Collaboration in Health Sciences and Engineering Startup (CHEERS) Grant


The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE) at the University of Pittsburgh are soliciting applications for the “Collaboration in Health Sciences and Engineering Startup” (CHEERS) Grant. The goal of this program is to enhance collaboration between faculty members in SSoE and those in the six Schools of the Health Sciences (SHS) – i.e., the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Pharmacy, Dental Medicine, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Nursing. The financial support will be utilized to establish or expand trans-disciplinary collaborations that will ultimately lead to the submission of collaborative external grant applications in the areas of human health and medicine.

Request for Proposal

Click below for more instructions including eligibility, proposal examples, etc.

Note: SSoE and the School of Public Health (SPH) are also sponsoring the SPH/SSOE Trans-Disciplinary Collaboration Pilot Awards to support research topics in Climate Change and Health, Global Health, and Environmental Justice. Teams of faculty from SSoE and GPH that are proposing research in these specific topics should apply to the SPH/SSoE Trans-Disciplinary Collaboration Pilot Awards program; they will not be eligible for this particular RFA Research collaborations between SSoE and SPH faculty with topics outside of those targeted areas may apply to the CHEERS program.

CHEERS proposals should be a true convergence of engineering and health science aiming to solve grand challenges that can be sustained to have the maximum impact. Successful CHEERS grants will result in a measurable step toward, or actual submission of, an external research proposal to external granting agencies.

Examples of topics that are responsive include, but are not limited to, SSoE-SHS partnerships to:

  • Build and test a new monitoring device for a health condition
  • Adapt a material or surface used in other settings to a medical application
  • Develop an innovative drug delivery system
  • Design and test a novel biomedical sensor
  • Use biomechanical modeling to guide interventions
  • Model disease spread or vaccination rates
  • Use AI or Machine Learning algorithms in health (prognosis, diagnosis, clinical decision-making)
  • Engineer solutions for health disparities
  • Use of novel testing platforms or testbeds to address health sciences questions

Key Dates

Round 1 LOI Submission Deadline:
Friday, April 14, 2023

Round 1 Notification:
Friday, April 28, 2023

Round 2 Full Proposal Submission Deadline:
 Friday, May 19, 2023

Awardee Notification:
Monday, June 5, 2023

Earliest Anticipated Start Date:
July 1, 2023

Funding & Awards Information

  • Applicants can request up to $40,000 in direct costs, with a maximum funding period of one year. 
  • Funding cannot start until all necessary regulatory approvals have been received (IRB, hSCRO, IBC, CORID, IACUC).
  • Projects must start within 3 months of Notification of the Award. Projects that do not start within 3 months will be forfeited. The earliest 12-month funding cycle will run from July 1, 2023no extensions of this award period beyond 12 months will be made.
  • CHEERS pilots do not have any mechanism for no-cost extensions; any funds that are not used during the award period will be forfeited.
  • Completely new collaborations are eligible for $2,500 in bonus funding.
  • These projects are eligible for $5,000 Community Engagement or Training Bonus Awards. See the Bonus Funding page for information.

Any salary support requested in a submitted budget should reflect the University of Pittsburgh’s fringe benefit rates for non-federally funded projects (

Who Can Apply?

Faculty members at any level from SSoE and the Health Sciences are eligible to participate. Each proposal must include at least one faculty member from SSoE and one faculty member from Health Sciences with clearly defined active roles in the research:

  • Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI): one Co-PI must be a faculty member in SSoE (primary appointment)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: the other Co-PI must be a faculty member in any school of the Health Sciences (primary appointment)
  • Other Co-Investigators (Co-Is) may be included but are not required. Partnerships with non-academic community partners are acceptable as long as the two PI requirements from Pitt are met.
  • Any individual cannot serve as Co-PI on more than two proposals.

Postdoctoral trainees and trainees in clinical training programs are not eligible to serve as PI but are encouraged to be members of the study team.

New PIs and early career investigators are strongly encouraged. Faculty members on early-career training awards or clinical research scholars (i.e. recipients of K-series or similar career development grants) are eligible.

Projects must be new efforts that have not been previously funded.