Clinical Research Feasibility Funds (CReFF) Program

The CReFF Program offers start-up funds for junior investigators utilizing Schubert Research Clinic (SRC) resources. This program is designed to support clinical research pilot studies. Applicants must be CCTST members. To join free of charge, go to the CCTST website.

The SRC Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has established criteria for eligibility for support.

Potential recipients are eligible if:

  • They are junior faculty (based at UC, Cincinnati Children's or Cincinnati VAMC) with a rank of instructor or assistant professor.
  • They are fellows but it is anticipated they will have a faculty appointment during the course of the CReFF Award
  • Have an active SRC SAC-approved protocol OR submit one for review with their application

Potential recipients May Not be eligible if:

  • They have training grant funding (K12, K23, KL2, etc.). They must contact the Program Director, Mark Mitsnefes before applying.

Potential recipients are Not eligible if:

  • They have independent funding (R01, P01)
  • They are recipients of CHRF Trustee grants, T1, T1 Jr., Methods/Ethics, or Procter Scholar program funding

Prior to applying

Applicants are strongly advised to contact Dr. Mitsnefes prior to submitting their application and to submit their protocol to the SAC at least one month in advance of the CReFF review meeting to facilitate resolving scientific or other issues.

Please refer to the Protocol Submission guidelines or contact Christy Keller for assistance.

The approval process for the protocol must be completed before a protocol is considered for a CReFF award.  

Download the CReFF submission guidelines.

The CReFF application should include:

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A cover letter from the investigator for any projects seeking support. The letter should include a description of the applicant's career plan. Specifically, the letter should include a description of how support from the CReFF Program will allow the candidate to seek external support based upon the pilot data collected from it. The letter should also indicate which funding agencies are appropriate for funding the project after the pilot study is completed and a timetable for potential submission of grants for extramural support.
A detailed description of the first year’s budget with support up to $20,000. Monies can be expended on costs not usually covered by resources available through the SRC such as coordinator salary, laboratory costs, patient incentives, etc. Investigators’ salaries are not an allowable budget item. This detailed budget must be accompanied by a second budget with detail about the entire cost of the project. If the project cannot be carried out for $20,000, an explanation of the source of the additional funds must be included. The person who has authorization over the source of additional funds must write a letter indicating that the monies will be forthcoming if the candidate is successful in getting a CReFF award. The CReFF funds must be spent within one calendar year of receiving the award. The date of the award will be in the CReFF award letter. There will be no exceptions or extensions. 
A copy of the applicant's curriculum vitae in the NIH 4-page format which should include any current or pending intramural (including Procter Scholar or Trustee Grant applications) or extramural support.
Letters of recommendation by the applicant's research mentor and Division or Department Head. Specifically detailed in the letter should be a description of how the applicant will be supported by the mentor and Division or Department Head including a description of the applicant’s protected time (% effort) available for completion of the project. Support is defined as protection of time, funding or allocation of resources to facilitate the project. An annual report regarding progress (limited to no more than 3 pages) will be required as well as a report at the time of termination of the project. These reports should include a description of the hypothesis, aims, brief description of methods and results with interpretation and how they will be used to submit or obtain extramural funding. Renewal is possible for an additional year of funding with demonstration of significant progress on the project, need for additional support and likelihood of results leading to extramural support.

Additional Opportunities

For additional funding opportunities, please search the database provided by the CCTST. Search for Funding

Deadline for Submission

CReFF applications are accepted twice a year,

Deadlines are: March 1 and November 1 (or if over a weekend, the Monday immediately after) at 12:00 noon.

Send completed applications (one hard copy and one electronic copy) to

Christina Keller
SRC Coordinator
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Location S, Room 2.500AU
MLC 11028,
Cincinnati OH 45229

Review Criteria:

  1. Candidate: Is the candidate committing a substantial portion of his/her academic time to clinical research?
  2. Letters of recommendation from the research mentor and Division or Department Director: Is the applicant committed to a career in clinical research; is the Division/Department committed to the applicant's career development in clinical research; and what, if any, resources will the Division/Department commit to the applicant's research project?
  3. What level of enthusiasm for scientific merit was assigned by the SAC? What is the potential for this work to lead to further extramural funding?