The Pain Research Challenge

What is your solution to ease the burden of pain?

The application period will open on January 7, 2019.

Applications are due Monday, February 18, 2019 at 5 p.m.


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 concept poster. Advancing teams are invited to submit a budget and seven-minute slideshow presentation.


Up to $150,000 in awards are funded by the Virginia Kaufman Endowment Fund and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Three projects will be selected to each receive a $50,000 award. Winners of the Pain Research Challenge will be announced at a Poster Reception the evening of May 15, 2019 at the University Club.


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 January 7, 2019. Submit your application here through Powered by PInCh®. Please note: Prior to submitting the Round 1 application, Powered by PInCh requires teams to create a new project and add a brief description.

Round 1: Applications due Monday, February 18 at 5 p.m.

  1. Create a concept poster that consists of the following:
    1. Project title
    2. Problem statement (include the significance)
    3. Solution description (include aims and who will be impacted)
    4. Approach and team
    5. Illustration describing the project (e.g., figures, graphs, and/or drawings)
    6. Dimensions 36 inches x 36 inches

Posters will be circulated to a panel of judges and may be circulated publicly. Posters should not include proprietary information. 

Round 2: Invited applications due Monday, April 15 at 5 p.m.

  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:
    1. Project title
    2. Problem statement/significance
    3. Solution description/aims
    4. Approach
    5. Impact
    6. Innovation
    7. Include the current stage of development of the solution (i.e., any preliminary data).
    8. Include other funding sources you have access to that will aid in the development of the solution.
    9. Team introduction (include name, affiliation, discipline/department for each team member)

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

At least one member of the project must be present during the May 15 event to present the poster and receive the award.

Important 2019 Dates

Round 1 Open Application Period Monday, January 7
Round 1 Application Due Date Monday, February 18 at 5 p.m.
Announcement of Advancing Projects Monday, March 11
Round 2 Application Due Date  Monday, April 15 at 5 p.m.  
Announcement of Awards  Wednesday, May 15 

For questions, please email