Virginia Kaufman Pain Research Challenge 2022

What is your solution to ease the burden of pain?


The Virginia Kaufman Pain Research Challenge is a funding program to advance ideas and solutions addressing problems in the area of pain.

Pain is a major public health problem and tackling it involves collaboration and creativity. The Pain Research Challenge is seeking innovative solutions that address either physiological or psychological aspects of pain, including the dynamics of pain, causes and alleviation of pain, and/or treatments to prevent or mitigate pain.

The Pain Research Challenge is sponsored by the Virginia Kaufman Endowment Fund, named after a prominent Pittsburgh advertising executive, and administered by the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Pittsburgh.

Key Dates

Round 1 Application Due:
Monday, February 14

Notification to Advancing Projects:
Thursday, March 10

Round 2 Application Due:
Monday, April 18

Notification of Awards:
May 13, 2022

Public Announcement of Awards:
July 2022


Award funding of $50,000 is available to cover direct costs for a 12-month project, beginning following all regulatory and administrative approvals. Awardees will also receive CTSI project management support for the duration of their award period. 


Scope: Projects must address a specific problem in the area of acute or chronic pain. Solutions can address either physiological or psychological aspects of pain, including the dynamics of pain, causes and alleviation of pain, and/or treatments to prevent or mitigate pain. Projects that address mechanisms, diagnostics, and/or modalities of pain are acceptable. An emphasis will be placed on proposals that have a clear path to impact.

Team: The Principal Investigator (PI) must be a University of Pittsburgh faculty member; postdoctoral trainees and non-faculty level trainees in clinical training programs are not eligible to serve as PI. Study teams are encouraged to include cross-disciplinary collaborations, including co-Investigators from other institutions or partnerships with non-academic community partners.

How to Apply:

Apply using CTSI’s Powered by PInCh® contest management system.

Upon login, create a new project before uploading your team’s application. Project creation should only take a few minutes, with applicants asked to complete the following three fields before submission: Project Name, Short Description, and Project Summary.

The Round 1 application is due within Powered by PInCh® on February 14, 2022 by 11:59 p.m.

Download and complete the one-page application template, which requires a response to each of the following categories:

Problem | Solution | Novelty | Impact | Project Plan | Team

Each category response is limited to 350 characters with spaces (approximately 50 words each).

Download the application template:

Round 2:

The Round 2 application is due within Powered by PInCh® on April 18, 2022 by 11:59 p.m.

Projects selected to advance to Round 2 must submit a narrated slideshow presentation along with a Budget and Budget Justification.

Narrated slide presentation (My Pitt Video / Panopto)
Recorded voice recording over a slideshow, via either PowerPoint or video recording (e.g., Zoom). Presentations should not exceed 20 slides and should not be more than seven minutes. All presentation videos must be uploaded to My Pitt Video (Panopto), and linked within Powered by PInCh®.

Presentations must include:

Problem | Solution | Team | Significance & Innovation
Role of Award | Project Aims | Path to Impact

How to make a narrated PowerPoint:

Budget & Budget Justification

Use the Budget & Budget Justification Template form ($50,000 award, 12-month award period).

Budget will support direct costs only. Salary support reflects non-Federal fringe benefit rates. PI must have a minimum of 0.5% effort on the project (direct or cost shared). Funds may not be used for indirect costs, manuscript preparation or publication fees, or travel (except as required to collect data).

Please refer to the template for all additional instructions and requirements. Please direct any questions about allowable expenses to

Download Budget &
Budget Justification Form:

Review Criteria

  • Problem: Is the problem clearly defined? Is there evidence the problem is significant?
  • Solution: Is the solution clearly defined?
  • Novelty: How unique is the proposed solution from existing solutions?
  • Impact: Does the solution benefit individual health, society, and/or biomedical knowledge?
  • Feasibility of Approach: Does the project plan scope fit a 12-month, $50,000 award?
  • Team: Does the team reflect a diversity of expertise?

Note: Before you share your ideas with outside parties or present your work publicly (conferences, publications, or media), we encourage you to submit an Invention Disclosure to the Innovation Institute. Please email us at if you would like to initiate intellectual property discussions or draft an Invention Disclosure.

Learn about previous 
Virginia Kaufman Pain Research Challenge awardees.

Important Dates:

Round 1 Open Application Period:  Monday, January 6
Round 1 Application Due Date: Monday, February 17 at 5 p.m.
Announcement of Advancing Projects: Monday, March 16
Round 2 Application Due Date: Monday, April 20 at 5 p.m.
Announcement of Awards: Tuesday, May 19

Learn about previous 
Pain Research Challenge awardees.

For questions, please email