Pilot Projects


University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health 

Pilot Research Program

 Request for Proposal: 2020-2021




The mission of the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH) is to improve the health of rural communities in Iowa, the surrounding states and the U.S. The PRC-RH has three main thematic areas of focus:

  • Rural and/or micropolitan area health disparities
  • Advancing understanding of the relationships between social and structural determinants and health outcomes in rural and/or micropolitan areas
  • Developing and testing interventions for, or adaptation of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to rural and/or micropolitan populations


Objectives of the PRC-RH Pilot Research Program

The primary objectives of the pilot project program are to encourage the development of new research projects that advance one or more of the main thematic foci of the PRC-RH listed above. We are particularly interested in pilot research projects focusing on Iowa communities and that partner with community organizations or community members in the development, implementation, and/or evaluation of the project. We intend to fund projects that have potential to produce results that can serve as preliminary data for submission of a future NIH R21, RO1 or equivalent grant mechanism.


Who May Apply

Any faculty member, research scientist, or post-doctoral trainee with expertise and interest in at least one of the PRC-RH foci listed above is encouraged to apply. Proposals submitted by trainees must have a faculty sponsor and a letter confirming that support. Study proposals involving animals or basic bench science will not be considered responsive to this RFP.



One award will be given for the  funding cycle. The pilot project will be limited to a maximum budget of $20,000 (direct) and must be implemented within a year (June 1, 2020-May 31, 2021). Funding is available for the usual categories of cost in an NIH grant, such as salary and fringe for research assistants, supplies, equipment, data analysis cost, participant remuneration, travel associated with research (but not to attend professional meetings), and office expenses. Faculty salary support is not eligible under this pilot project program. No funds can be included for indirect costs.


Submission Procedure, Deadline, and Award Date

The full RFP will be released in January 2020 and applications will be accepted through March 31, 2020 with announcement of the award made May 1, 2020. Projects will begin no earlier than June 1, 2020 but are contingent on IRB approval, and run until May 31, 2021. Information about previously awarded pilot projects is available on the PRC-RH website http://cph.uiowa.edu/prc/. Proposals should be sent via e-mail as a single document attachment to Heidi Haines, PRC-RH  Center Coordinator, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa (heidi-haines@uiowa.edu).


Proposal Organization

Applications will follow the general NIH guidelines for research proposals.  The proposal should be organized as follows:


Proposal Section Page Limit

Cover Page & Executive Summary (150 words)

(Note: Principal and Co-Investigators)

1 page

Research Plan

Specific Aims

Background & Significance

Preliminary Studies (if any)

Design & Methods, Human Subject Issues

Potential for Future Grant

5 pages total for plan
Support Budget & Justification 1-2 pages
Schedule & Milestones 1-2 pages
Biographical Sketch (NIH form) for each investigator 5 pages max. for each
Letters of Support Optional


Proposal Review

A panel external and internal to the PRC-RH will evaluate applications. Review criteria are available at (https://prc.public-health.uiowa.edu/pilot-projects-review-criteria/). Reviewers will follow similar procedures to those used by federal scientific review panels (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-od-09-024.html). A written critique will be provided to all applications that are deemed responsive to the RFP, regardless of funding decision. Members of the review panel will not participate in the evaluation of applications they have submitted or on which they are a collaborator. Investigators that believe an unfair or inaccurate peer evaluation process has occurred may submit a written appeal letter to the Center Director (Rima Afifi: rima-afifi@uiowa.edu) outlining specific concerns about the process.  At the discretion of the Center Director, the appeal may be referred to outside consultants for an additional peer review.


Post Award Information:

  • IRB requirements: Once the notice of award has been received, investigators are strongly encouraged to initiate the appropriate human subjects review processes as soon as possible. No funds will be distributed until this approval has been obtained. All investigators involved in the conduct of human subject research must have received University-approved education offered by the UI’s Human Subjects Office, or similar training at their home institution.
  • Reporting Requirements: Each funded pilot project is required to submit a brief mid-year progress report and a final report. The mid-year and final reports shall be submitted according to instructions provided by the Center. These instructions will be sent out at the time of notice of award.
  • Acknowledgement of the award:  Investigators are also asked to acknowledge PRC-RH funding sources in all publications and presentations, and to notify Dr. Rima Afifi, Director, of all publications, presentations, and subsequent grants related to the pilot work. Acknowledgement text should include: This publication (journal article, etc.) is a product of a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Center supported by Cooperative Agreement Number (U48DP00638) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this report (journal article, etc.) are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Contact Information:

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Ms. Heidi Haines (335-8350; heidi-haines@uiowa.edu) – Center Coordinator – regarding scientific questions about the pilot grant program and Mr. Rob Svetly (384-1473; robert-svetly@uiowa.edu) regarding budgetary and administrative procedures.