Pilot and Feasibility Program

Developing the next generation of investigators in polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is crucial if continued progress is to be made in understanding and optimally treating PKD.

The Pilot and Feasibility Program of the Mayo Clinic Robert M. and Billie Kelley Pirnie Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease Center 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.


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


Three general categories of 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
  • Established PKD investigators who want to test the feasibility of a new or innovative idea that constitutes a significant departure from their funded research

Funding is open to both Mayo Clinic and non-Mayo investigators. All applicants must have faculty appointments at Mayo Clinic or at their home institution 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 submit a one-page letter of intent that includes project goals, a biosketch and a list of current and past research funding.
  • Phase II: After review of the letters of intent, candidates whose projects are well aligned with the center's aims and cores and that have scientific merit are invited to submit full research proposals.

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. Invited full proposals are scored using the NIH scoring system of 1 to 9 based on:

  • Scientific merit
  • Originality, innovativeness, significance and feasibility
  • Qualifications of the principal investigator and 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 center research goals
  • Degree to which the project will use the center's cores
  • Feasibility within budget

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


Submit all material and questions to: