Funding Opportunities

Pilot and Feasibility Awards

*Applications for 2020 Pilot & Feasibility Awards will open February 3.* 


PLEASE NOTE: The deadline for the 2020 Pilot & Feasibility application cycle has been extended to Friday, April 3, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact us at if you have any issues meeting this extended deadline. 


The purpose of the University of Washington (UW) Clinical Learning, Evidence And Research (CLEAR) Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders’ Pilot and Feasibility Program is to foster early-stage investigators interested in musculoskeletal research. Investigators can receive up to $20,000 (direct costs) over one year for faculty/staff effort and/or the purchase of services and supplies. This funding opportunity is limited to investigators at the UW. Learn more about previously funded Pilot & Feasibility Awards.

Eligible Investigators

  • UW investigators (faculty, trainees, staff) focused on musculoskeletal research
  • Applications limited to one per investigator


Eligible Expenses

  • Limited to $20,000 in direct costs over one year.
  • CLEAR Center Core services, personnel effort, benefits, and consultant time as well as materials, services and/or supplies. Budget must include anticipated costs.
  • Applicants are encouraged to pursue matching funds with their home department.


Use of CLEAR Center Datasets

We are interested in funding projects that make use of data housed at the UW CLEAR Center and will give preference to applications that propose to use one or more of these datasets. The UW CLEAR Center currently houses the following datasets:

  • Back pain Outcomes using Longitudinal Data (BOLD)
  • Lumbar Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) for Spinal Stenosis (LESS)
  • Lumbar Image Reporting with Epidemiology (LIRE)
  • IBM MarketScan

More information on these datasets, including data dictionaries, can be found on the CLEAR Center Resource Core page.


Application Process

Applications will only be accepted through the CLEAR Center Application Portal. Applicants will receive email confirmation upon receipt of their application. (Please note: you are not able to save and return to your application. Please complete only when you are ready to submit your application.)

Application components are outlined below. Templates should be used and are available for individual download below or as an application package

  • Cover page, including project title and abstract (250 word maximum)
  • 2- page research plan (template)
  • Budget (template)
  • Budget  Justification (template)
  • NIH formatted Biosketch for investigators (senior/key personnel)
  • If institutional commitment is offered, a letter of support from the department chair is required.


Review Process

All proposals will undergo peer review through the CLEAR Center Internal Steering Committee members, and potentially select members of the National Advisory Board and external content experts. Applications will be scored based on the domains of Significance and Innovation, Approach, Environment, Investigators, and Strategic Relevance to the CLEAR Center’s Mission. Reviewers will specifically be looking for proposals that:

  • Increase applicants’ competitiveness for subsequent extramural funding.
  • Lay the groundwork for a future clinical trial.
  • Are likely to lead to a peer-reviewed publication.
  • Utilize the CLEAR Center’s core resources and services.



In 2017, NIH/ National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases(NIAMS) awarded to the UW a P30 grant (1P30AR072572) to establish the UW CLEAR Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders. The CLEAR Center’s mission is to improve the health of patients with musculoskeletal conditions by providing scientifically rigorous methods and resources for clinical research towards a learning healthcare system. The CLEAR Center’s Pilot & Feasibility Program exists to develop the next generation of musculoskeletal researchers.

Key Dates & Details

Applications open: February 3, 2020

Application deadline: EXTENDED TO April 3, 2020

Awards announced: May 1, 2020

Project dates: Aug 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Application documents will be available February 3, 2020.

Questions about the application criteria or process? Contact us.