:
This year’s RFP encourages interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to problems in the environmental health sciences, CEED is interested in all aspects of environmental health research, including climate change, and is particularly in supporting projects involving partnerships with community groups. Applications originating from community groups are particularly welcomed.

All community-based applications must include a CEED member as a Co-PI. This is necessary due to University and Federal regulations regarding transfer of award funds and for formal University Human Subjects (IRB) approval.
A maximum of $25,000 will be available for each grant; however, budgetary justification and potential for NIEHS funding will be significant factors in reviewing these grants. Most awards will be in the $20-25K range. The maximum budget may be exceeded only in exceptional cases. The Principal Investigator or Co- Investigator can be a member of an organized community group. The CEED member can serve as PI or co-investigator.

Each proposal must include the following components:
1. PROJECT NARRATIVE: up to four pages (single-spaced, 11 pt. font, 1” margins):
A. Title of Project
B. Investigators (include names, titles, addresses, e-mail, and phone numbers)
C. Hypothesis
D. Background and significance
E. Specific Aims, with timeline
F. Methods and data analysis
• Human subjects: list and attach active IRB protocol that is appropriate or can be easily amended to include projected studies
• Animal subjects: list relevant IACUC protocol and attach approval letter
G. Expected Results, Outcomes:
• Enhance scientific discovery relevant to environmental health
• Publications and grant applications to NIH, especially NIEHSH, Relevance to CEED mission (see p. 1)
H. All applications must include a description of how the proposed research can foster the development of community partnerships and/or improve community health.
I. Planned use of CEED Facility Cores

PROPOSAL APPENDICES (do not count toward page limits):
A. Literature references
B. Biosketch or summary of the applicant’s qualifications or work in the field is acceptable
C. Budget and Budget Justification
Budget Considerations:
• Direct Costs only – Indirect costs are not permissible
• Undergraduate stipends up to $6,000/year ($3,000/semester) are allowable.
• No equipment, travel, graduate student stipends, or faculty salary can be supported.
• Awards will not be granted to the same investigators more than 2 consecutive years.
D. IRB approval is required for any human subject’s research.

Review Process
Applications should be submitted by February 1, 2024. Review of the Pilot Grant proposals will take place in March/April, 2024. The Director of the Pilot Project Program will first review all applications to confirm that the application meets the basic criteria and will remove from review applications that do not meet the basic criteria. The CEED Director may offer to assist in fine-tuning applications, at their discretion. All eligible applications will be sent out for review by internal and external reviewers.

Awards and Reporting
Successful applicants will be sent award letters, including instructions regarding expenditure of funds, by April 15, 2024. All funds must be spent by March 31, 2025. By 12-18 months post-funding, funded applicants will be required to give an oral presentation of the project outcome at a NIEHS Center members’ meeting and provide evidence of grant submission.

Inquiries and Submission of Proposals:
Please e-mail your application by February 1, 2024, to:
Kristin Borbely, NIEHS Center Administrator Phone: (848) 445-0170
E-mail: borbely@eohsi.rutgers.edu Website: http://ceed.rutgers.edu/pilot-project-program/

Type of Grants

These grants support high risk-high yield projects and are the traditional avenue for Pilot Project funding, representing most  investigator-initiated  Funds of $25,000 are provided for these pilot grants.

These grants seek to engage clinicians, epidemiologists, and basic scientists in research focused on a targeted environmental issue, often involving an exposed cohort or community. They typically involve two or more integrated Full Pilot applications which are reviewed independently. Interactive pilots can also be between CEED and one or more NIEHS P30 Centers, with each Center reviewing and funding a portion of the pilot grant.

These grants support ongoing projects that require a defined or limited set of additional data to complete a manuscript, submit a grant application, respond to grant reviewers, or to purchase a small but essential piece of equipment. Mini-Pilot grants are also used for rapid response to emergent environmental health issues such as natural disasters or industrial accidents.

To advance CEED’s strategic vision, we have expanded our PPP to include funding proposals from community members focused on environmental health issues of groups or individuals within a community.

Newark Water Coalition – CEED Collaboration to Investigate Sources of Environmental Lead in Newark, NJ

Anthony Diaz/Executive Director of Newark Water Coalition and Robert Laumbach MD, MPH, CIH, DABT, Director of the CEED Community Engagement Core created the Mobile Lead testing Unit (MLTU) Project based on the desires of the community to pursue community-driven research to investigate the sources of lead exposure in Newark homes.

The East Trenton Collaborative (ETC), a local community group operating in the East Trenton neighborhood in Trenton, NJ, and NJ Future, a statewide advocacy organization requested a partnership for their initiative to help address lead (Pb) exposure within their marginalized community. They learned about our work identifying Pb in drinking water in Newark from the Newark Water Coalition and requested our help to “make East Trenton a great place to live, work, and play”. Lead by Brian Buckley, Ph.D., Director of CEED Chemical Analysis and Detection facility core, and Shereyl Snider, Community Organizer (ETC),  the project was launched in August of 2022  to address lead (Pb) exposure within East Trenton marginalized community.

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