Pilot and Feasibility Funding Program


The H-NORC Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) Funding Program provides one‑year grants of up to $25,000 total direct cost to support projects in nutrition or obesity research. Up to an additional $25,000 in matching funds may be provided to support expenditures in one or more of the H-NORC associated cores. P&F projects may be biomedical, epidemiological, community-based, or clinical. They may include laboratory or non-laboratory research projects that focus either on human nutrition, animal studies, or cell-based research related to nutrition or obesity.


  • Applicants must be full-time faculty members at BCM, UTHealth Houston, UT Medical Branch, MD Anderson, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Institute of Biosciences and Technology at TAMU, Rice University, University of Houston, and Texas Southern University.
  • Applications are encouraged from early-career investigators and established investigators new to obesity and nutrition research.
  • Applicants must be a member of Houston-Nutrition Obesity Research Center (H-NORC). Please use the Membership link to apply for membership.

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed and rated by TMC faculty with appropriate expertise.  

Criteria for Awards

The evaluation criteria will be: (1) significance, (2) relevance to obesity or nutrition research, (3) rationale for the premise, (4) validity and adequacy of the approach, (5) feasibility for a 1-year proposal, (6) collaboration with one or more H-NORC Research Cores, (7) probability of leading to a successfully funded external grant application, (8) potential for translation between clinical and basic science, and (9) scientific expertise of the applicant. Applicants can contact Kristin Eckel-Mahan, Mark Herman or Yong Xu for questions and eligibility guidelines.

Post Award

P&F awards will have a start date no earlier than January 1, 2024. Awardees will be required to present progress reports during and at the end of the funding period. 

How to Apply

Applications should be formatted in 11-point Arial font with half inch margins. Each application must contain the following items in the specified order:

COVER SHEET (1 page): Provide a project summary stating the application’s objectives and Specific Aims. Concisely describe the research design and methods for achieving the stated objectives and Aims.

RESEARCH PLAN (up to 2 pages excluding references): The research plan should include sufficient information to evaluate the project and should include the following sections. 

a) Specific Aims (integrated in the Research Plan and not a separate page)
b) Significance and Innovation 
c) Preliminary Studies (not required but should be included if available; no appendices allowed). 
d) Research Approach 

NIH BIOSKETCH (maximum 5 pages): In the “Personal Statement’, please identify yourself as an early-career investigator or an established investigator not currently working in the obesity and nutrition fields, and briefly describe your research experience that is relevant.  

OTHER SUPPORT: Provide sources and amounts of current funds available to support research on the proposed project or those that are related. Other support also includes awards to senior or mentoring investigators associated with the applying PI. If existing funding is available, clearly justify why P&F funds are needed. List any pending applications at granting agencies with potential budgetary overlap. 

BUDGET: Provide a budget (NIH PHS398 Format) and a 1-page detailed budget justification. If funds are requested to support services from one or more of the H-NORC cores, please include these as line items in the budget.

LITERATURE CITED: List numerically, either in order of citation in the text or alphabetically.

Please send your completed application package to

Deadline for Submission

The 2023 submission deadline has been extended to November 10, 2023.