Application Procedure

2020 NORCH Pilot & Feasibility Grants

Seeking applications for Pilot & Feasibility Grants related to Nutrition, Obesity, and Metabolism.  Award is $30,000 over 1 year, with possibility for an additional $30,000 during year 2 via a competitive renewal if good progress is achieved.  


Eligible applicants fall into one of 3 categories: (1) Early career investigators in nutrition, metabolism, or obesity; (2) established investigators new to the field of nutrition, metabolism or obesity research; or (3) established investigators in the field looking for funding for a new direction in nutrition, metabolism or obesity research.  Investigators from any Harvard institution are eligible to apply.  Per NIH rules, fellows are not allowed to be PI of these grants, but final-year fellows may apply if the grant would be awarded after completion of their fellowship.  Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of our Core laboratories.

Please note:  We had great success with the RFA for Applicants from underrepresented in medicine (URM) backgrounds last year and we are incorporating that application process into this application cycle this year.  We highly encourage URM applicants to apply for P&F funding in response to this RFA, and we are committed to providing funding to a diverse group of P&F investigators.


Application must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. We expect to announce awards by Monday, June 15, 2020 and the funding period will begin August 1, 2020.


Applications are required to use PHS 398 grant forms where appropriate. Proposals must be single spaced and follow the NIH format guidelines. Please submit the entire application as a single PDF file using the form here.
• NIH Face Page
• Research Plan (5 pages, references are not included in the 5-page limit)
A. Specific Aims
B. Significance
C. Innovation
D. Approach
E. Relevance of the Proposed Project to the theme of nutrition/obesity/metabolism
F. References
• NIH Form Page 4: Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period
• NIH Form Page 5: Budget for Entire Proposed Project Period *include Budget Justification
• NIH Biographical Sketch (for PI and all Key Personnel involved in the project)
• NIH Other Support Page (PI only)
• NIH Inclusion Enrollment Report (if applicable)
• Protection of Human Subjects/Animals (if applicable)
• Facilities and Other Resources
• Letter of Support
• List of Reviewers (include 3 or 4 names as suggested reviewers)
->Include their full names, mailing address, telephone and e-mail address
• *Renewal Applicants* see additional instructions below

Download the PHS 398 instructions and forms here.

PLEASE NOTE that any P&F projects that propose a clinical trial of more than minimal risk require prior approval from NIDDK, which we will obtain upon successful review of your project. If your P&F project is considered to involve human subjects and is awarded, you may be asked to provide additional information required by NIDDK prior to the project start date, August 1, 2020. It is recommended that your initial application include a clear description of study population, sample size and power as well as project milestones, relevant safety monitoring and recruitment information to ensure that the application can be adequately scored.


Along with your application forms, please be certain to tell us the progress you have made in the first year (limited to two pages), your plans for the proposed second year as well as a report on expenditures from the 1st year.  Renewal applicants may apply in any NORCH funding cycle after initial funding – applicants are encouraged to apply once strong progress has been made.

Funds may be used for technical support including salary for research assistance and supplies. Equipment less than $5,000 can be requested

• Principal Investigator, or Mentor salary support
• Secretarial/administrative personnel salary support
• Computers
• Tuition
• Travel (Domestic and Foreign)
• Publication Costs
• Dues and Membership Fees
• Equipment costing $5,000 or more
• Indirect Costs

Please note that, since part of the criteria for grant-funding include the applicant’s accomplishments and potential for success, these grants may NOT be transferred to another PI once awarded.


Please submit a budget for up to $30,000 in direct costs. Indirect costs are not supported, and all grants must be awarded to an HMS-affiliated institution.  The period of funding is for one year, beginning August 1. Investigators must reapply for a second year of funding if interested.


All applications will be reviewed by the NORCH Center Leadership. Applications with the highest merit will be sent for peer review. Preference will be given to junior investigators particularly those with K awards or equivalent. All applications are encouraged to consider utilizing and incorporating Center core services in the proposal if applicable.


For non-science related questions about the application, please contact Nika Grzejka at 617-643-0412 or

For science-related questions, please contact Dr. Takara Stanley at 617-724-9109 or