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Microgrant Program Expand answer

The Comprehensive Health Studies (CHS) Program – A Penn State College of Medicine Strategic Plan Initiative – has launched a microgrant program.

Microgrants are smaller-scale funding opportunities designed to:

  • Support the short-term needs of research investigators that are not otherwise covered by other funding
  • Enable preliminary work to generate data for new or ongoing projects that have direct relevance to improving human health and disease
  • Support research efforts that are ready to immediately use these resources
  • Give priority to early-career investigators

Award Duration: Six (6) months
Award Amount: $4,000 maximum
Application Deadline: Rolling (up to 25 microgrants supported per FY)
Award Notification: All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their submission via email within ten (10) business days after receipt of application. Additional information may be requested during the review, extending this timeline.
Award End Date: All project activities and spending must be completed six (6) months after receipt of award notification – extensions will not be granted.

Microgrants will not be awarded if the funding is requested for services that are available at no-cost through the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The CHS team may also recommend other internal grant programs specifically designed to help sustain investigators at Penn State College of Medicine if deemed more appropriate for the request.


  • Faculty with an appointment in the Penn State College of Medicine (tenured, tenure track, or fixed term/non-tenure track), research fellows, and post-doctoral fellows.
  • An IRB or IACUC approval date and protocol number must accompany any application involving human subjects or live vertebrate animals.
  • Researchers may be awarded one (1) microgrant request in a one-year period. This period begins from the date of your last microgrant approval.
  • Continuations/extensions of previously awarded proposals will not be considered.


Microgrants are overseen and administered by the CHS program interim director Cynthia Chuang, MD, MSc, and interim associate director Amy Arnold, PhD, MSCI. Funding decisions will be based upon the scientific merit and potential impact of the request.


Submit application on REDCap


Applications will be reviewed and scored using a 9-point rating scale (9=poor; 1=exceptional) in the following areas:

  • Rationale – basic, clinical, and translational research that ties findings to diagnosis or treatment of human disease and/or improves health
  • Anticipated Benefit – clear articulation of why the funds are needed, and their anticipated benefit
  • Future Plans – clear articulation of next steps for future research, dissemination of project results, and identification of subsequent funding


Proposed expenses must be for a basic, translational, or clinical project with relevance to improving human health and disease and may include:

Funds MAY NOT be used to pay for:

  • Salary support
  • Computers
  • Travel to meetings
  • Publication fees
  • Offsetting expenses in a grant application
  • Animal purchase
  • Professional development
  • Training fees
  • Expert speakers
  • Food


Recipients will be required to submit a brief report 30 days after the award end date. Report requests will be issued and completed using REDCap.


Any publications or presentations that result from this work should acknowledge the funding source with the following statement, “This project was supported by the Penn State College of Medicine’s Comprehensive Health Studies Program.”


Need further assistance? We are here to help! Please contact Jody McCullough (

2023 Request for Proposals (RFP) Expand answer

Comprehensive Health Studies Pilot Funding

Coming Soon!

2022 Comprehensive Health Studies Pilot Awardees Expand answer

2022 Comprehensive Health Studies Pilot Awardees

The mission of the new Comprehensive Health Studies (CHS) pilot funding program is to enhance patient-centered, translational sciences by unlocking the complex interactions of genetics, biological processes, socio-economics, and life circumstances to improve the understanding of human health and mechanisms of disease. Novel interdisciplinary, patient-centered translational research is necessary to address the complex health challenges faced by today’s patients and communities.

This CHS funding mechanism is designed to encourage innovative proposals that:

  1. Leverage current or growing areas of the College of Medicine’s research strengths
  2. Address health challenges that cannot be addressed by a single scientific discipline within the College of Medicine or Penn State University
  3. Focus on health priorities/disease areas that affect the communities served by College of Medicine and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

These are designed to seed (up to $10,000) the development of interdisciplinary teams and research projects of up to 12-month duration to facilitate the transformation of ideas from concept into an innovative, team science-based, translational proposal.

Catalyst Awards

Collaborative Pilot Awards

These are designed to support innovative pilot studies, including high-risk, high-reward research that can lead to the submission of external grant proposals (e.g., NIH R21/R01 mechanisms; PCORI). This funding (up to $50,000) will support pilot studies of up to an 18-month period. Priority will be given to proposals from multidisciplinary teams (e.g., faculty from multiple departments and colleges across PSU, community partners, etc.).

Collaborative Program Awards

These awards will support synergistic individual projects (maximum of three) aimed at developing a future external research program proposal such as the NIH P, U, or T mechanisms. This funding (up to $150,000) is intended for principal investigators who currently hold a R-level NIH award, and who are eligible to compete for the NIH P, U, T or similar mechanisms. The funding will support pilot studies for no longer than a two-year period.