Apply for Funding


Application Cycle

A part of our mission to reduce disparities in preterm birth rates and improve outcomes for babies who are born too soon is realized by funding innovative projects in prematurity research. Once a year, in spring, we accept applications through the UCSF Research Allocation Program (RAP) in two categories: Pilot Award, up to $50,000 over one year, and Innovation Award, up to $150,000 over two years.

The Spring 2020 cycle is now closed. Please check back in January 2021 for our Spring 2021 request for applications

For more information please see the RAP website

Spring 2020 Request For Applications (RFA)

Read our full RFAs for each award type, here: Pilot Award, up to $50,000 over one year, and Innovation Award, up to $150,000 over two years. For this cycle, all applications that address compelling research questions within any of our four research aims will be considered, with emphasis given to priority topics identified by our communities.

Informational Webinars

PTBi-CA will host two informational webinars for applicants interested in speaking with members of the Community Advisory Board about their proposed projects and plain language summaries. This is an opportunity for applicants to receive feedback about study protocols, recruitment strategies, dissemination plans, and mechanisms for community engagement. The webinars will be held in February 2021.

See our ongoing and current projects


All projects require the participation of a UCSF Co-Investigator:
  • UCSF Faculty in any series, including adjunct and professional research series, and at all ranks: Instructors, Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, Professors can apply.
  • Non-faculty Specialists can apply.
  • Residents, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Clinical Fellow, clinical and staff research scientists, can also apply.
  • Research teams outside of UCSF and/or community-based investigators in one of our three target geographies are encouraged to contact [email protected] to be matched with an interested collaborating UCSF co-investigator.
Researchers with the following affiliations are encouraged to apply:
  • UCSF-affiliates
  • Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (BCHO) researchers: all research, hospital-based, clinical and staff scientists at any level (including postdoctoral fellows), including those affiliated with the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI).
  • UCSF Fresno researchers: all affiliated researchers including faculty in any professional research series, fellows, research scientists and emeritus faculty.


    Review Process

    Applications that are complete and meet eligibility requirements will be evaluated by three committees: the PTBi-CA Community Advisory Board (CAB), a UCSF scientific review committee, and the PTBi-CA leadership team. The Initiative will make the final funding decisions after considering the Community Advisory Board and scientific reviews and the alignment of the highest quality proposals with our stated goals and current research portfolio.

    Community Advisory Board (CAB) Review

    Board members evaluate submitted proposals based on the scientific abstract, and a plain language summary detailing the project’s background and history of the work, scope, community-engagement efforts, and impact (see #3 below in Application Instructions), with access to the full proposal upon request. It is essential that applicants develop a plain language summary that is clear, engaging, and written specifically for a general, lay audience. Please note that the Community Advisory Board review is a significant component of the review process. Board review criteria include:

    • Impact
      Will the study answer questions that are important to women of reproductive age and their families in San Francisco, Oakland, or Fresno?
    • Partnership
      Does the application demonstrate engagement and involvement of community members or community-based organizations in the planning and/or performance/review of the study?
    • Dissemination
      Is the plan to disseminate study results to the project participants (and the broader community, if applicable) appropriate and effective?

    Scientific Review

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by a review committee convened by the UCSF Resource Allocation Program (RAP) and assigned an overall score, in accordance with specific PTBi-CA review criteria:

    • Scope
      Does the project address the research priorities outlined in the RFA?
    • Impact
      Will the project lead to improvements in the prematurity research field for the populations and geographies of focus?
    • Approach/Innovation 
      Is the research question and proposed design appropriate for the project scope and timeline? Is the proposal novel or innovative?
    • Investigative team
      Does the proposed team include members who are experienced in areas that are directly related to the proposed project?
    • Transdisciplinarity
      To what degree does the project use a transdisciplinary approach, including engagement with the community? A transdisciplinary team with differing areas of professional and community-based expertise is encouraged.
    • Institutional support
      Does the project have the support of the departments and/or organizations involved?
    • Budget
      Is the budget appropriate for the project scope and timeline?

    Terms of the Award

    PTBi-CA is committed to building capacity among researchers and community stakeholders to engage in collaborative transdisciplinary work and the dissemination of new ideas. Awardees are required to attend up to two meetings to encourage the cross-fertilization of ideas that spark new transdisciplinary, cross-sector partnerships (which may lead to further funding opportunities). Grantees are also encouraged to attend other PTBi-CA-sponsored networking opportunities that foster innovation and collaboration, including our monthly Collaboratory series.

    All investigators who enroll human subjects must include a plan to disseminate their research results to the project participants and the broader community.

    All studies involving human participants will require approval by or exemption from the UCSF Committee on Human Research (CHR) as well as evidence of IRB approval from other institutions involved in the project (as appropriate) within three months of receiving their award letter. Studies involving research on live animals or on tissues collected from live animals will require approval from the UCSF Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) within three months of receiving their award letter. If a project is selected for funding, proof of CHR or IACUC approval must be supplied before funds can be released.

    Investigators seeking funding for biospecimen testing will be asked to submit a data-sharing plan that will allow the sharing of individual-level biomarker/-omic data (without identifiers) through collaborative agreements after the initial publication of results (see #5e below in Application Instructions).

    PTBi-CA actively encourages the publication of results from all work, including those that do not find an association or effect. All publications and presentations resulting from the research funded by PTBi-CA must be acknowledged as: This research was supported by the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative, funded by Marc and Lynne Benioff.