Strategic Priorities Pilot Award

This service is provided by the Pilot and Collaborative Studies Resource (PCSR) and is offered in partnership with Columbia University Medical Center (CUIMC), ColumbiaDoctors, and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (Columbia Engineering)


The Strategic Priorities Pilot Award program offers awards that deploy institutional funds to address emerging strategic priorities. The program is designed to flexibly respond to pressing institutional, local, and national needs and jump-start timely research collaborations.

The program focus will rotate every 1-2 years.

  • Duration: One year
  • Award amount: $30,000-$40,000
  • Number of awards: Two or more awards per year

Current Focus

The current cycle’s focus is Learning Health System.

The Learning Health System – Strategic Priorities Pilot Award, is a collaboration with the Irving Institute, Columbia University Medical Center (CUIMC), ColumbiaDoctors and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (Columbia Engineering), will support proposals that apply a learning health systems (LHS) approach that integrates informatics, research, and clinical practice programs to solve real-world problems at NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP)/CUIMC.

The pilot award offers early resources for innovative and creative LHS studies including rapid cycle trials and interventions in digital health, decision support, quality improvement (QI), and patient safety.

We strongly encourage proposals that are innovative and multi-disciplinary, drawing ideas and stakeholders from across specialties and disciplines, including clinical, operations, and research personnel (including non-MD health professionals) at CUIMC, NYP, and Columbia Engineering.

What is a learning health system?

  • The National Academy of Medicine proposed the learning health system ( link is extrnal and opens in a new window) as an integrated clinical, operational, and research health system environment focused on improving quality and outcomes of care.
  • The system integrates informatics, implementation science, and other methodologies at the point of care to accelerate the translation of scientific discovery into practice.
  • A LHS is one in which “science and informatics, patient-clinician partnerships, incentives, and culture are aligned to promote and enable continuous and real-time improvement in both the effectiveness and efficiency of care.”

The pilot award program is part of  the Learning Health System initiative, a collaboration between the Irving Institute, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (Columbia Engineering), Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and ColumbiaDoctors, as well as other partners and schools across campus. The Initiative aims to:

  • Optimize our health system’s performance by enhancing the patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs, and improving the work life of health care providers in alignment with the Quadruple Aim (link is extrnal and opens in a new window).
  • Leverage Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) resources and interdisciplinary partnerships to create sustainable processes and resources and training on rapid, rigorous design, evaluation, and implementation of interventions, particularly using real-time informatics data and digital health tools.

See a list of current and past Strategic Priorities Pilot Award recipients.


  • Principal investigator(s) must have a faculty appointment at Columbia University of assistant professor or higher.
  • Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to apply as principal investigator.
  • Senior leaders of the Irving Institute are not eligible to apply as principal investigator but may be listed as co-investigators.
  • Although LHS Pilot Award Steering Committee members may be consulted during the preparation of the application, they should not be listed as co-investigators or collaborators.
  • Teams may include outside consultants/collaborators (e.g., community stakeholders) with unique experience or expertise in innovative approaches not currently available at NYP/Columbia. However, sub-awards are not permitted.
  • Teams are limited to no more than six investigators.
  • During each application cycle, only one submission is permitted per principal investigator (PI). Principal investigators may be listed as co-investigators or consultants on other applications.

Special consideration will be given to projects that include research plans reflecting alignment with the Irving Institute and Columbia University commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

We strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups.


The application cycle is now closed. Applications will be accepted again in Winter 2023.

Cite it, Submit it, Share it!

If your research has benefited from one or more Irving Institute resources, please remember to:

  • Cite our CTSA grant, UL1 TR001873, in any relevant publications, abstracts, chapters, and/or posters.
  • Submit your publications to PubMed Central (PMC) for compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.
  • Share your research updates with us by sending an email to:



Kayla Zalcgendler
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