Pilot Project Grant

The Cornell Center for Health Equity is pleased to request applications for one-year grant support for research or scholarship. The primary goal of this opportunity is to support impactful projects ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. Applicants may propose research projects to generate pilot data for future extramurally funded research on health equity, or they may propose scholarly work that advances thinking and/or practices on health equity. In both cases, applications should describe pathways to broader impacts. Unlike previous calls for proposals under this grant mechanism, we are not requiring projects to involve investigators from both the Ithaca and New York City campuses (though collaboration is welcome and encouraged).

We strongly encourage all applicants to center perspectives from historically marginalized and oppressed populations. This can be accomplished through partnerships with community organizations that serve these populations, data collection methods and procedures that center these voices, or other strategies. The proposed research or scholarship should be novel, innovative, and impactful with the goal of advancing our Center’s vision and mission.

Vision: To achieve health equity in local, national, and global communities through partnerships for cross-campus collaborative research, education, service, and advocacy.

Mission: Our fivefold mission is to advance health equity by generating and sharing new knowledge; training investigators, especially those of color; educating broad audiences; engaging with diverse communities; and applying knowledge to maximize its impact on practice and policy.

The center will host a town hall meeting to brief applicants about the application process, eligibility criteria and address any inquiries about the Pilot Project Grant and Community Partnership Building Grant.

Informational Town Hall Meeting:

Monday, February 27, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 PM EST

Registration Link

Eligible Applicants

The Principal Investigator (PI) should have a primary faculty appointment (Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor) in any College of Cornell University; multiple PI projects (involving more than one PI from complementary areas of other colleges or units) are allowed, but not required.

Applicants do not need to be current Center for Health Equity members to submit a proposal, but should apply for membership at the time of submission.

Awardees of a Cornell Center for Health Equity pilot grant, Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Medicine’s seed-grant, or Dean’s Diversity Award within the past 2 years are not eligible for this opportunity. For proposals with existing funding support, please explain any cost-sharing.

Applicants must be willing to present their work at the Center’s bi-campus monthly Health Equity Seminar series, as well as at the annual Symposium.


This opportunity seeks to support the development of novel, innovative research broadly related to health equity. We remain particularly interested in proposals focused on the relationship between structural racism and health outcomes. Other relevant topics may focus on the entire translational spectrum from basic science to clinical-, community-, and population-based research. Any topic that seeks to understand the sources of health disparities and how to overcome them is relevant.

Applications proposing research projects must have a clearly defined path to extramural funding. Research project applications without a clearly defined path to extramural funding will be considered unresponsive to this opportunity. Applications that may lead to extramurally funded Center grants are preferred. Applications proposing scholarship should clearly identify how the proposed work is distinct from the ongoing work of the faculty member. We are particularly interested in a wide variety of perspectives that focus on the identification and elimination of structural racism in the healthcare system and in social and economic policies that influence health and health inequity.

Stakeholder Engagement

Partnerships for collaborative research are an integral part of our vision. Partnerships with stakeholders are strongly encouraged, but not required in this opportunity. Proposals that engage stakeholders must demonstrate how stakeholders were engaged in the development of the proposal.

Outreach to the Center’s Community Engagement Core for advice is encouraged:


Budgets for pilot awards may request between $15,000 and $50,000 in total direct costs for the one-year project period and can be used to support faculty, project personnel, supplies, and costs of patient incentives/honoraria. We intend to support grants at various levels within this range.

Funds may not be used to support capital equipment or indirect costs. The funding period is anticipated to be July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. Awardees are expected to provide a short 6-month progress report and a final progress report within 90 days of the conclusion of the funding period.

Due Date

Applications should be submitted as a single PDF to [email protected] by April 19, 2023, at 5:00 pm ET. For additional information on this opportunity, please contact Grace Figuereo, Cornell Center for Health Equity Coordinator, at [email protected].

Application Instructions

Please use the provided application template with the set margins/font.

1. Cover Page: Use the attached cover-page template.

2. Abstract (1⁄2 page limit)

3. Research Proposal (3-page limit): Include the following sections only (NIH format): Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation, and Approach. Preliminary data, if available, should also be included.

4. References (no page limit)

5. Pathways to Broader Impacts (1⁄2 page limit): Brief plan for how this funding will contribute to broader impacts in the future. This could include: (a) submission of an application for continued extramural support of the project; (b) plans to disseminate findings from the work to influence policy and practice; and/or (c) plans to implement learnings from this opportunity at a larger scale. The plan should include a timetable for these broader impact activities. If a goal of the project is to provide pilot data for subsequent external funding, the plan should highlight how seed funding will enhance the likelihood of success for extramural funding.

6. Statement on Multi-PI Collaborations: (1⁄2 page, if applicable - only required for multi-PI applications): Please provide a statement of how the project will be led by multiple PIs and clearly indicate the contact PI.

7. Statement on Stakeholder Engagement (1⁄2 page limit, if applicable – only required for applications that include community partners): Include a brief statement on how stakeholders were engaged in developing the research question and how they will be engaged in the research team.

8. Budget (itemized) (no page limit)

9. Budget Justification (no page limit)

10. NIH-formatted biosketches for key personnel (preferred) or CVs (no page limit)

Selection Process

Awards will be chosen by the Cornell Center for Health Equity pilot grant selection committee. The PI will be notified via email in May if the project is selected for funding. The effective award date is July 1, 2023.

Proposals will be scored in the following categories:


Is the proposed research or scholarship significant? Does the research focus on overcoming health inequities or is it more descriptive (the former is preferred)?


Is the proposed research or scholarship innovative? Does the application make clear how the project advances innovative thinking or practice in health equity?


If a traditional research project, are the proposed methods scientifically appropriate to answer the research questions? Are the aims too inter-dependent (that is, does a later aim rely on the success of an earlier aim)? If proposing other scholarly work that advances thinking and/or practices on health equity (e.g., developing frameworks, writing scoping reviews), do the planned set of activities demonstrate that the outcome is both impactful and feasible on a one-year timeline?

Pathway to Broader Impacts:

Are pathways to broader impacts clearly identified? Does the application describe these potential impacts in a way that seems feasible? Is a timeline for these activities provided? If the pathway to broader impact is a larger grant submission, are specific funding mechanisms and plausible timelines clearly identified?

Statement on Stakeholder Engagement (if applicable):

Does the project center the perspectives of marginalized populations through partnerships with community organizations that serve these populations, data collection methods that center these voices, or other strategies? Does the research address a priority within marginalized communities (preferred)?

Request for Proposal and Application Template
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