Joint NC NM4R Pilot Funding Review Criteria

NC NM4R and AR3T logos

Review Criteria and Process:

Pilot grant proposals will be evaluated on the basis of (1) scientific merit, (2) the potential impact and significance, and (3) the potential to leverage future funding. Priority will be given to multidisciplinary proposals including more than one Principal Investigator. We will follow modified NIH R03 review criteria including:

1. Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field of neuromodulation and Regenerative Rehabilitation? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved for medical rehabilitation researchers? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions in rehabilitation?

2. Investigator(s): Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If the project is a collaboration between an external investigator and an investigator from an AR3T or NM4R laboratory, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise that are likely to lead to continued collaborative efforts in the field of neuromodulation and/or Regenerative Rehabilitation? Do the investigators have an appropriate plan for communicating and collaboratively completing work during the funding period?

3. Innovation: Does the application challenge and seek to shift current rehabilitation research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing regenerative biology concepts, approaches/methodologies, or instrumentation? Are novel paradigms for synergizing rehabilitation/neuromodulation and regenerative medicine proposed? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

4. Approach: Is the proposed development plan well-designed and likely to meet the stated objectives and lead to the anticipated results? Based on the scientific merit of the proposal and the viability of the plan, is it likely that successful completion of the pilot study will generate preliminary data necessary to position the applicant to submit a strong larger-scale proposal?

5. Environment: Are the institutional support, equipment and other resources adequate for the project proposed? For collaborative projects, will the external investigator benefit from unique protocols, technologies and expertise of the AR3T or NM4R laboratory?

6. AR3T- and NC NM4R-Specific Criteria: Is the project multidisciplinary? Does the proposal align with the Regenerative Rehabilitation theme and propose to utilize neuromodulatory techniques or technologies? The proposal must include both a regenerative medicine component as well as a neuromodulatory component.

Based on these criteria, reviewers will score proposals using the NIH scale from 1-9. Reviewers will provide a concise, one-page written review of the application’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as recommendations for improvement. The Summary Statement will be sent to the center directors, co-directors, pilot program directors, and the Steering Committees for final decision, and also forwarded to the applicant. In order to maximally fund external applications through the Pilot Studies Program, an extensive effort will be made to utilize the MUSC institutional funds for supporting the top applications from MUSC investigators.

Additional Information:

Review the application process for more information.

Access the online pilot application. Apply now!

If you are not able to sign into the MUSC InfoReady portal, please email Cindy Gittinger at for assistance with registration.

For questions and/or assistance with proposal development, contact or Cindy Gittinger at