Release Date: Feb. 1, 2023
Application Deadline EXTENDED: June 9, 2023 (see "Apply Here" button below)
Project Duration: 12 months

 Pilot funding will be made available to support meritorious projects that focus on identifying, reducing and/or eliminating health disparities. All applications must address how the pilot project will (1) directly contribute to achieving health equity for a vulnerable population and (2) obtain critical data to support an extramural grant submission that will promote health equity. It is expected that up to 3 proposals will be funded in this round depending on number and type of applications received. This year we will fund two of these pilot studies in conjunction with the Food as Health Alliance in partnership with the Markey Cancer Center, and OVPR’s Diabetes and Obesity Research Priority Area.


 CHET Health Equity Pilot awards are open to health equity studies affecting any vulnerable group or population affected by health disparities. Applications that align with UK’s health disparities research priority areas are encouraged (i.e., substance use, cancer, diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular/neurological, and UNITE). However, other health equity research topics are also eligible to apply. The Health Equity Pilot will fund one pilot award of $25,000 with a 12-month duration.


The Food as Health Alliance funding specifically focuses on the connection between food and health outcomes of type 2 diabetes/obesity, hypertension, and cancer. The purpose of this announcement is to encourage partnerships across the University to improve research innovation aimed at improving food security, nutrition security, and subsequent health outcomes among underserved and underrepresented populations. The Food as Health Alliance Pilot will fund two pilot awards of $25,000 with a 12-month duration with extensions possible to 18 months.

Food insecurity is related to suboptimal and/or poor diet quality, which increases chronic disease risk among the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Nutrition security and equitable access to healthy and affordable food in the US are public health concerns. These proposals will allow for collaborative study teams to address nutrition equity and subsequent health outcomes in a variety of ways to allow for pilot funding to be leveraged into future, larger federally funded projects. The following is taken from National Institute of Health Notice of Special Interest ) as a guide for possible research projects:

  • Research to test innovative or existing interventions, programs, policies designed to positively affect the availability, access, and affordability of nutritious foods and healthy diets for populations who experience health disparities and vulnerable groups (e.g., minority populations, rural communities, older adults, children/youth and those with special needs, or disabled individuals) in multiple settings.
  • Mechanistic studies exploring the biological and behavioral mechanisms and pathways underpinning the influence of food insecurity on cancer, diabetes, and cardiometabolic disease, including key risk factors (e.g., obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and inflammatory markers).
  • Research to understand the influence of food insecurity on disease prevention, management and progression, including for cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Interdisciplinary research teams (e.g., including behavioral scientists, nutrition researchers, academic physicians, economists, agriculture partners, etc.) are encouraged.


Applications are due June 9, 2023. Review panel may request additional information at Applications must be single-spaced, at least 11-point font, and adhere to standard grant 1/2-inch margins. Proposal submission through OSPA is not required. Applications must include the following information uploaded as one PDF file through the online application.

Please name the file as [PI Last Name_ Health Equity Pilot] OR [PI Last name_FAHAPilot].pdf depending on which mechanism you are interested in.

  • CHET Pilot Grant Cover Page (to be filled out online) – please indicate which pilot you would like to apply for.
  • NIH or NSF-style biosketch for applicant (5 page limit) (see… for guidance on creating a biosketch)
  • Budget and budget justification (1 page)
    • Include specific justifications for each budget item or category.
    • Only travel costs necessary for the carrying out the aims of the research are allowable (e.g., conference travel is not an allowable expense).
    • Purchase of equipment is allowable with strong justification.
    • Publication costs are not allowed.
    • Additional allowable expenses include: graduate student stipends and tuition, equipment, travel costs associated with the research, up to 1 month of summer salary for those faculty on 9-10 month contracts, participant payments and other standard research expenditure.
    • Non-allowable expenses include: conference travel, salary for 11 or 12-month faculty
  • Abstract (300 words or less)
  • Specific aims (1 page)
  • Research plan (2 pages)
    • The research plan should include a clear description of the research project. The research plan should provide an overview of what is being determined, why this research is important, health equity implications, outline the methodological approach, and articulate research deliverables. It is suggested that the research plan include the following:
      • Significance, innovation, and approach including the health equity implications of the pilot study
      • Anticipated scholarly products, future research, & career development as a health equity researcher (e.g., presentations, publications, future grant applications, award applications, etc.)
  • Timeline (1/2 page)
    • Please include a 12-month timeline with milestones for accomplishments described in the research plan including study products.
  • References (no page limit)
  • Letter(s) of support (Optional, 2-3 max) (e.g., community partners, consultants, data or facilities access needed to complete study)

Reporting Requirements: All publications, presentations, and other creative activities resulting from this award must include the following acknowledgement: If your project is funded by the Health Equity Pilot please note: “Funding was provided, in part, by the Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET) at the University of Kentucky.” If your project is funded by the Food as Health Alliance Pilot please note: “Funding was provided, in part, by the Food as Health Alliance through College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, Markey Cancer Center, and the OVPR’s Diabetes and Obesity Research Priority Area.”

One (1) page final report due no later than April 1, 2024 detailing study enrollment, results, dissemination, and plans for future funding. In addition, recipients are expected to be responsive to ongoing contact from CHET and Food as Health Alliance to assess progress and outcomes from the award.

Application deadlines and key dates:
June 9, 2023: Applications due
July 2023: Selected Applicants notified
Project period: 12 months from project start date (project start date dependent on IRB approval and disbursement of funds, but must be no later than one month of award notification. The Food as Health Alliance Pilot may be extended to a maximum of 18 months with prior approval by the Food for Health Alliance (]. Projects must have the appropriate IRB and any other required regulatory approvals in place before funding will begin.

Please address specific application questions regarding the CHET Health Equity Pilot to Shyanika Rose, PhD, MA ( or the Food as Health Alliance Pilot to Alison Gustafson (

Review Criteria
Proposals will be reviewed by the CHET Research Committee and external reviewers. Scoring of proposals will be based on the standard NIH 9-point scoring system ( Each proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Significance: (i.e., Does the project address an important problem or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the study have potential to generate knowledge relevant to health equity?)
  • Innovation: (i.e., Does the proposal utilize novel theoretical concepts, approaches, methodologies, instrumentation or apply existing concepts to new populations or problems?)
  • Approach: (i.e., Are the intended research activities well-described and likely to be feasible? Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are study limitations acknowledged and addressed?)
  • Investigator(s): (i.e., Does the PI have the potential to be an investigator in the area of health equity research? Does the PI/faculty advisor have the required expertise and experience to conduct the proposed research study?)
  • Evidence of future research and funding potential: (i.e., Does the proposed research show clear evidence of future potential in health equity research)?

The review committee will also assess whether the proposed budget and timeline are appropriate for the scope and nature of the project and whether there are any human subject considerations that may affect study implementation.

Apply here by June 9, 2023

Pilot Grant Archive


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2020 Pilot Awardees

Pilot projects addressing health disparities in vulnerable populations.


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2021 Pilot Awardees

Funding aimed at identifying, reducing and eliminating health disparities.


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2022 Pilot Awardees

Pilot funding to two research projects that address health disparities.