Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute Pilot Studies Award

Section 1


To encourage early exploration of research ideas to address growing health challenges while adding to the evidence base for integrative health practices.


The Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute (SSIHI) Pilot Studies Program is funded by the UCI Susan and Henry Samueli Endowment. The SSIHI Pilot Awards are designed specifically to support exceptionally innovative and/or unconventional research projects that provide an understanding of the mechanistic basis or clinical outcomes related to the use of integrative therapies.

The UCI SSIHI is pleased to announce a new call for the Pilot Studies Program. Two one-year awards in the amount of $25,000 will be conferred in this round. The estimated funding period is May 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022.

Eligibility Principal Investigators (PIs) must be full-time UCI faculty from any school or discipline; junior and mid-career faculty are especially encouraged to apply, but established investigators pursuing novel research lines are also welcome. Faculty from the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and the Long Beach VA* are also encouraged to apply. If CHOC and VA applicants do not have a joint UCI faculty appointment, their proposals must have a UCI co-PI.

Investigators may submit multiple applications in which they are listed as PI or Co-PI for unique research topics and areas of inquiry.
*All awards to CHOC and VA will occur via a subcontract; no overhead costs will be provided.

Eligible Projects

Integrative health research projects currently not funded and aimed at obtaining preliminary results for a full application for extramural funds will be given priority. Emphasis will be placed on the innovation and transformative potential of submitted proposals. The content of proposals, while obviously linked to applicants’ current research, should demonstrate a clear evolution towards novel, relevant, and untested research areas.

An integrative health research project is defined as any project aimed at accelerating the evidence to support integrative approaches or therapies.

Integrative approaches can be multimodal and address lifestyle-related interventions (e.g. nutrition) and behaviors. Integrative therapies, as defined by NIH, include the use of natural products (e.g. botanicals, dietary supplements, and probiotics) and mind and body approaches (mind/brain-focused practices (e.g., meditation, hypnosis), body-based approaches (e.g., acupuncture, massage), meditative exercise (e.g., yoga, tai chi), and art and music therapies.

Note that in addition to integrative health research studies, these awards are also open to proposals to pilot new methodologies to assess the multimodal approach to integrative or whole-person care.

Owing to the short timeframe of the awards, no projects requiring an IND or an IDE will be considered for funding.

Application Process

Application Opens: Monday, February 5, 2021

Deadline: Monday, March 1, 2021

All material must include the investigator’s name at the top right corner, and use a font no smaller than 11 pts, with margins no narrower than 0.5 inches.

The application must include:

  • Biosketches for co-Is (New NIH format)
  • Suggested Reviewers
  • Lay Summary (max 300 words) written content explaining project to a general/lay audience
  • Abstract and Keywords
  • Research Plan (5 pages max, plus references) must include:
    • Specific Aims
    • Significance (be sure to address the translational potential of the project)
    • Innovation
    • Approach
    • Plans for applying for extramural funding
    • SSIHI Pilot Project Implementation Plan (click link to download form)
    • Home department letter of support
    • Budget (itemized, 1-page maximum)
    • Budget Justification
      • Funds cannot be used to support the PI’s salary, computer purchases, or travel. Other personnel salaries are allowable.
      • No overhead will be provided for outside institutions
    • For junior faculty only (assistant professor or lower): Please name senior faculty mentor

Regulatory Approval:

Please note that while having regulatory approval (IRB, IACUC) is not necessary at the time of submission, awarded funds will not be released, until such approval has been received. We will not allow carry-forward on these one-year awards. Also, if all regulatory approvals have not been received 6 months after the award date, the Institute may withdraw the award.

Post-Award Project Support: Before funds are released, an activation meeting will be held with the awardee, a department financial analyst, and Institute staff at which the team will review the project implementation plan resources that will be provided to the research team.

Application Review Process:

Review criteria will include:

  • Significance and impact of the proposed research
  • Qualifications of the PI and research team
  • Innovation
  • Approach; Scientific strength of the research design
  • Scientific environment
  • Project feasibility within the proposed time frame
  • Likelihood of generating extramural funding

SSIHI, in collaboration with the UCI ICTS, participates in a national CTSA External Reviewer Exchange Consortium (CEREC) to improve fairness in the scientific review process and better match applicants with feedback from experts in their respective fields. In submitting an application, you agree to allow reviewers external to UCI access to your application materials. For more information, please contact Elaine Chen at SSIHIresearch@uci.edu.

Full Proposal: Monday, March 1, 2021

Notification Emails for Receipt of Proposal: A notification email indicating the receipt of your application will be sent within 24 hours of submission. If you have not received an email, please contact Elaine Chen at SSIHIresearch@uci.edu.