Pilot Grants

Pilot Grants for Health Policy Research

The mission of the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy (LHC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is to connect and support those seeking to improve health outcomes through policy. In support of this mission, the LHC invites applications for pilot studies to support new research initiatives in any area related to health policy. Pilot funding will be up to $20,000 for one year. Pilot funding is intended to provide initial project support for new investigators, allow exploration of possible innovative new directions for established investigators in health policy research that represent a significant departure from ongoing funded research, and stimulate investigators from other areas to use their expertise for health policy research.

The LHC will provide funding for internal grant applications that propose research, public health practice, and policy advocacy projects that support the LHC’s goal of promoting effective and equitable health policy. All projects should have a strong research or evaluation component. Pilot studies must address the relationship between public health and public policy. We anticipate funding one or two applications of up to $20,000 each.

Helpful Information

Eligibility Criteria:

UAB faculty and postdoctoral fellows are eligible. The integration of early stage faculty with other UAB researchers and community partners/stakeholders is key and required to advance all pilot projects within the context of a team science approach. All projects should have clear next steps in terms of future opportunities. Priority will be given to applicants that demonstrate a close relevance to the Lister Hill Center’s focus and likelihood of future R01 (or equivalent) funding.


Interested researchers should submit a concept paper (outlined below) to the LHC at lhc@uab.edu by October 10, 2022 at 11:59pm. Concept papers submitted after this time will not be accepted. The LHC team will review all submissions and return feedback by October 31, with full applications due November 28.


August 29, 2022 – RFP Announced
October 10, 2022 – Concept Paper Deadline
October 31, 2022 – Concept Paper Feedback Provided & Invitations for Full Applications
November 28, 2022 – Deadline for Full Applications
December 12, 2022 – Awards Announced
January 9, 2023 – Funding Starts


Concept Papers must be one page in length and must include:

  1. Project Title
  2. Names of Principal Investigator(s) and Mentor(s), if applicable
  3. Abstract (<500 words) with the following components: Background, Significance, Hypothesis, Aims, Design, Procedures. References may be included as an attachment, but are not required.
  4. Health Policy Relevance: Please include 1-3 sentences describing how this project could lead to policy change.
  5. Budget Synopsis: Please include 1-3 sentences briefly summarizing what the grant funding would be used for.
  6. NIH BioSketches as an attachment (not included in the one page limit). CVs are acceptable, but BioSketches are preferred.

Additional Information

Full Applications

Detailed directions will be provided when invited forward to submit a full application.


Maximum direct costs are $20,000. Indirect costs are not allowed. Awards are one year in length. Funds must be spent within a year of grant award. Salary support can be requested. All costs must conform to the NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) and applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget OMB circulars for necessity and reasonability, allocability, conformance and consistency, as well as allowability. More information on this can be found in Section 7.2 of the NIH GPS.

Review Criteria

The LHC will review the applications. Criteria for selection are primarily based upon the scientific impact, investigative team, significance, approach, and innovation. Specifically, the project will be evaluated for its significance to health policy, and how well it is aligned with the strategic interests of the LHC. Applications must clearly describe a vision and the feasibility of the approach. Applications based on a high degree of innovation are preferred. Applications that do not include a clear description of how the proposed research will lead to the formation of a research team are deemed ineligible.

Award Details

Funding will be awarded from the LHC Administrative Office. All questions regarding the awarding of funding should be directed to the contact listed in the notice of award. 

  • Institutional Review Board approvals, if applicable, must be obtained prior to receipt of an award, but are not required to submit an application. Prior to receipt of an award involving human subjects, IRB approval from all participating sites and human subjects training certification for all key personnel will be required.
  • Applicants chosen for funding will be expected to present the details of their study at an LHC Seminar. This will provide an opportunity to identify additional synergies within UAB and the LHC. Other presentations, including a ‘research in progress talk’ (midway) and at the end of the funding period may also be requested.
  • Awardees will be required to submit quarterly progress reports.
  • Awardees will be tracked after the award ends to monitor productivity (abstracts, publications, grants).
  • Support from this mechanism must be acknowledged in all publications and presentations.
  • If for any reason the awardee is unable to fulfill the requirements or adhere to the policies of the award, at the discretion of the funding mechanism leadership, the award may be revoked.

Questions or more information:

Sean McMahon, LHC Program Manager; seanmcmahon@uab.edu, phone: (205) 934-6553