RNA Pilot Grant Program Spring 2023

RNA Pilot Grant Program

Spring 2023

The Institute for RNA Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania, CHOP, and Wistar seeks to support RNA biology research to enhance basic science, translational, and clinical studies. Towards that goal, the Institute for RNA Innovation requests applications for the Pilot Grant Programs available for Spring 2023. Pilot Grant Program description, deadlines, and application guidelines are provided below. We hope applicants will apply RNA-based approaches creatively to address new and exciting questions.

The Spring 2023 Pilot Grant Program research priority area will be Basic Science, including RNA Processing, RNA Binding Proteins, Noncoding RNAs, and Nucleoside-modifications. A second Pilot Grant Program will address translational science in the fall.

Funding priority will be given to collaborative groups that cross disciplines.

Program Timeline

Application Due:  February 15, 2023       
Decisions/Results Communicated to Applicant: April 12, 2023
Funding of Successful Applicants Begins: May 1, 2023


Principal Investigators (PIs) for awards must have a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or the Wistar Institute and hold the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor, Research Professor, or Instructor. Postdoctoral trainees are also encouraged to apply, provided that a faculty sponsor includes a Letter of Support for the trainee in the application. 

Proposals may not describe the same specific research that is funded by other sources during the grant period.

Budget and Duration

Individual applicants may request budgets up to $50,000 in direct costs and may propose projects lasting up to 12 months. The total equipment budget must not exceed $10,000.


Application Requirements and Procedures

Full applications must be submitted no later than February 15, 2023 as a single PDF file. Please label the file as PIFullName.PilotSpring2023.pdf and include the following materials:

  1. Cover Letter: A brief cover letter from the PI containing the title of the proposal and describing the value of the project and a statement that all collaborators listed on the application agree with the proposal.
  2. Abstract: A brief abstract of no more than 250 words.
  3. NIH Biosketch: An NIH format biosketch must be submitted for the PI and Co-Is.
  4. Proposal: The research proposal should be one single-spaced page with one-inch margins and should include the essential background information related to the project. Please use Arial size 11 font. References should be attached to your research proposal and will not count toward your page limit. Please provide a timeline of implementation to ensure meeting all milestones by the end of the funding period.
  5. Budget: Please use the attached budget page and provide detailed expenses. Salary support for faculty is discouraged.
  6. Budget Justification: Please provide a short justification for all personnel, supplies, and equipment that will be expensed to this project. Please indicate the importance of this funding to the feasibility of your research proposal. Please indicate if any other funds are available to you for the proposed research.

Applications should be emailed to: Jill Agolino. After your submission is complete, you will receive a confirmation receipt by email.

Eligibility and appropriate project support will be determined by the Institute for RNA Innovation. The application must have RNA-related research as its focus and currently not be funded by other sources.

Review Criteria

A peer review panel composed of faculty with a range of expertise will be responsible for award decisions, evaluating eligible applications competitively. The primary factors in award decisions will be the scientific merit of the proposed research and the long-term promise of the proposed research. No critiques will be provided to applicants; applicants will be informed with a review response of “Funded,” “Not funded” or “Not eligible.”

Grant Recipient Requirements 

Copies of IACUC and IRB approvals will be required if an award is funded.

Those receiving a grant will be expected to become active members of the Institute for RNA Innovation research community. Both the PIs and those working on funded projects are expected to:

  • Acknowledge Institute for RNA Innovation Support in publications. Any publications that are a direct result of this funding must reference: “Supported in part by the Institute for RNA Innovation of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.”
  • Self-identify as a member of the Institute for RNA Innovation on all publications emanating from the work supported by this grant.
  • Use awarded funds solely to support the RNA research described in their proposal.
  • Provide a progress report 30 days after the end of funding.
  • Contribute a presentation on research accomplishments at a future talk/symposium hosted by the Institute for RNA Innovation.
  • Provide follow-up information regarding the long-term impact of the award(s) on your overall research program and funding.


Contact: Jill Agolino