Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC) The Pepper Center at UTMB
The goal of the Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core is to stimulate new research addressing the issues of functional loss and gain and promoting functional recovery from serious illness in the elderly. We target early stage investigators, and we also fund investigators well established in other areas who can turn their expertise to studies consistent with the OAIC theme. The PESC funds one-or two-year pilot grants with budgets of up to $50,000 per year, and also small exploratory projects with seed money budgets of up to $10,000. Read more about our current pilot projects below.
We employ our assets and partner with other institutional resources to accomplish the following specific aims:
- Solicit and select the most meritorious research proposals for PESC funding.
- Identify opportunities for co-sponsorship of PESC studies.
- Provide PESC investigators with access to resources from other OAIC cores and institutional research facilities/centers.
- Monitor the progress of PESC studies.
- Provide guidance in the development of all human subjects protection documentation to meet local IRB requirements for the management of risk and benefit of human subjects research.
- Provide assistance and mentorship to develop PESC studies into independently funded grant applications.
The PESC is an inherently innovative core because it is designed to spearhead new research. However, innovation of our PESC also originates from our novel approach to its activities, which are guided by the following principles:
- The PESC is proactive in stimulating and generating ideas for proposals.
- The PESC partners with other centers, institutes, departments and related sources to increase the pool of funds available for pilot research in the OAIC’s theme area.
- Pilot project recipients are associated with Multidisciplinary Translational Teams (MTT).
- Priority is given to projects that build new collaborations, apply innovative methodologies or emerging new technologies to the study of sarcopenia, physical function and recovery from illness.
- The PESC actively encourages and recruits faculty from underrepresented minority groups to participate in OAIC research.
We consider the PESC process as broader than simply awarding funds for OAIC pilot research. The goal is to support aging research at the institutional level. The most important outcome is new external funding resulting from work supported by the PESC.