Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Pilot Grant Program

Pilot Grant Program

San Diego Nathan Shock Center Pilot Grant Program – FY2 call - Open Track

Call for applications opens: Late August 2021.
Submission deadline: September 27th 2021, midnight PT.


The Research Development Core of the San Diego Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) is requesting applications for its Pilot Grant program. The goal is to support projects that will explore the heterogeneity of aging by taking advantage of the scientific services offered by one or more of the SD-NSC Research Resource Cores. These are the Heterogeneity of Aging Core, which offers single cell transcriptomics and epigenetic analysis, mass spectrometry and high-resolution imaging to assess the heterogeneity of cell and tissue aging studies, and the Integrative Models of Aging Core, which offers computational tools to integrate and interpret large datasets from single cell sequencing, proteomic and imaging related to the heterogeneity of aging (for more details on core service offerings, please see Module 1 and Module 2 presentations from the SD-NSC 2021 Workshop in this link).

Up to $15,000 will be awarded to each of the six selected projects. Funds will cover Core services at the SD-NSC subsidized rates, necessary Cores reagents/supplies, possible travel for a visit to the SD-NSC (dependent on COVID-19 pandemic restrictions), access to training workshops run by the Cores, and pairing with an established SD-NSC investigator or SD-NSC affiliated investigator, who will provide feedback and help ensure project success and effective usage of the Core(s). For junior applicants, this SD-NSC advisor will also serve as a mentor and be available to consult for career development.

Required Components of the proposal

Proposals must be limited to 3 pages and include:

Proposals should also include:

  • NIH-style Biosketch
  • Bibliography & References Cited

These sections will not count against the page limit

Format: Proposals must use Arial font of at least 11 pt., and have at least half-inch margins on all sides.

Application Deadline

Proposals are due on or before September 27th 2021 at midnight through the Salk institute Competitions Portal. Please create a user profile in the portal to submit your application by following these instructions.


The Research Development Core offers this opportunity to junior researchers (including Postdoctoral Fellows, Staff Scientists, and Faculty) who are beginning their careers in the basic biology of aging, and established investigators who wish to join the field. Junior investigators will be given highest priority and are those investigators who finished their PhD within the last 10 years. Applicants must be associated with a US academic institution.

Exclusions and limitations

The proposed project should not be supported by an existing grant. The award cannot support salaries and should cover direct costs only. Funds are not available for animals, animal supplies, or animal charges. Funds must be spent by May 31, 2022.

Review procedures

Immediately after the submission deadline, proposals will be sent to the Pilot Award Review Committee, which consists of the SD-NSC Executive Committee and three external reviewers from among active aging researchers. The Committee will use NIH scoring scale and evaluate proposals following these criteria:

  • How well does the investigator's research question align with the Center's goal to better understand the heterogeneity of aging?
  • Significance/How important is the project to the basic biology of aging field?
  • Investigator/Potential for this investigator to make significant and innovative contributions to the basic biology of aging field?
  • Likelihood that the proposed research by this investigator will have a sustained impact in the biology of aging field?

The highest scoring applications will be selected by voting at a meeting of this Committee, during which potential SD-NSC advisors will also be identified. Feasibility of top applications will be assessed as a last step before confirming the awardees. Awardees will be notified in early December through email.

Reporting requirements

Awardees are expected to submit a 2-page report to SD-NSC one month after the end date of the project, i.e., by Jun 30th 2022. This report should highlight scientific conclusions and impact, and evaluate the effectiveness of the SD-NSC scientific advisor. Recipients are also expected to cite the SD-NSC as a source of funding in resulting publications and include these at the end of project report.

Award Recipient Follow-up

Successful applicants will be required to provide the SD-NSC with the following:

  • A seminar on the pilot study research at the Annual SD-NSC Workshop on March 2023.
  • Notification of abstracts or papers published to which the pilot study contributed, up to 5 years after the end of the project.
  • Notification of extramural grants sought and awards received that relate to the pilot study, up to 5 years after the end of the project.

Questions and Contact

Please read our FAQ page which includes common questions about the program, and troubleshooting when creating your user account or submitting your application.

If you have further questions, please email, responses to inquiries sent to other email addresses may be delayed.

Click here to view the 2021 Pilot Grant awardees »