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Pilot & Exploratory Studies Core

The goal of the Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC) is to advance our understanding of the etiology, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of common geriatric health conditions, as described in the Pepper Center theme, leading ultimately to the development of efficacious and cost-effective interventions to increase or maintain independence for older Americans. Funding may be used for any type of pilot project that will support subsequent grant applications.

To achieve this, we offer education, and training, as well as consultations with experienced staff within the Biostatistics and Operations Cores. Yale-affiliated investigators who are interested in any of these opportunities should contact

Funding Opportunities

There are two ways to receive funding from us:

  1. We offer Pilot awards to faculty members who are conducting aging-related research that fits within our theme. These are one-year grants that provide $40,000 per year. Requests for applications are released in September and letters of intent are due in October. Further details can be found here.

    Recent awardees include clinician-scientists from a wide range of medical and surgical specialties as well as faculty with Ph.D.- level training in economics, biophysics, and psychology.

  2. We offer small awards to support investigators with a reviewed external grant application who is a Scholar or Affiliate of the Yale Pepper Center. Applications focusing on basic, translational, epidemiological, clinical trial, bioinformatics and health services research are eligible. Further details can be found here.

Education and Training

Weekly Sessions

We host a monthly Biology of Aging seminar featuring speakers from Yale and guests from outside the University carrying out basic or translational gerontologic research. We also sponsor sessions for early-stage investigators on Wednesdays from 12-1 pm during the academic year. These include research-in-progress workshops as well as didactic seminars that focus on core topics in aging research and research methods. Contact for more information.


Every 18 months, we hold a day-long career development retreat with a distinguished Visiting Professor from outside Yale. The program for the most recent retreat can be viewed here. The next retreat is scheduled for June 7, 2022. Contact for more information.


The Biostatistics Core and Operations Core offer one-on-one consultations to PESC applicants and funded scholars to discuss study aims, study design, budget development, recruitment, data management, and plans for analysis.

Current Pepper Pilot Awardees

Contact Information