From Eterna Wiki
Pilot Project - pilot lab are always open, and they do not go "active". At the end of synthesis cycle, the most voted projects are picked and its solutions are sent straight to the synthesis pipeline. In the current design, the pilot labs are not meant for wide player participation and will not be shown in active labs page like Paper Labs. (Jee)
The highest voted Pilot projects will recieve lab slots if there are slots left over from Paper labs.
When we have excess slots, the labs with the most votes are also included in the synthesis. We can go up to 1000 slots. The pilot labs do not have a barcode attached until they are selected for synthesis, then the barcode is added automatically by jee's program and labs that have 89 bases are eligible. 89 freeform + 41 for the head barcode and tail. 130 max for the synthesis sequence (Jnicol, dev)