NCHATS Feasibility-Pilot Funding Opportunity Program

Funding call.The National Center for Health and Justice Integration for Suicide Prevention (NCHATS) is soliciting small (feasibility/pilot studies) that capitalize on Center resourcesNCHATS LOGO and extend the Center research program. We are seeking:

  • nimble proof-of-concept studies 
  • that are innovative and consistent with the Center’s focus
  • that use implementation science, interventions, costing, policy, data, or other relevant research approaches
  • that foster new collaborations
  • that identify and/or promote national uptake of SCALABLE solutions. 
  • that will lead to additional National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01s that align with Center research goals

The Center: (1) uses contact with the criminal-legal system (e.g., 911 call, police contact, arrest; see Sequential Intercept Model) as an indicator of suicide risk in the general population; (2) demonstrates how big data systems that efficiently track criminal legal involvement can be linked to health system records and scaled to identify individuals at risk for suicide and connect them to care; and (3) examines effectiveness and scalability of suicide prevention approaches using these methods. This pilot mechanism focuses on scalable and sustainable suicide prevention approaches across justice intercepts.

Pilot projects may cover a wide range of research questions that fit within the overall scope and theme of the Center. Projects may include analyses of existing data (ours or others’) or new data collection that can be accomplished within a small budget. Secondary analyses (of Center, SPIRIT, or other data) are also appropriate. Topics of particular interest to Center stakeholders include trauma, identification of prior suicide attempt history, co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, staffing shortages and innovative solutions to address time constraints, and stigma. A wide range of other topics will also be considered. Projects focused on early intercepts (see Figure 1), community settings, and/or scale-up and scalability are especially encouraged. The application must demonstrate how the proposed project fits within the scope of the overall Center.

Key dates:

  • Aug 14, 2023 from 9-10am EDT: Virtual Pre-Submission Workshop describing the funding call and available resources., passcode 101073. Please email to register.
  • November 1, 2023 by 5pm EDT: Submissions due
  • November 2023:
    • Scientific and programmatic review
    • Notification of intent to fund
    • Receive IRB and NIMH approvals
  • December 1, 2023: Earliest project start date

Budget and scope. Pilot projects should range from $25k-$100k total costs and 1-2 years’ duration. These pilot projects will be similar to small research project grants (R03). With approximately $375k available budget years 2 and 4, we anticipate that 4-6 pilot projects will be awarded over the course of the Center.


  • The call is open to investigators from any U.S. institution that is eligible to receive NIH funding (e.g., universities, health and justice systems, stakeholder partners).
  • Projects should take advantage of Center infrastructure (e.g., Methods Core expertise, data, partners) in some way(see
  • Projects should provide pilot data for NIH R01s
  • Research projects must investigate approaches that leverage data linkage to identify and intervene with individuals at risk for suicide who are crossing justice intercepts (including community crisis centers, 911, law enforcement contacts; see figure below).
  • Partnership
    • Submitting researchers are expected to partner with health or criminal-legal system stakeholders before submission to help generate ideas and maximize scalability and external validity of findings.
    • Submitting community agencies/practitioners/stakeholders are expected to partner with researchers to ensure that the proposed research is methodologically rigorous and can lead to an NIH research R01.
    • For help finding partners, email
  • If your project is selected for funding, IRB approval must be received before funding is received.
  • Projects are encouraged to collect Center common variables (see Table 1) if appropriate given project aims. For questions email


  • Center Investigators and stakeholder partners are available to assist with proposal development through:
  • Areas of expertise available to assist with proposal development include data analysis, research design, health economics, biomedical informatics, health and justice systems, implementation science and stakeholder engagement, health equity, safety/ethics, and suicide prevention interventions.
  • Investigators are encouraged to consult with the Center early about the feasibility/appropriatenessof the research question (by emailing
  • Table 1 data are available for secondary analysis (several thousand cases).
  • Once awards are made, the Methods Core will assure active, structured scientific mentoring, and the Admin core will monitor regulatory compliance and progress.

Table 1: Center Common Data Elements

Implementation measures:

  • Cost and cost-effectiveness
  • Scalability, sustainability
  • Feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness
  • Actual and recommended implementation strategies

Services measures:

  • Medically treated suicide attempts
  • Receipt of outpatient mental health or substance use services
  • ED and inpatient visits
  • Return to jail detention


  • Receipt of outpatient mental health or substance use services


  • Sex, race/ethnicity
  • Area Deprivation Index, mental health HPSA score, per capita incarceration rate
  • Past suicide attempt, past behavioral health treatment

Application process:

  • Applications will consist of:
    • Project title and period (dd/mm/yyyy - dd/mm/yyyy)
    • A 1-page budget summary outlining funds requested and what funds will be used for
    • A list of Key Personnel (name, title, and affiliation). Key personnel are defined as academic or community/practice partners with measurable, paid effort on the project.
    • Biosketches for Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, and Consultants
    • Project Summary describing specific aims, gap in knowledge, innovation, methods, fit with the Center, and impact on suicide risk and/or care connection (2 pages)
    • A human subjects section (no page limit)
    • An (up to) 1-page document describing the project timeline and milestones, timeline for IRB submission and approval, timeline for publication, and pathway to NIH grant submission
  • Applications should explain:
    • how the proposal advances suicide prevention for justice-involved individuals in a way that is scalable
    • how the proposal engages stakeholder partners in its development and conduct; and
    • how the project will lead to future NIH-funded research.
  • Please use Arial 11 font and 0.5” margins and submit the package as a single PDF to by 5pm EDT Oct 1, 2023.

Review criteria will include: scientific merit (significance, innovation, approach, etc.); alignment with the programmatic priorities of the Center; likelihood of leading to an R01 or other NIH funding: scalability of the proposed suicide prevention solution; level and quality of engagement of practice, policy, community, and/or lived experience partners; and feasibility of completing the project within the timeframe proposed and with the requested funds.

For questions, email: . See also

Figure 1: Sequential Intercept Model

Sequential Intercept Model

The Sequential Intercept Model brings different agencies and systems together to identify strategies to divert people with mental health and substance use disorders away from the criminal legal system and into treatment.

Center Principal Investigators: Jennifer Johnson (Michigan State University), Brian Ahmedani (Henry Ford Health), and Lauren Weinstock (Brown University)