Pilot Project Research

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Supporting Diverse Research through BUILD EXITO Pilot Projects

BUILD EXITO Pilot Projects are instrumental in achieving our goal of engaging underrepresented students in research projects.  Faculty at any BUILD EXITO institution can apply for funding for up to $50,000 to conduct research that will be completed within one year. In addition to giving students opportunities to work on research projects, and to assist in the production of papers and proposals, these funds are ‘seed money’ for faculty to build their careers through projects that could lead to future funded research. Faculty also receive support through the Pilot Project mechanism in preparing an R03-type proposal, in understanding the parts of a biomedical proposal, in designing a fundable research question, in responding to reviewer's comments, and through the opportunity to gather preliminary data for future research projects.

Any biomedical research is relevant for this mechanism—basic science, translational medicine, clinical medicine, social science research, population health, and other related fields are of interest. Pilot Projects can include feasibility studies, secondary analyses of existing data, small, self-contained research projects, or projects to develop new research methodologies or technology.

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Funded Pilot Projects

After three rounds of Pilot Projects, BUILD EXITO has funded 25 early career researchers in a variety of innovative projects.  

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Featured Pilot Project: Dr. Ballhorn's Lab

The aim of Dr. Ballhorn’s pilot project was to screen fungal endophytes that reside on the root nodule of red adler, to see which endophyte cultures are bioactive against bacteria, fungi, and human cell lines and gain insight into whether the strains have the potential to be used in cancer treatments.