About

Hope Center Pilot Project Awards advance the translational neuroscience goals of the Hope Center, by providing up to $100,000 for collaborative and innovative two-year projects that further 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.

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 as of June 30 of each year’s round of funding; collaborators and co-investigators are not required to be Hope Center faculty members. Hope Center Faculty members who previously received a Hope Center Pilot Project award as the Project PI are ineligible to apply as Project PI for three years from receipt of the previous award. Each proposed project must be in a pilot phase and not continuation of an existing project. Projects will be reviewed by an independent faculty committee that 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 
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lysosome Processing & Transport 
  • Neurogenetics & Transcriptomics 
  • NeuroRestorative Therapy 
  • Protein Folding and Neurodegeneration 

This list is not exhaustive; other topics will be considered. 


Hope Center Pilot Projects – 2023 Application Instructions

LOI Deadline; Invitations for Full Submissions

To submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), please complete the LOI application form.  LOIs are due by 5:00pm CST on Wednesday September 13, as a single pdf to the Hope Center, hopecenter@email.wustl.edu.

In October, the Hope Center will follow up with applicants to advise if there is an invitation to submit a full proposal. Full pilot project proposals will be due Thursday November 30.  (Full proposals include a research proposal (5 pages maximum, single spaced, Arial 11 font), references (separate from the 5-page limit), proposed budget and justification.)  Decisions on funding will be made in early January 2024.  

Review

A Review Committee of faculty members 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 from the Review Committee as well as programmatic considerations.

Eligibility

The Project PI must be a Hope Center faculty member as of June 30, 2023; collaborators and co-investigators are not required to be Hope Center faculty members. Each collaborating investigator should have a significant role in the project, and funds must be shared by at least two collaborating labs. Proposed projects must be in a pilot phase (not continuation of an existing project). 

2023 Hope Center Pilot Program – Timeline Summary

  • September 13: LOIs due by 5:00p CST
  • October: Applicants will be informed if they are invited to submit full proposals
  • November 30: Full proposals due
  • January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2025: Award period

Note, for those projects selected 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.

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

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.”

Questions?

For any questions about the Hope Center Pilot Project Program, contact the Hope Center.