CTRI Community Engagement Academic-Community Partnership Pilot Project Grants

The application period for 2017 grants will open soon.

The UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) Academic-Community Partnership Pilot Project Grants promote, develop and expand community-university partnerships in research.


The CTRI Community Engagement Academic-Community Partnership Pilot Grant Program is part of a multilevel effort to expand UC San Diego Health Sciences and San Diego State University research endeavors to effectively engage local communities. These pilot grants are intended to support community-based research by strengthening collaborative partnerships between UCSD and SDSU faculty and local communities. These funds are to be used for the development of new projects, which will serve as a basis for future grant proposals and community partnerships. The funds are not intended to fund extensions of prior work. Awards of up to $15,000 are to be spent within the designated 12-month period. The funding period for the 2017 grants is April 1, 2017-March 31, 2018.

Competitive Academic-Community Partnership Pilot grant applications are developed in collaboration with community-based agencies. Agencies include, but are not limited to, community health centers, schools, county health departments, agencies which offer resources and support for disease-specific groups, and local nonprofit community-based organizations. Community-based grants are intended to develop and expand academic relationships with community-based agencies in order to foster a mutually-beneficial research agenda, and to strengthen investigators’ capacity to conduct community-based research. The CTRI Community Engagement team, which includes the Institute for Public Health at SDSU, actively supports the development of new Academic-Community Partnerships by helping both researchers and communities identify and build partnerships, and by providing on-going consulting services for joint projects – from planning through implementation, to analyses and dissemination of findings.

UC San Diego and San Diego State University Faculty who are eligible to become CTRI members  are encouraged to apply. Research Scientists and all Professor Series Faculty, including Adjuncts, are PI eligible. Although Project Scientists, Post-Doctoral Fellows and other Academics are not PI eligible, they are encouraged to participate as Co-Investigators. Become a member of CTRI, and learn about the many benefits of CTRI membership. Previous awardees are not eligible to reapply for one year within each funding category.

Deadline for 2017 Applications: Friday, October 14, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. PST

Preliminary Notice of Award & Scheduling of Meetings with CTRI: Monday, December 19, 2016

Final Funding Contingent on Successful Completion of IRB and NCATS requirements.

Approval and Notice of Award: TBD – March,  2017

Funding Period: April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018

Submit an application. Once you register as an applicant you will be sent an e-mail notifying you of your username and password.

CTRI Mission

The mission of the UC San Diego CTRI is to create an environment that advances health care through interactions between basic scientists, clinical investigators, community physicians, and patients. We intend to address the barriers that inhibit productivity and rapid translation of research progress into new therapies, and the dissemination of these new therapies to patients served by UC San Diego Health System, as well as those served by community providers.

The CTRI Community Engagement Unit

The Community Engagement Unit of the CTRI promotes relationships between the university and community partners, practitioners and the general public to foster mutually-beneficial research endeavors. A broad and diverse group of agencies are forming partnerships with CTRI: community clinics, community-based organizations that represent different cultural and ethnic groups, local governments, neighborhood collaborations, and agencies that represent people who share a common disease or disorder (e.g., Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego, American Lung Association, etc.)

The Mission of the Community Engagement Unit is to:

  • Build effective interactions between the CTRI and the general public
  • Promote the participation of community-based clinicians in clinical translational research
  • Educate and encourage community-based health professionals in the use of evidence-based practices for disease prevention, diagnosis and intervention
  • Promote community-based research on health disparities
  • Promote subject recruitment and retention in clinical, biomedical and behavioral research, especially in understudied communities.

Purpose of the CTRI Academic-Community Partnership  Pilot Grant Program:

CTRI is offering funding to encourage community-based research that is developed in collaboration with community-based agencies. Agencies include, but are not limited to, community health centers, schools, county health departments, agencies which offer resources and support for disease-specific groups and local nonprofit community-based organizations. Community-based grants are used to  develop and expand academic relationships with community-based agencies in order to foster development of a mutually-beneficial research agenda, and to strengthen investigators’ capacity to conduct community-based research. The Academic-Community Partnership Pilot grant program is intended to fund promising Academic-Community Partnerships and support investigator research in San Diego County as well as in neighboring rural regions.

Academic-Community Partnership Application Guidelines

  • Eligibility – CTRI members with PI eligibility (described above). Become a member
  • Funding must be used to form new academic-community partnerships and support the development, implementation, and evaluation of a community-based research project in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
  • Existing Academic-Community partnerships may be considered, but only if the proposed research is clearly very different from prior work and/or the previously established relationship.
  • To promote research in rural areas, at least one of the projects selected for funding for the 2017 program will be an academic-community partnership based in Imperial County.
  • Proposals with the greatest potential to lead to additional external support and to be developed into sustainable collaborative research projects will be given priority.
  • Preference is given to junior investigators, however senior investigators whose application represents a clear departure from their previous work, are also encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants will be required to identify two co-investigators; one who is a CTRI member, and another who is a member of a community agency outside of CTRI and academia. A letter identifying the role of the community-based co-investigator that is on the stationary of the proposed community-based agency partner is required.
  • Funded Applicants – the UC San Diego/SDSU Academic PI and the community partners, will be required to meet with CTRI Community Engagement faculty prior to final award notice, and during the funding period at the request of the CTRI Standing Pilot Committee.
  • Funded Applicants must agree to submit all required reports (fiscal and programmatic) and other requests for information at the request of the Pilot Standing Committee and/or CTRI Administrative Leadership.
  • Funded Applicants (academic and community co-investigators) must agree to present their projects at CTRI-hosted forums and to advise CTRI on other community-academic endeavors.
  • Previous awardees are not eligible to reapply for one year within each funding category. 

Application Materials:

Research Proposal - maximum of 6 pages, double-spaced, which includes:

  • Research aims/purpose and project goals
  • Program description
  • Methodology (include description of methods for obtaining both process and outcome data)
  • Anticipated outcomes
  • Include a brief paragraph that describes the potential impact of project on the community to be served; address health status, healthcare and/or health-related policies and/or practices that will be impacted, now or in the future
  • Capacity of PI (and Co-PI) to successfully implement community-based project
  • Description of project’s potential to lead to additional external support
  • Description of activities to ensure sustainability of the collaboration
  • Description of strategies to disseminate resulting information and “lessons learned.
  • Provide a level of detail that will allow review committee members to judge the merit and feasibility of your project.
  • Have a clearly defined purpose. Show how methods will lead to the proposed outcome. If the “outcome” is information from which to build the foundation for subsequent research, the applicant must show how the proposed design and methods will yield this information. Proposals are reviewed by clinicians, scientists, and non-scientists from local communities. Therefore, descriptions of benefits, impact, and outcomes should be described in a straightforward manner, with clear practical implications.

Budget — Provide a one-page budget and budget narrative describing how funding will be used to successfully carry out the project. Funds for one year cannot exceed $15,000. Applicants are expected to have a budget whereby funds are shared between the academic applicant and the community agency partner; project expenses that will go to support the community partner’s role in the proposed project must be described. While community partners must receive part of the grant funding, the agencies cannot claim overhead or indirect costs as represented on proposed budget. Depending on the institution of CTRI member applicant outside of UC San Diego, there will be restrictions on allowable indirect costs (maximum 10 percent of the budget). Rules governing federal awards (OMB circular A- 21) apply for the funds. Travel and publication costs cannot be covered. Funds must be spent within 12 months — cost extensions are not permitted.

Letter of Commitment — Provide a letter from the Community Partner Organization. This letter must be on their letterhead, signed by the leadership of the organization, addressed to Dr. Howard Taras, Director, UC San Diego CTRI Community Engagement unit. The letter must: (a) describe the agency’s support of the proposed project, (b) their role in the project, (c) identify the agency representative with primary responsibility for the project, and (d) briefly describe the anticipated benefits to the agency and community that will result from the collaboration during this project.

Biosketch — Provide a current NIH bio-sketch for the PI, Co-PI and any Co-Is (including postdoctoral fellows and graduate or medical students), and a CV or Resume for the Community Agency Representative.

Take Note of UCSD’s IRB Policy — UC San Diego Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must be secured by April 1, in order to receive funds on that date. As all funds must be spent by March 31 of the following year and cannot be extended, applicants should submit an IRB application at the same time their pilot proposal is submitted to CTRI.

Take Note of UCSD’s Conflict of Interest Policy — Before UCSD can issue a sub-award or subcontract to your community agency partner, compliance with PHS Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) requirements must be demonstrated. If your community agency receives funds, it will be required to either certify that it has its own PHS FCOI compliant policy or that it follows the UC San Diego HS FCOI policy by meeting all of our requirements. This can be demonstrated by submitting the FCOI Sub-recipient Commitment Form to the Business Contracts Office and COI Office. Feel free to contact the UC San Diego Conflict of Interest Office for detailed information.

Please refer procedural questions to Kathy Kennedy (Administrative Assistant); (858) 822-0268; all other questions can be directed to both Kathy Kennedy and Dr. Shelia L. Broyles; (858) 822-4117.