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COBRE Pilot Grant Program


The NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Matrix Biology 2022 Pilot Project Grant Program Announcement

The NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Matrix Biology is pleased to announce its Pilot Project Grant Program. Funded by the NIH/NIGMS (COBRE grant P20GM109095), this program will provide support for promising faculty members undertaking biomedical research. The goal of the program is to enhance Matrix Biology research at Boise State University. To achieve this, we aim to support investigators to generate preliminary data that will lead to competitive applications for external funding.

We anticipate funding of up to four two-year pilot projects at $50,000 direct costs per year. The second year of funding is dependent on a demonstration of progress.

Investigators are encouraged to utilize shared core facilities, including but not limited to the BRC proteomics, metabolomics, histology, microscopy, protein expression, and the Biomedical Research Vivarium core facilities.

Download Printable COBRE in Matrix Biology Pilot Project Funding Opportunity Announcement (PDF)

Key Dates

  • Applications will be due at 5 p.m. on February 7, 2022, submitted as a single PDF document to Tracy Yarnell, Program Manager, COBRE-Matrix Biology via email
  • February 2022: Applications recommended for funding will undergo external review and be considered for final approval by the COBRE-Matrix Biology External Advisory Committee (EAC) and NIGMS.
  • Earliest state date: June 1, 2022


  • Eligible investigators must hold a faculty appointment at Boise State University.
  • A letter of support from the individual’s departmental chair, stating that the faculty member can commit
  • 25% effort to his/her pilot research project is required.
  • Faculty members are not eligible for Pilot Grant support if they are the principal investigator on an R01 grant or its equivalent.
  • Faculty will be required to provide a mentoring plan.
  • A letter of support from the individuals named mentor confirming their commitment to the pilot project.

Application Process

Applications will follow a shortened NIH grant proposal format. The completed application will include the following components:

  1. Face Page
  2. Project summary/abstract, relevance to health, list of key personnel
  3. Detailed budget for the initial budget period
  4. Budget for entire (2-year) proposed project period (includes budget justification)
  5. NIH-style biographical sketches for the PI, other key personnel, and the PI’s mentor
  6. Facilities and other resources, equipment, and planned core facility use
  7. Other Support (current and pending support)

Research Plan

The research plan should adhere to the following format and page limits (sections B-D should total no more than five pages). All sections of the research plan will be required for consideration for funding.

  1. Specific Aims (one page)
  2. Significance: In addition to overall significance, include a description of the relevance of the proposed work to Matrix Biology.
  3. Innovation: May include conceptual and/or technical innovation.
  4. Research Approach: Include relevant preliminary data, anticipated results, pitfalls, and alternative approaches.
  5. Future Directions: Include a proposed plan for future funding.
  6. References cited (not included in the page limits for the research plan)
  7. Mentorship/career development plan (recommended, one-half page)
  8. Human subjects if applicable (indicate IRB approval status)
  9. Vertebrate animals if applicable (indicate IACUC approval status)
  10. Biosafety/select agents if applicable (indicate IBC approval status)
  11. Letter from department chair: This letter should detail the percent effort that the applicant can commit to the project. It should also indicate the applicant’s qualifications and support for the development of a biomedical research career.
  12. Letter from mentor: Indicate agreement to provide career development guidance and scientific advice.


Projects will be funded for up to $50,000 per year for up to 2 years. Funding may be used to support the following:

  • Research personnel
  • Supplies
  • Animal purchase and housing
  • Travel to one scientific meeting per year
  • Core services
  • Statistical consultation
  • Publication costs
  • Other justifiable direct research costs

Review Process and Selection Criteria

Review of applications will be coordinated by the COBRE-Matrix Biology Career Development Committee (CDC) and approved by the External Advisory Committee (EAC). Applications will be evaluated for the following three key areas:

1. Overall theme of the project

  • Relevance to the matrix biology thematic focus
  • Hypothesis-based and mechanistic orientation
  • Potential for NIH funding; significance and innovation

2. Scientific approach

  • Preliminary data
  • Experimental approach
  • Adequacy, validity, and appropriateness of the model system
  • Approach to data analysis
  • Feasibility; planned timeline for the two years of funding
  • Use of core facilities

3. The investigator

  • Qualifications of the PI for performing the proposed research; quality of the PI’s research
  • environment; adequate resources, equipment, facilities
  • Ability to apply adequate effort to the project
  • Mentoring/career development plan, including plans for R01 or R01-like grant proposal submission

Progress Reports

The COBRE-Matrix Biology Career Development Committee (CDC) will conduct a review of funded projects during the tenth month of the first year of funding to consider continued funding.

The committee will focus on the following indicators of progress:

  • Research progress
  • Submission of manuscripts related to the proposed research
  • Presentations at regional or national meetings
  • Submission of grants related to the proposed research
  • Establishment of a model system that will promote innovation in Matrix Biology research


Awardees of the funds will be expected to:

  • Participate in monthly COBRE professional development meetings
  • Participate in a grant writing workshop
  • Document monthly (weekly for local scientific advisor) interaction with mentors
  • Present research at a national or international meeting
  • Submit one manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal of high impact
  • Submit two manuscripts to a peer-reviewed journal of high impact – Year two of funding
  • Plan and write an NIH R01 with scientific advisors’ review before submission
  • Submit R01 before the end of the second year
  • Graduate off COBRE funding at the end of year two or year three
  • If unfunded, review with a scientific advisor, address comments and re-submit R01
  • Re-package grant for submission to other agencies
  • Submit a non-competing renewal package to the Steering Committee


Inquiries regarding the Pilot Project Program should be directed to Tracy Yarnell ( or Julia Oxford (


Applications will be due at 5 p.m. on February 7, 2022, submitted as a single PDF document to Tracy Yarnell, Program Manager, COBRE-Matrix Biology via email