Pilot Grants


The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) invites applications for Pilot Grants. The purpose of these grants is to stimulate fundable, multi-disciplinary population research at the University of Minnesota. Consistent with the mission of the Population Dynamics Branch (PDB) Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), we define “population research” as demographic, behavioral, and social sciences research on fertility, families, population movement, morbidity and mortality, HIV/AIDS, and population composition. These small-scale grants (typically under $10,000) are designed to give faculty and research associates the time or other resources that they need to develop and submit population-related research proposals to external funding agencies.

For all awardees the MPC will provide proposal development services beyond those normally provided by academic units, including assistance on determining the proper funding mechanism, crafting compelling arguments, developing clear and manageable research plans, creating biographical sketches and other necessary forms, budget preparation, assembling the final proposal, and guiding the proposal through the University bureaucracy. Investigators can propose a range of activities—such as carrying out pilot projects or feasibility studies, collecting data or testing instruments—to advance a fundable research project. Awards are primarily intended for salary support for research assistants and other expenses necessary for proposal development.


All MPC faculty affiliates and MPC-affiliated research associates are eligible to apply. Faculty or researchers who are not currently affiliated with MPC can request affiliation (and thus become eligible to apply) by contacting mpc@umn.edu. 

Application Instructions

Completed MPC Pilot Grant applications must include the following:

1.  A project proposal not to exceed 1500 words and including the following:

  • Title - Anticipated specific aims of the external grant proposal.
  • Summary of the background and significance of the research to be proposed.
  • Information about prior research on the topic under investigation.
  • Anticipated research plan, including a discussion of likely methods and data.
  • Plans for applying for external funding (include agency and planned submission date). 
  • Information about human subjects concerns (if any).

3.  A detailed budget and justification.

4  A brief curriculum vitae or biosketch (two pages)

Grant Requirements 

Awardees must commit to submitting a multi-disciplinary, population-related grant proposal to an external funding source within 18 months of receipt of award. Awardees will be required to submit a brief report explaining how their awarded funds were used; this report should be accompanied by a copy of the grant proposal(s) that resulted from the MPC Pilot Grant.

Evaluation Criteria 

Applications will be evaluated by the MPC Advisory Board on the basis of their scientific merit. Priority will be given to junior researchers and to senior researchers who are developing new lines of investigation, and to applications that will yield fundable external grant proposals for submission to the National Institutes of Health or other federal agencies or major foundations.