Pilot Studies

Advancing the evidence base on recovery housing for people who use MOUD. 

Purpose and Scope

The I-STARR pilot program aims to spur and support exciting research advancing the evidence base on recovery housing for people who are being treated with medications for an opioid use disorder (MOUD).  The program offers funding, training, and mentorship for investigators new to recovery housing research to conduct small research projects in this general area.  The program is designed to launch competitive NIH R-mechanism proposals, and funds only pilot studies intended to provide preliminary data and experiences supporting such a proposal.   

Over a three-year period, the program will fund at least five studies of up to one year duration with total costs under $50,0000 each. 

Research Focus

Pilot studies may focus on diverse topics related to recovery housing for people who use MOUD. Examples of studies of particular interest are studies examining:

    1. Prevalence of accessing recovery housing for people who are being treated with MOUD and gaps in utilization
    2. Barriers to, and facilitators of, accessing recovery housing among people who are being treated with MOUD
    3. Outcomes associated with accessing recovery housing for people who are being treated with MOUD and factors affecting such outcomes (such as supportive social networks)
    4. Factors associated with MOUD adherence among recovery housing residents
    5. Strategies for overcoming provider-level barriers to supporting residents who are being treated with MOUD
    6. Disparities related to accessing and benefiting from recovery residences among people who are being treated with MOUD


  • Proposed projects must address the role of recovery housing in supporting persons who are in or seeking recovery from an opioid use disorder and who are or have been maintained on medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).
  • Applicants must meet NIH criteria as an Early Stage Investigator (ESI; investigator completed the terminal research degree or post-graduate clinical training within the past 10 years) or a New Investigator (NI; investigator has not competed successfully for an R01 award); those who do not meet this criteria may still apply if they have not competed successfully for NIH research funding pertaining to recovery housing.
  • Applicants may be faculty members, research scientists, post-doctoral research scholars, or graduate students from any academic, healthcare, or research institution in the United States.
  • Applicants must designate an I-STARR Investigator who has agreed to be mentor for the proposed project
  • Applicants must document how pilot data will be used to launch a competitive NIH R-mechanism grant.
  • Applications must specify how findings will be disseminated (e.g., via conference presentations and published papers) and how data and findings will be shared in compliance with the HEAL initiative.

Special Eligibility Considerations

We especially encourage applicants belonging to populations under-represented in the U.S. research enterprise (see: grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-031.html) including:

  • Individuals from under-represented racial and ethnic groups (i.e., Black/African American, Latinx/Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander people)
  • Individuals with disabilities, defined as those with a physical or mental health impairment
  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds

We also especially encourage applicants who have lived experience with substance use recovery. 

Key Dates

November 4, 2024  —  RFA released
December 16, 2024  —  LOIs due
January 6, 2025    LOI decisions made
March 31, 2025  —  Full applications due
April 28, 2025  —  Full application decisions made

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