The Pain Research Challenge

What is your solution to ease the burden of pain?

The Pain Research Challenge 2019 has concluded and will return in early 2020.


The Pain Research Challenge is a funding opportunity for ideas and solutions associated with both physiological and psychological pain. Research solutions can address the dynamics of pain, causes and alleviation of pain, and treatment to prevent and/or mitigate pain. Solutions should address a specific problem in the area(s) of pain including mechanism, treatments, modalities, and impacts of acute and chronic pain.

To participate, teams are asked to submit a poster. Advancing teams are invited to submit a budget and seven-minute slideshow presentation.

2019 Award Winners!


Up to $150,000 in awards are funded by the Virginia Kaufman Endowment Fund and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).


At least one member of the team must be a University of Pittsburgh faculty member. While individuals are welcome to apply, University partnerships or cross-disciplinary teams are encouraged. Teams with connections among other universities and community organizations are also encouraged.

Application Process:

The Round 1 application period opens on TBA. Applications must be submitted through Powered by PInCh®. Please note: Powered by PInCh requires teams to create a new project and add a brief description prior to submitting the Round 1 application.

Round 1:

Application Due Date: TBA

  1. Create a research poster to outline the concept. Posters must consist of the following:
    • Project title
    • Problem statement (include the significance)
    • Solution description (include aims and who will be impacted)
    • Approach and team
    • Graphic(s) describing or supporting the project (e.g. figures, graphs, and/or drawings).

Additional Requirements:

  • Dimensions: 36 inches x 36 inches
  • No more than 300 words
  • Must include the Pain Research Challenge and Pitt CTSI logos in the lower corners

Download a poster template.

For more resources on how to create a poster, visit the University Library System

Posters will be circulated to a panel of judges and may be circulated publicly. Posters should not include proprietary information. Posters and projects selected to advance to Round 2 will be participants in a Poster Session at the Awards Reception.

Round 2: Invited Applications

Application Due Date: TBA

  1. Submit a budget on form PHS 398 and a single-page budget justification
  2. Create a seven-minute narrated slide presentation including the following:
    • Project title
    • Problem statement/significance
    • Solution description/aims
    • Approach
    • Impact
    • Innovation
    • Include the current stage of development of the solution (i.e., any preliminary data).
    • Include other funding sources you have access to that will aid in the development of the solution.
    • Team introduction (include name, affiliation, discipline/department for each team member)

Download a PHS 398 form.

Please note:

  • A file of the slides (i.e., PowerPoint) with a voice recording is required
  • Presentations should not exceed 20 slides
  • Presentations should not be more than seven minutes long

Awards Reception and Poster Session:

The Pain Research Challenge award winners will be announced at a reception. Prior to the announcement of the awards, finalists will participate in the poster session with their Round 1 poster application. CTSI will supply the posters on a 36” x 36” foam core. Teams will have the opportunity to revise their Round 1 posters prior to the poster session. 

At least one member of the project must be present during the event to present the poster and receive the award.

Important Dates:

Round 1 Open Application Period:  TBA
Round 1 Application Due Date: TBA
Announcement of Advancing Projects: TBA
Round 2 Application Due Date: TBA
Announcement of Awards: TBA

Learn about past Pain Research Challenge winners.

For questions, please email