Roybal Pilot Program

CHIBE invites proposals from affiliated faculty for pilot projects that translate ideas from behavioral economics into practice in ‘real world’ settings, specifically testing interventions that reach middle-aged and elderly Americans at high risk for premature morbidity and mortality.

While we will accept and consider all applications, applications focusing on reducing the risks from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) by improving blood pressure control or cholesterol are particularly encouraged and will receive special consideration.

The pilot program aims to: 1) give research opportunities to junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students in behavioral economics; 2) encourage interaction between affiliated researchers; 3) build collaborations with new partner organizations that have access to populations and potential willingness to translate results from the research studies into practice.

As part of our Roybal Center renewal application for funding from the National Institute on Aging, based on the stipulations of the RFA, all pilots must use the NIH Stage Model of behavioral intervention development. All pilot applicants must describe the relevant Stage for the proposed work. Roybal pilot studies are encouraged to: 1) leverage a Stage 0 basic research finding to develop a principle-driven, implementable intervention; 2) examine the principles, or mechanism of action underlying a behavioral intervention (Stage I, II, or III study); 3) create and/or modify, and pilot test real-world-friendly training procedures (Stage I); or 4) create and/or modify and pilot test methods to maximize real-world fidelity (Stage I). The definition of each stage can be found using the link above and Stage 0 or Stage I studies are required for this call for proposals (in future years we will entertain applications from later Stage as well).

The Penn Roybal Center will distribute up to $250,000 in pilot funding.  Each pilot project will be funded for a 1-year duration starting June 1, 2020, and awards will range between $25,000 and $100,000. Please note that the start date can be pushed back if approval by NIA is delayed. Priority will be given to applications that are particularly innovative, meet some of the aims listed above, and are seen as likely to be good candidates to advance through the NIH stage of behavior intervention development and successfully compete for external peer reviewed funding.


A CHIBE-affiliated faculty member must be the principal investigator in order for a proposal to be considered. If the faculty member is not already affiliated with CHIBE, s/he must affiliate to be considered eligible to apply for pilot funding (this requires submission of a current CV, short description of your research for our CHIBE website, and a willingness to attend at least one annual Penn Roybal Center Retreat every two years).

Other Requirements

A one-page annual progress report must be submitted in March 2021 that includes a description of the project’s specific aims, significance, summary of the research conducted and results found to date, total enrollment, and future plans. A member of the research team must present study findings at one of the annual Penn Roybal Center Retreats. To receive funding you will need to have obtained IRB approval, if applicable, and posted the project on, if applicable, prior to enrolling participants. The proposed project and budget will need to be approved by the National Institute on Aging.  These pilots will be part of the UPENN Roybal Center Competing Renewal. To this end, additional documentation may be required if selected. You must list the Penn Roybal Center in any publications resulting from this work.  Any publications that are the result of this funding must mention: “The project described was supported in part by Grant Number P30AG034546 from the National Institute of Aging.”

How to Apply

Please submit an electronic (.pdf) application using the application site ( by March 4, 2020, at 5 pm EDT. See below for application content and documents. Applications must be submitted using the application system. The application documents are embedded within this notice.

The application must include the following:

  • Abstract Page:  The abstract text should be no longer than 250 words.
  • Budget:  Please use the PHS 398 template budget page and provide detailed expenses. Salary support for faculty is discouraged. The template is embedded in this RFA PDF (or click here to find the budget form and P30 application).
  • Budget Justification: Please provide a short justification for all personnel, supplies, and equipment that will be expensed to this project.
  • NIH Biosketch: An NIH format biosketch must be submitted for the PI and the Co-PIs only.
  • Research Strategy: Please use this template for your research strategy. The research proposal should be no longer than three single-spaced pages with one-inch margins and should include the essential background information relative to the project. Please use Arial size 11 font. References should be attached to your research proposal and will not count toward your three-page limit. Please provide a timeline of implementation to ensure meeting the end date of May 31, 2021. The template is embedded in this RFA PDF (click on the attachment button in the PDF or click here to find the budget form and P30 application).

The deadline for submitting applications is March 4, 2020. Selected pilots will be announced by mid-March 2020. Funding will begin June 1, 2020.  For additional information, please contact Samantha Fellman by email at or by phone at 215-746-4011.