Pilot and Feasibility Program

Developing the next generation of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) investigators is crucial if continued progress is to be made in understanding and optimally treating PKD. The Pilot and Feasibility Program within the Mayo Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Center at Mayo Clinic provides investigators with funding to obtain preliminary data that can be used to support future extramural grant applications, especially National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 applications.

Award recipients

Learn about the 2012 award recipients and past award recipients.


The 2012 application period is closed.


The Pilot and Feasibility Program provides funding for up to four outstanding proposals a cycle. Each project receives funding of up to $40,000 a year for two years.


Three general categories of Mayo Clinic investigators are eligible for funding:

  • New investigators without current or past NIH research project support (R01 or P01) as a principal investigator
  • Established, funded investigators with no previous work in PKD who want to test the applicability of their expertise to a PKD-related area
  • On rare occasions, established PKD investigators who want to test the feasibility of a new or innovative idea that constitutes a significant departure from their funded research

All applicants must have faculty appointments and be independent investigators. Funding can't be used for training purposes.

Application process

There are two phases to the application process:

  • Phase I. Interested applicants must submit a one-page letter of intent that includes project goals, their curriculum vitae, a bibliography, and a list of current and past research funding.
  • Phase II. Based on review of the letters of intent, candidates whose projects are well aligned with MTPC aims and cores and that have scientific merit will be invited to submit full research proposals. Invited full proposals must be written and submitted using this online application package.

Candidates will also meet with MTPC core directors.

Review process and criteria

The Pilot and Feasibility Program Scientific Review Committee oversees the review process and reviews letters of intent and invited full proposals. The committee is chaired by Nicholas F. LaRusso, M.D., director of the Pilot and Feasibility Program, and includes members of the Executive Committee, the chairs of the Internal Advisory Committee and External Advisory Committee, and ad hoc senior investigators with relevant scientific expertise.

Invited full proposals are scored (using the NIH scoring system of 1-9) based on:

  • Scientific merit
  • Originality, innovativeness, significance and feasibility
  • Qualifications of the principal investigator and his or her ability to conduct the proposed research
  • Likelihood that the project, if successful, would lead to an R01 (or equivalent) submission within a reasonable time frame (approximately two years)
  • Relevance of the project to PKD and overall MTPC translational research goals
  • Degree to which the project will use the MTPC cores
  • Feasibility within budget

After review by the Scientific Review Committee, the top-ranked applicants are asked to present their projects to the MTPC External Advisory Committee during its annual meeting.


Submit all material and questions to:

Mary E. Bennett
Program Coordinator

Vicente E. Torres, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Mayo Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease Center

Nicholas F. LaRusso, M.D.
Director, Pilot and Feasibility Program