Pilot project guidelines

Includes details to apply for the current (2021) round of funding Read More


The annual Hope Center Pilot Project Award Program is designed to advance the translational neuroscience goals of the Hope Center. Faculty may request up to $100,000 for two-year projects. Projects must involve at least two collaborating laboratories.  Each collaborating investigator should have a significant role in the project, and funds must be shared by at least two collaborating labs.  The Project PI must be a Hope Center faculty member; collaborators and co-investigators are not required to be Hope Center faculty members.  Each proposed project must be in a pilot phase and not continuation of an existing project.  Proposals will be reviewed by an independent committee of faculty members who will consider scientific merit, innovation, importance for future application to human nervous system disease, potential for external funding, and ability to advance the overall goals of the Hope Center.  Final decisions on funding will be made by the Hope Center Steering Committee based on recommendations of the Review Committee as well as programmatic considerations.

Examples of topics that are eligible for funding include

  • Axonal Injury & Repair
  • Clocks & Sleep
  • Lysosome Processing & Transport
  • Neurogenetics & Transcriptomics
  • NeuroRestorative Therapy
  • Neurovascular Injury & Repair
  • Protein Folding & Neurodegeneration

This list is not exhaustive; other topics will be considered.  All proposals must be consistent with the Hope Center mission:

To improve the lives of people living with neurological disorders, through collaborative research that aims to discover fundamental mechanisms of neurodegeneration and repair, and translate that new understanding into cures and treatments.

**Award recipients commit to serving on a review committee for Hope Center pilot awards, at least once within three years of the award.

Hope Center Pilot Projects – 2021 Application Instructions


Letters of intent (LOIs) may be submitted by Hope Center Faculty members.  The Project PI must be a Hope Center faculty member as of June 30, 2021.

LOI Deadline; Invitations for Full Submissions

To submit a LOI, please complete the LOI application form.  LOIs are due by 5:00pm CST on Monday September 13, and should be submitted as a single pdf and forwarded to the Hope Center,  hopecenter@email.wustl.edu.

After review of LOIs, the Hope Center will follow up with applicants by Tuesday October 12 to advise if there is an invitation to submit a full proposal. Full pilot project submissions will be due Tuesday November 23.  (As in the past, the full proposal will include a research proposal (5 pages maximum, single spaced, Arial 11 font) as well as references, and proposed budget and justification.)  Decisions on funding will be made by mid-December.  

2021 Hope Center Pilot Program – Timeline Summary

  • September 13: LOIs due by 5:00p CST
  • October 12: Applicants will be informed if they are invited to submit full proposals
  • November 23: Full pilot submissions due
  • January 1: Start date for new awards
  • January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023: Award period

Note, for projects approved for funding, the following materials will be required before release of funds:

• Animal and/or IRB approvals, if applicable (note that the Hope Center cannot release funds until appropriate approvals are in-place).
• A one-paragraph description of the project and its importance, in language appropriate for the lay public.
• Progress reports at 12 and 24 months, including scientific findings, publications, funding, and intellectual property arising from the project.

Acknowledging Pilot Support

For publications arising from research supported by a Hope Center Pilot Project Award, please acknowledge this support.   Here is suggested language:

“This work was supported by a Pilot Project Award from the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders at Washington University.”


To request an extension for a Hope Center Pilot Award, please send an email to Anneliese Schaefer, amschaefer@wustl.edu, with the following details:

  • Title of Pilot Award
  • Original award period, and current deadline
  • Balance remaining
  • Justification for extension


For any questions about the Hope Center Pilot Project Program, contact Anneliese Schaefer, amschaefer@wustl.edu.

Pilot Project Awards

Click below to learn details and progress of active and previous pilot awards.

Active pilot projects

Previous pilot awards