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Pilot Project Program Funding

2021 Pilot Project Program

WHRY’s Pilot Project Program seeks to fund studies that provide new approaches to understanding the health of women.


Funding opportunities:

  • General Annual Pilot Project Award ($35,000 max) for research designed to meet a clear need in advancing women’s health.
  • Area-specific Pilot Project Award  ($50,000 max) for women’s health research in the areas of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain-based conditions such as autism spectrum disorder; cancers, especially endometrial cancer; or autoimmune disorders, particularly thyroid disease.
  • Wendy U. & Thomas C. Naratil Pioneer Award ($50,000 max) for either new, highly inventive research in women’s health or work to achieve a major breakthrough in ongoing research where funding is needed to achieve its aims.

What we seek:

  • Studies that focus on women’s health or sex/gender differences if these differences directly affect the health of women. 
  • Clinical research and community interventions that describe a clear path toward clinical or public health benefit for women. 
  • 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.

We will give highest priority to those projects that: 

  • Provide a clear statement of how the proposed study will advance the health of women by leading to clinical, community, or public policy benefit.
  • 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.
  • Are hypothesis-driven, have clear specific aims, and demonstrate methodological rigor showing a thoughtfully considered study design.
  • Specifically target diseases and conditions with a disproportionately high prevalence in women or those for which female mortality and morbidity are high.
  • 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.
  • Study the health of women in communities within the United States. 

Examples of projects we seek: 


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 women’s 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.

What we will NOT consider funding for:

  • 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 programmatic research and do not demonstrate a committed interest to women’s health.
  • 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:

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 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)
  • Area-specific Pilot Project Award ($50,000 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 timeframe 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 signature, address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address.
  • Include a new revised NIH Biosketch OMB No. 0925 (Rev. 09/17 Approved Through 03/31/2020) 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, 135 College Street, Ste 220, New Haven, CT 06510.   
  • Convert your signed Letter of Intent into a PDF file and save it as “lastname_LOI_FY2021” 
  • Send your letter as an email attachment to 

Important Dates:

Mid-October 2020 — Letters of Intent due
Mid-November 2020 — Invitations for full application 
January 2021 — Full applications due 
June 2021 — Awards announced 
July 2021 — Funded projects begin