Pilot and Feasibility Grants 2021/2022


This program provides funding of up to $40,000 per application to enable eligible investigators to explore new diabetes research initiatives in the area of biomedical research/basic sciences.  (This program is not intended to support activities in diabetes care delivery, evaluation of diabetes education programs, or practical issues in diabetes management.)

Three to four awards will be made available for this competition.

This funding is not to be used as bridging or emergency funding, nor is it intended as funding for ongoing studies.

The application must include an explanation as to how this project constitutes a completely new initiative in diabetes research for the applicant(s) and is not just an extension of or related to ongoing research efforts.

Preference will be given to applications that represent a completely new initiative in biomedical research/basic sciences for a particular investigator(s). The most innovative ideas will receive funding preference.


  • Those who received a 2020/2021 BBDC Pilot and Feasibility Grant as principal applicant are not eligible to apply for this competition as principal or co-applicant.
  • The principal applicant must hold a faculty appointment with the University of Toronto at the level of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor at the time of application submission.
  • The principal applicant must be appointed to the University of Toronto or a University of Toronto-affiliated institution.
  • The principal applicant should be a registered member* of the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre at the time of application submission. However, faculty who are new to the field of diabetes research are not required to be members at the time of application submission but will be required to become a BBDC member if their Pilot and Feasibility Grant application is awarded funding.  (*For more information about BBDC membership please view the Membership section of this web site.)
  • Co-applicants must be independent researchers (not trainees or research associates). Co-applicants are not required to be members of the BBDC or U of T faculty members.
  • The proposed research must be conducted at the University of Toronto or one of its affiliated institutions.
  • Faculty can only submit one application as the principal applicant.

The following individuals would qualify for grant support:

  • New faculty members who have not yet obtained their own independent funding.
  • Established investigators in non-diabetes related fields who are entering into new pilot and/or feasibility studies related to diabetes.
  • Established investigators in an area related to diabetes research who are proposing new pilot and/or feasibility diabetes-related studies that are completely unrelated to current lines of research.  Applicants must be exploring a completely new research direction entirely unrelated to their current or past research.

Relevance to Diabetes:

This funding program supports original research on the physiology and pathophysiology of diabetes that would be published in a diabetes-focused journal. Research proposals can include any aspect of laboratory, animal, or human research. Areas of research which are considered relevant to diabetes include the pathogenesis of diabetes and its complications, normal and pathological pancreatic islet function and intermediary metabolism, pharmacological mechanisms of drug and hormone action, and biochemical and molecular aspects of normal and abnormal biological processes.


Up to $40,000 will be awarded to successful applicants.

Funding Period:

One year funding period commencing on July 1, 2021. All grant recipients must be prepared to begin the research on July 1, 2021.

Eligible Expenses:

  • All supplies, materials and services related to the research project are considered eligible expenses.
  • Use of funds for trainee support (i.e. post-doctoral fellows, graduate and summer students) is considered an eligible expense. Funds may be used for trainee travel to conferences or trainee attendance of virtual conferences.
  • Purchases of equipment up to $10,000 are eligible if clearly justified in the budget.
  • Ineligible Expenses: Use of funds for investigators’ salaries, investigator travel to conferences or attendance of virtual conferences, or institutional overhead fees is not permitted.

Evaluation Criteria:

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Pilot and feasibility nature of the study (departure from the present work of the investigator/lab)
  • Relevance to diabetes
  • Scientific merit
  • Investigator(s) (perceived ability, and access to resources required to successfully complete the proposal)
  • Pilot & Feasibility Grants are $40,000, one-year awards. The scope of the proposal and budget must reflect this otherwise the application will be given a low score for feasibility.
  • Budget should be realistic and all items justified
  • A minor component of the evaluation will be based on other factors that the reviewers consider relevant to this competition

Application Procedure:

Submit a completed application to the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre by the deadline date.

Download the 2021/2022 BBDC Pilot and Feasibility Grant application form (PDF)

Application Deadline:

Applications must be received by 4 p.m., November 10, 2020.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.


All applicants will be notified of the funding decisions in February 2021.  Funding decisions will also be posted on the BBDC’s website.

Other Terms:

Ethics Approvals and Certifications: If this research involves human subjects, animals, biohazards or stem cells the principal applicant will be required to obtain approvals from his/her institution by the time of funding commencement on July 1. Approvals are not required to be submitted with this application; however, funds will not be released to successful applicants until all approvals have been obtained.

Funding Overlap: The principal and co-applicants are required to inform the BBDC of any related support currently held or applied for from other funding sources which overlaps with the submitted BBDC Pilot & Feasibility Grant request. In the event that a successful BBDC grant recipient is offered funding by another agency, the applicant must notify the BBDC in writing within 2 weeks of receiving the offer. The applicant must accept funding from the other agency.

Acknowledgement: Support from the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre Pilot and Feasibility Grant must be acknowledged in all publications, presentations and communications that arise from this funding.  Failure to acknowledge this support will result in future ineligibility for BBDC funding programs.


Successful applicants are required to provide the BBDC with a financial statement and detailed written report within three (3) months of the end of the funding period. The report must include the following:

  • A description of the project and results to date.
  • Whether or not any publications were generated as a result of this funding.
  • If so, was the BBDC’s support acknowledged in the publications?
  • A copy of all manuscripts published and submitted must be attached to the written report.
  • Did the BBDC’s support lead to any new grants/funding for this project?
  • If so, from which agencies/sources was funding received?
  • A detailed financial statement must be forwarded to the BBDC directly from the institution’s finance department itemizing expenses and showing the final balance.

Failure to provide either the written report or financial statement will result in future ineligibility for BBDC funding programs.


Rose LaBarbera
Phone: (416) 978-4656
E-mail: diabetes.bbdc@utoronto.ca