CHABLIS is now accepting applications for Pilot Projects for the period of July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.

Letter of intent: Prospective applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of intent. The suggested LOI deadline is January 17, 2023. Please submit to Absera Melaku at

Pilot application deadline: Please submit via the online form by Monday, February 6, 2023 at 5 pm Central Time.

Summary of funding opportunity: The program development core within CHABLIS provides research and career development support to early-career faculty with pilot projects that span the demography and economics of aging in both medical and social science realms. Up to four pilot projects are awarded each year, with an average of $25,000 awarded per pilot. Pilot project leads also receive mentorship from CHABLIS executive committee members and support in dissemination and extramural application development.

Pilot Project RFA Guidelines and Considerations

CHABLIS pilot project priority areas and special considerations:

  • All pilots must leverage population-based social science research to study HABs and health outcomes among older adults.
  • Pilots should do one or more of the following three things:
    • 1) study health aging behaviors in the context of one of our priority cohort studies.
    • 2) support development of studies of healthy aging behaviors in new or existing longitudinal studies. This could include analyses of existing data or the development of new measures or new modules for existing studies. Pilots requesting support for new longitudinal studies will likely need to demonstrate broader support than is typically possible in a single pilot award.
    • 3) develop methodological studies expected to be relevant to multiple longitudinal clinical investigations of healthy aging behaviors.
  • The CHABLIS priority cohort studies are:
    • National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP)
    • Comprehensive Care Program
    • Oral Health Study
    • Vitamin D and COVID-19
    • Investigators who are not familiar with these priority studies may learn more on our website. Applicants who submit LOIs will be able to arrange consultations with one or more of the CHABLIS PIs to discuss areas for collaboration and/or integration with one of the priority studies.
  • In addition to advancing the core research areas of CHABLIS, all pilots are expected to describe a plan for dissemination and potential funding mechanisms for future support.
  • Pilots should propose a research plan that can be completed in one year, although dissemination activities may extend past the year timeframe.
  • Pilot investigators may apply for a second year of funding, but the second pilot must include aims and a research plan that build upon and represent significant innovation from the first pilot.

Eligibility of pilot project applicants:

Eligible pilot project applicants include:

  • Faculty at UChicago at all levels are encouraged to apply. Supporting junior faculty is an important priority.
  • Research staff at UChicago and NORC are also eligible to apply if they will have PI eligibility.
  • Supporting projects that will support future grant submissions (K, R, etc) will be a priority.
  • Postdoctoral researchers at UChicago who apply with a faculty mentor/supervisor (and with a LOS from that mentor confirming continued support for the fellow during the pilot period).
  • All faculty (junior or senior) outside UChicago
    • Applicants from outside UChicago/NORC must propose a pilot that enhances an existing CHABLIS priority cohort study, or works to expand one of these studies to a new site/population.
  • Investigators may apply from any department or field (sociology, economics, public health, medicine/biomedical sciences, anthropology, psychology, public policy, social work, etc.) as long as the project advances demographics and/or economic population based research.
  • Investigators from groups underrepresented in the sciences (see NIH definition) are strongly encouraged to apply.

If selected for funding, pilot project PIs agree to:

  • Submit human subjects protocol for IRB review in a timely fashion after receiving the award notice; work with CHeSS grants team to submit any necessary documents to NIA for final approval of pilot by funder’s deadline of April 2023.
  • Join the quarterly CHABLIS executive committee twice per year to discuss research progress, avenues for dissemination, and future funding opportunities
  • Present at least once during the appointment year in a workshop on campus: Outcomes Research Workshop (ORW), Demography Workshop (DW), or Health Economics Workshop (HEW)
  • Submit a written update on the progress of your pilot for the annual P30 progress report in winter/spring 2023 (template will be provided)
  • Disseminate the findings of the pilot at a national conference and/or in a peer-reviewed journal (additional funding for travel may be available through P30 award)
  • With support from P30 Executive Committee and CHeSS grants team, identify and apply to external funding opportunities

Letter of Intent – due Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Applicants are encouraged to submit a brief LOI to help us anticipate the number of applicants and focus of the proposed projects. The LOI may be informal and can be sent in the body of the email to Absera Melaku at It should include a paragraph describing:

  • A short description of the proposed pilot and working hypotheses
  • A brief explanation of how the pilot fits into the investigator’s longer term research agenda and expertise
  • A description of any prior studies/previously collected data that are relevant to the pilot and/or provide evidence for the pilot’s potential feasibility
  • The names of all key personnel involved in the pilot

Full application – due Monday, February 6, 2023 at 5 pm Central Time

Pilot applications are submitted through the online portal found here.

Pilot applications should include:

  • Coversheet*
  • PI biosketch (5 pages maximum per biosketch)
  • Specific aims/hypotheses to be tested (1 page)
  • Research plan (3-5 pages)
    • background and significance of the proposed research
    • alignment with CHABLIS aims* (how the research will be relevant to longitudinal studies and use population-based social science methods to further our understanding of HABs); please clearly label this section
    • relevant preliminary data (if applicable)
    • study design and methods
    • analytic plan
    • a timeline for project completion
      • Please note that the project period for this pilot is July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024, although it acceptable for some activities, like research dissemination, to extend past the pilot period
    • potential funding mechanisms and timeline for applying for external support
  • References/bibliography
  • Budget and budget justification*
    • Applicants may request $20,000-$25,000 per pilot, although we expect to fund pilots at $25k on average. Pilots from investigators who are from groups underrepresented in the sciences or include research trainees/staff from underrepresented groups may request up to $5k additional in their budget (for a budget of $25-$30k).
    • Budgets may include effort and fringe benefits for early career/junior faculty investigators, trainees, and/or research staff; equipment and supplies; and/or data.
    • Whether indirect costs should be included on the budget varies depending on whether you are an internal or external candidate.
      • Internal applicants (UChicago and NORC) should not include indirect costs on their budget.
      • External applicants should include indirect costs on their budget, in line with their institution’s federal indirect cost rate. The TOTAL cost of the award must not exceed $25k (or $30k for individuals from underrepresented groups)
    • Please use the budget form found here; justifications should be prepared in word and attached separately
  • Human subject protections, if applicable
  • For postdoctoral researchers– a letter of support from the fellow’s research mentor confirming support for the project and continued stipend/salary support for the postdoc throughout the pilot project period

Selection and notification of award

Pilot projects will be reviewed and scored by a committee of CHABLIS executive committee members and subject area experts.

Applications will be scored in line with NIH scoring guidelines in the following categories, on a scale of 1 (exceptional) to 9 (poor): overall impact, significance, investigator(s), innovation, approach, and other review criteria/considerations.

Applicants will be notified about whether they are selected for funding no later than March 31, 2023. If selected, the pilot will be reviewed by NIA for final approval.


Please contact Absera Melaku at with any questions. You may also contact faculty members Linda Waite, PhD, Program Development Core Lead and CHABLIS multi PI  (, and David Meltzer, MD, PhD, CHABLIS multi-PI (