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Pilot Project Program Funding

Letters of Intent

Women’s Health Research at Yale’s (WHRY) Pilot Project Program funds studies providing new approaches to understanding

  • the health of women, and/or
  • the influence of sex/gender differences on health

Studies that advance our understanding of sex or gender in addressing the coronavirus pandemic will also be reviewed for funding.

We are no longer accepting letters of intent for the current annual funding cycle.

However, WHRY also accepts inquiries year-round for projects that address emerging and/or urgent threats to the health of women and/or have sex-or-gender differences that could inform our knowledge of a disease. Such conditions as identified by the National Institutes of Health include maternal mortality and COVID-19.

Please address your inquiries to

Proposals sought: Those that advance our understanding of the health of women and/or sex/gender differences that influence health

  • Clinical research and community interventions that describe a clear path toward clinical or public health benefit.
  • Translational basic science, such as developing models to understand mechanisms of disease, that leads to actionable implications for clinical care.
  • Evidence that women’s health — or the influence of sex/gender — is the point of the investigation.

Funding opportunities:

  • General Annual Pilot Project Award ($35,000 max) for research designed to meet a clear need in advancing the health of women.
  • Wendy U. & Thomas C. Naratil Pioneer Award ($50,000 max) for either new and highly inventive research designed to achieve a breakthrough or ongoing research where funding is needed to achieve its aims of discovery.

Highest priority projects:

  • Provide a clear statement of how the proposed study will advance the health of women by leading to clinical, community, or public policy benefit.
  • Specifically target diseases and conditions with a disproportionately high prevalence in women or those for which female mortality and morbidity are high.
  • Are hypothesis-driven, have clear specific aims, and demonstrate methodological rigor showing a thoughtfully considered study design.
  • Demonstrate the link between advancing the health of women and greater societal benefits.
  • Leverage the diversity among women to study various groups (e.g., by age, ethnicity) to advance the health of all women.
  • Initiate programmatic research on the health of women (junior faculty) or seek to expand research to include the health of women (senior faculty).
  • Bring together different research communities and/or interdisciplinary approaches in which investigators with complementary skill sets provide new perspectives on the health of women.
  • Study the health of women in communities within the United States.

Examples of projects sought:


Model system approaches that:

  • focus on uncovering the mechanism of action of a disorder or intervention, AND
  • can be transferred to the human condition, AND
  • articulate a clear path toward clinical implementation or benefit to the public health.

For example, use of a humanized mouse model and female animals to test mechanism/treatment explorations that have application to human disease with high prevalence, morbidity, and/or mortality among women.


Studies that focus on:

  • uncovering etiology, AND/OR
  • clarifying presentation and diagnosis, AND/OR
  • developing treatments or prevention strategies that improve lives.

These studies are encouraged to consider the examination of sex/gender differences to develop gender-focused approaches to disorders and conditions experienced by women.

Proposals that will NOT be considered for funding:

  • Laboratory models with little evidence of connection to human disease and health, such as the study of an isolated protein without a clearly described path to how the model will improve the health of women.
  • “One-off” studies that are not part of the investigator’s research interests and do not demonstrate a programmatic interest in the health of women.
  • A study that focuses on some aspect of biology that affects women (e.g., gonadal hormones) but has little chance of improving women’s health.
  • A study primarily about the development of a technology or technique, rather than about the condition of interest itself.
  • Modeling of big data without a clear connection to clinical or public health benefit.

Letter of Intent Requirements (Due - October 21, 2021):

Our application process begins with a request for Letters of Intent. A full application will be requested from investigators whose projects are consistent with Women’s Health Research at Yale’s funding interests as outlined above.


All Yale Ladder Faculty are eligible to apply. Investigators outside the Yale community are invited to collaborate with Yale or Yale-affiliated principal investigators.

  • Be typewritten, double spaced, 11-point Arial font, with one-inch margins.
  • Indicate if application is for:
  • General Annual Pilot Project Award ($35,000 maximum)
  • Wendy U. & Thomas C. Naratil Pioneer Award ($50,000 maximum)
  • Provide a descriptive title (not to exceed 60 characters with spaces) for the proposed project, the name and title of the principal investigator, and other key personnel at the top of the letter.
  • Provide a summary of the project, specific aims, the time frame needed to achieve the aims, a proposed budget amount (total), and a statement indicating how findings would have practical value for the health of women in a maximum of 500 words.
  • Include the applicant’s electronic signature, address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address.
  • Include an updated NIH Biosketch OMB No. 0925-0002 (Rev. 12/2020 Approved Through 02/28/2023) with a Personal Statement of the PI’s experience and interest as it relates to the proposed project.


  • Address your letter to: Grant and Finance Administrator, Women’s Health Research at Yale
  • Convert your signed Letter of Intent into a PDF file and save it as “lastname_LOI_2021”
  • Send your letter as an email attachment to

Important Dates:

Thursday, October 21, 2021 — Letters of Intent due by 12 PM
Thursday, November 11, 2021 — Invitations for full application
Friday, January 07, 2022 — Full applications due
June 2022 — Awards announced
July 2022 — Funded projects begin