Pilot Grant Program

Pilot Grant Program

Home / Pilot Grant Program

Home / Pilot Grant Program


The Data Science for Dynamic Decision-making Center (d3c) at the University of Michigan is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop novel experimental designs and data analytic methods for optimizing adaptive interventions. These interventions use dynamic information about the individual to decide whether and how to modify the type, intensity, or delivery modality of treatment. A special interest is in adaptive interventions that leverage new mobile and sensing technology to adapt and personalize interventions in real time, as individuals go about their daily lives.

A portion of this funding has been designated for small projects designed to nurture collaborations and generate new externally funded research projects focused on optimizing adaptive interventions for preventing and treating substance use disorders (SUD) and HIV. This pilot grant program is augmented by the Rogel Cancer Center at the University of Michigan to support additional small projects that focus on adaptive interventions to improve outcomes at the intersection of cancer and substance use (or misuse). Although not a requirement, projects that focus on HIV or health equity are encouraged.

Current Pilot Grant Projects


Primary Investigator: Lara Coughlin, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, UM Addiction Center

The MiWaves project aims to develop a Just-in-Time Adaptive Intervention (JITAI) to reduce cannabis use among non-treatment seeking early adults who use cannabis three times or more weekly. Using a trans-disciplinary approach, the JITAI will integrate empirically-based intervention strategies for reducing substance use (e.g., motivational interviewing and mindfulness) with engagement strategies grounded in basic psychology, human computer interaction (HCI), and marketing.

Measuring Momentary Motives for Real-Time Interventions for Prescription Opioid Misuse

Primary Investigator: Brady West, PhD, Associate Professor of Survey Statistics and Methodology, UM Institute for Social Research

This pilot project will move the services field from measuring motives for prescription opioid misuse (POM) as static characteristics (time-invariant) to measuring motives as dynamic states (i.e., changing from moment to moment). This pilot project will develop a new measure that can inform real-time interventions targeting specific motives for POM as they emerge, and thus is highly synergistic with Projects 2 and 3. Specifically, the new measure can be used in optimizing the integrated adaptation of human-delivered and digital services and 2nd generation JITAIs.

What’s the purpose?

  • Bring talented and energetic researchers into the area of adaptive interventions
  • Foster new collaborative research ties between d3c researchers and others
  • Generate new research projects funded by NIDA, NCI, or other agencies

Who may apply?

Tenure-track/tenured faculty, research faculty (non-tenured), and Ph.D.-level research associates at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and New York University, from any department. Prior experience in SUD research is not required. We encourage proposals from quantitatively oriented researchers with backgrounds in statistics, engineering, computer science, economics, behavioral sciences, education, and other areas, who can bring exciting new perspectives to the study of adaptive interventions.

Use of funds.

Funds may be requested to conduct (a) necessary preliminary methodological work for optimizing adaptive interventions, or (b) necessary preliminary translational work and pilot testing for optimizing adaptive interventions for reducing the burden of SUD, HIV, and/or cancer. The proposed work is expected to involve significant collaboration between the applicant and one or more d3c researchers, and to show promise of leading to larger-scale funded projects in the future.

Duration and amount.

Studies are expected to last 12 months and should not exceed $50,000 in total costs (Direct + Indirect).

How to apply.

The application period for this cycle has closed and will reopen late summer, 2023. Generally, Letters of Intent are due in early October.

Letters of Intent should include the following:

  1. Current CV of lead scientist
  2. Title of the research project, lead scientist and collaborators (as applicable)
  3. Specific aims outlining project goals
  4. Desired amount of funding
  5. d3c scientist(s) to be involved and the nature of the collaboration

Full proposals should include the following:

  1. NIH biosketch of key personnel
  2. Title of the research project, lead scientist and collaborators (as applicable)
  3. Requested amount, budget, and an itemized budget justification. PHS 398 budget forms will be provided at time of invitation.
  4. Specific aims (up to 1 page) outlining project goals
  5. Research strategy (up to 5 pages) describing:
    1. Significance
    2. Innovation
    3. Approach/methods to achieve aims
    4. Plan and timeline for a larger, external grant submission (i.e., funding agency, type of grant, and expected submission date)
    5. d3c scientist(s) to be involved and the nature of the collaboration

Key Dates:

The dates below reflect deadlines for the last application cycle. New dates will appear here in summer, 2023.

October 1, 2022 — Letter of Intent Due
October 31, 2022 — Invitation to Submit Full Proposal
January 16, 2023 — Full Proposals Due

Recipients Announced

February 27, 2023 — Rogel funded pilot projects
May 1, 2023 — NIDA funded pilot projects

Award Start Date

March 1, 2023 — Rogel funded pilot projects
July 1, 2023 — NIDA funded pilot projects

Award End Date

February 29, 2024 — Rogel funded pilot projects
June 30, 2024 — NIDA funded pilot projects

Where to apply.

Email Letters of Intent and full proposals (as a Word document or PDF) to d3c.pilots@umich.edu with the subject “d3c Pilot Project Research Funding.”

Duties of awardees.

Funding recipients are required to:

  • Submit written reports on their progress at six-month intervals, along with copies of any technical reports, conference presentations, drafts of articles, research proposals, and other products (e.g., software) generated by the project.
  • Participate in monthly meetings with their d3c collaborator/mentor.
  • Attend monthly center-wide meetings during which projects will be discussed and participants will engage in problem-solving.
  • Lead a think-tank meeting to discuss, strategize, and plan their project at the beginning of their award and present results to the center at the end of their award.


If you have an idea for a new research project but are not sure whether it would qualify for this funding opportunity, or if you have questions about this application, please contact Stephanie Thompson (smsouthw@umich.edu) or any of our Center researchers. We welcome questions and are glad to offer informal advice.

Upcoming Events

Innovations in Methods for Adapting and Personalizing Interventions for Cancer Control

Saturday April 15, 2023 | 10:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
Annual Meeting of the Education Committee of the AACR
Learn More

Self-Relevant Appeals to Engage in Self-Monitoring of Alcohol Use: A Micro-randomized Trial

Friday April 28, 2023 | 1:00 p.m. MT
44th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine
Learn More

The Hybrid Experimental Design

Friday April 28, 2023 | 1:00 p.m. MT
44th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine
Learn More

Time-Varying Model of Engagement with Digital Self Reporting

Friday April 28, 2023 | 1:00pm MT
44th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine
Learn More

Results of the Sense2Stop Micro-Randomized Trial

Friday April 28, 2023 | 11:00 a.m. MT
44th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine
Learn More


Join the d3center Mailing List

Keep up to date with the latest news, events, software releases, learning modules, and resources from the d3center.