Funding Opportunities

Request for Proposals:

Center for the Science of Early Trajectories Pilot Project Award

RFP Kickoff:

Monday, October 17, 2022

Full proposal deadline:

Thursday, December 15, 2022 by 11:59pm CT

Award notice date:

Monday, January 30, 2023

Earliest project start date:

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Project Funding:

Up to $50,000

Apply via REDCap:

Project Period:

Up to 12 months


Funding for biologic research at the cellular and molecular level of infant development



The Center for the Science of Early Trajectories (SET) founded a diverse network of basic scientists, physician scientists, and clinicians in order to transform infant development research. SET’s ground-breaking collaboration will establish a biologic map of the development of infants at the cellular and molecular levels, thereby defining the optimal trajectory for infants. This new discipline of research will shift the attention of the scientific community to the preterm infant, and translate into nuanced, patient-centered care for our most vulnerable babies in the community we serve, improving their health outcomes for their entire lives.


SET Center Mission

To foster multidisciplinary scholarship and team science focused on early development, in order to improve outcomes and optimize health across the life course for our most vulnerable patients in the community we serve.


Call for Proposals

The University of Chicago’s SET Center launched at its recent annual event a new seed funding program, a pioneering initiative from the Center. The purpose of the initiative is to support new research endeavors into the biology of human development throughout the life course, at the cellular and molecular levels. Possible proposals for research can include (but not limited to): animal models related to human development, biomarkers for organ development, or new measures or markers for normal development trajectories.

The goals of the program are to:

  1. Accelerate the scientific understanding of human development throughout the life course, directly translating to improved care for our most vulnerable patients,
  2. Deepen cooperation and information sharing between scientists, physician-scientists, and clinicians,
  3. Position projects to successfully scale and secure future large-scale sponsored research and/or grant funding.

Awards will be granted to early-stage pilot projects, and will be for a period of 12 months. Preference will be given to projects which include at least one PI or investigator from the Department of Pediatrics. Preference will also be given to projects which result from participation in a SET Center Working Group. The SET Center can make introductions where possible. Proposals are expected to be at an NIH-scale of rigor of research, with the likelihood for future outside funding.


Selection Criteria

In addition to evaluation for scientific feasibility and rigor, the metrics below will be given priority:

  1. At least one PI or investigator is from the Department of Pediatrics
  2. The research team is a result from, or is participating in, a SET Center Working Group, or is otherwise a multidisciplinary team. 
  3. At least one PI is an early-stage investigator, as defined by the NIH
  4. The project has potential for external funding after completion
  5. The research project advances the SET mission, including addresses health disparities, and has the potential to improve the care of the most vulnerable patients served by the University of Chicago



Proposals responding to this call should complete the application downloaded from the REDCap form, and the additional questions in the form. The REDCap form will collect the application, the Research Proposal, and an NIH biosketch for all investigators.



Send any questions via email to Cristina Corrigan ( REDCap submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.



The SET Center Board members and additional reviewers as required, will jointly review proposals and make final funding recommendations to leadership.


Terms and Conditions

The terms of awards are as follows:

  1. Eligibility: Principal Investigator must have PI status at UChicago or otherwise be eligible to apply for external funding (i.e., research associates and staff scientists are eligible, however trainees are not eligible to be the PI). Applicants may submit more than one application, with the same or different collaborative teams, provided that each application is scientifically distinct. Current members of the SET Center Advisory Board are not eligible to apply.
  2. Progress reporting: A final project report and financial report must be submitted within 60 days of completion of the grant period. This report is expected to include an expense report and if additional grants have been solicited or awarded.
  3. Data and specimen sharing: It is expected that all data and specimens collected for the purposes of this research and using the funding from this award will be shared with the SET Center and incorporated into its data commons and biorepository for use by other investigators within the governance regulations of SET.
  4. Research publicity: UChicago and SET expect to publicize any/all research results following the approval of PIs. Communications staff will work closely with researchers to disseminate research results, in line with UChicago and SET processes and requirements.
  5. Credit SET Center: Any presentations and publications intended for the public domain, including policy briefs, press releases, blogs, papers, and newsletters that emerge from projects should credit the UChicago SET Center. When appropriate, the official logos of UChicago, and/or SET should also be included, subject to each institution’s prior approval.
  6. Funding usage: Funds may not be used to directly support PI salary. They may be used to cover salary support for project personnel such as, but not limited to, post-doctoral scholars, research assistants, and/or graduate students, in addition to data, computing time, core services, and other relevant project costs.
  7. Indirect costs: A research team member can be from outside UChicago or UCM, however indirect costs will not be awarded to outside institutions. Indirect costs are not required for internal projects (University of Chicago) and will not be awarded.
  8. Extension: A request for a no-cost extension may be granted if submitted before the end of the grant period. Grantees may extend the final budget period of the project when the following conditions are met (following NIH guidelines):
    • If no additional funds are required from SET
    • If there will be no change in the project’s originally approved scope
    • If no term of award specifically prohibits the extension



The SET Center kindly thanks the generous support of the Stephen Family and the Department of Pediatrics to continue our work.