NIAID/NIH Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation (CMCR) Program

Call for Pilot Project Applications

[New funding cycle at the beginning of January 2022 with an anticipated due date of April 1 for a funding start date of August 1 2022]

The Centers for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation (CMCR) are now accepting applications for pilot projects focused on practical approaches for radiation biodosimetry or the development of agents for the mitigation of acute or late radiation effects. 

Pilot project funding is intended to foster novel / early ideas within and outside awarded CMCRs, to develop or incorporate new technologies as they become available, and to encourage collaborations among members of different centers and between the CMCRC and outside investigators (although research collaborations with existing centers are not required). The use of pilot projects permits maximum flexibility to advance in exciting research directions including high-risk high-reward projects.  Pilot projects must be within the scope of the original CMCRC RFA (link above).

PIs of pilot projects previously funded through the CMCRC program are now eligible to apply with new projects (not for continuation of prior funding). Junior investigators are especially encouraged to apply.

More detailed information on current research is available from the three currently funded centers:

        (Nelson Chao, M.D., Principal Investigator)

  • University of Maryland CMCR

       (Zeljko Vujaskovic, M.D, Ph.D. and Isabel Jackson, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigators). 

        (David Brenner, Ph.D., D.Sc., Principal Investigator)


Proposals should be sent by 12/31/20 to Margaret Zhu at mz2171@cumc.columbia.eduand should consist of items 1-13 below assembled in the following order into a single pdf document:

  1. Face Page
  2. Abstract (30 lines)
  3. Specific Aims and Milestones (1 page max.)
  4. Research Plan: Background/Preliminary Results, Research Design and Methods (3 pages max.)
  5. References Cited
  6. Detailed budget for year 1 (may use NIH format) 
  7. Budget justification (one year only)
  8. NIH format Biographical sketch (including other support) for key personnel
  9. Resources and Equipment
  10. Protection of Human Subjects, if applicable
  11. Details of Vertebrate Animal Research, if applicable 
  12. Letters of support (optional)
  13. Completed checklist

Click HERE to download application forms

Proposals will be evaluated on standard NIH scoring criteria (Significance, Investigators, Innovation, Approach, and Environment), with weighting given to both innovation and significant translational impact 1) in the context of potential contribution to the overall goals of the CMCRC, and 2) in the field of the proposed research. Research Plans should address NIH rigor and reproducibility requirements.

Human and animal protection documentation will be requested as appropriate from projects selected for funding on a “just in time” basis.  Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Notes on the budget:

  • The maximum award is $100,000 per year (direct costs).  
  • Funding will be awarded initially for one year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year.  The provided milestones will be used to benchmark progress and future feasibility in the competitive review of first-year progress reports.  
  • As per NIH guidelines, pilot budgets may not include sub-contracts. Contact Margaret Zhu to discuss alternatives if needed to enable collaboration.
  • As per NIH guidelines, the indirect rate for non-US applicants is capped at 8%.


Applications are due December 31, 2020

Anticipated project start date: May 1, 2021


Inquiries should be directed to:

Margaret Zhu

Center for Radiological Research 

Columbia University Medical Center