Utilizing pilot funding and other incentives to stimulate interdisciplinary research

Scott C. Denne, Tammy Sajdyk, Christine A. Sorkness, Marc K. Drezner, Anantha Shekhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


At least 60 academic health centers throughout the USA are engaged in increasing the efficiency and quality of translating basic discovery into clinical trials and studies and into the community. Such efforts require teams of investigators from different disciplines who can address the complexities of translation. These institutions, which have received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through an initiative known as Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), are allocating some of their resources to issue grants for pilot projects as a means of stimulating interdisciplinary research and supporting junior investigators in their career development. We discuss the ways in which pilot funding programs have been deployed at two different CTSA institutions: the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Both programs have found that pilot funds can be used not only to engage investigators, but also to influence their research interests, approaches, and collaboration choices. With a few years of continued implementation, sufficient faculty are engaged in the process to reach what may be a 'tipping point' for change in the institutional culture and environment. There are similarities and differences between the programs discussed in this chapter, yet each has experienced success in terms of dollars invested, investigators trained, and initiation of new research opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational Research in Biomedicine
StatePublished - Aug 21 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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