Catalyst Awards for the Development of Diagnostics, Devices, Therapeutics and Digital Health

Award Amounts
$100,000 (Therapeutics, Devices and Diagnostics)
$250,000 (Therapeutics Projects of interest to MedImmune - see details below)
$60,000 (Digital Health)

** Note that submissions to Catalyst in addition to another RAP grant mechanism are allowed.

The Catalyst Award combines customized expert feedback and advice with funding to help drive promising early-stage research through the lengthy and complex process of translating ideas into patient benefit. Previous awardees include UCSF investigators whose works span a broad range of innovative concepts in therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health. The expert consultation and funding they received enabled them to advance promising early research findings along the most effective path toward safe and effective medical treatment modalities. View an infographic of the program here.

View videos of past awardees and advisors discussing their experiences at UCSF-CTSI LaunchPad.

MedImmune Partnership: Expert Advice and Up to $250,000 in Funding

The Catalyst Awards program is collaborating with MedImmune to support projects in the Therapeutics track in areas of interest to MedImmune (read press release). MedImmune are interested in biological therapeutic approaches in Oncology, Respiratory, Autoimmunity, Infectious Diseases, Neurosciences, Antibody Design, Cardiovascular, Metabolic Diseases, Patient Stratification, Biomarkers and Trial optimization (See detailed information). For further information, contact Cathy Tralau-Stewart ( or 415-514-8405).

Award Process
The Early Translational Research (ETR) Program, which manages the award, involves advisors from industry in proposal review and subsequent consultations. Successful applicants negotiate through three distinct stages to receive critical feedback, expert consulting and funding for their projects:

Stage 1

The first stage involves a thorough review of the applications by panel members with expertise in each category and specific technology area. All applicants receive thoughtful feedback that highlights the promising aspects of their research as well as key gaps that need to be addressed to strengthen their likelihood for progress to commercial implementation and clinical practice.

Stage 2

A select number of applicants are granted consultation awards and advance into the second stage. Over the following two months, these applicants are matched with expert panel members who can best help them address the gaps that were identified by the review panels. The awardee and their assigned advisors work together to prepare for the final review meeting.

Stage 3

In the final stage, a select number of consultation awardees are invited to present their research, progress in addressing the reviewer's concerns, and proposed research plan. The review panel then decides on one or more applicants who will receive a Catalyst Award of up to $100,000 (or up to $250,000 for therapeutics projects of interest to MedImmune, or up to $60,000 for Digital Health).


Applicants: Principal investigators at UCSF and affiliate institutions qualify for this program including faculty in all series and at all ranks. Residents and Postdoctoral scholars are eligible to submit applications as PI with a faculty member as Co-PI.

Projects: Research projects with early target validation and a clear clinical indication will be eligible for consideration. The therapeutic area can cover any disease where there is an unmet medical need or the potential for significant improvement over current treatments, diagnostics or services. If patents or patent applications have not been filed, there should be a strong potential for obtaining defensible intellectual property.

Proposals will be evaluated on the following:

  1. Unmet need
  2. Scientific rationale
  3. Development feasibility
  4. Commercial attractiveness
  5. Intellectual property status, potential position and issues

Estimated Program Review and Award Timeline:

Sep 21

RAP Application Deadline


Announcement of Consultation Awards


Final Report Out Meeting Announcement of Final Awards


STEP 1) Complete the electronic application form 
STEP 2) Upload your proposal PDF

Instructions for Proposal PDF

Please write your proposal following the instructions listed below and create one single PDF file

Proposal Length: Maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding table of contents and literature cited.

Format Requirements:  Arial font; 11 pt; minimum 0.5 inch for all margins; no appendices; include page numbers and table of contents.

Definition: same research topic with an amended application or research plan rather than a new research topic and new research plan.
Requirements: Please use up to one extra page to introduce your revised proposal, addressing the issues raised in the review, and any additional changes to your proposal. A new letter from the Chair is not required if the resubmission is within 2 cycles (one skipped cycle max). You will include the old letter and state your resubmission is within 2 cycles and new letter is not required. Make sure the new changes are highlighted in bold or italic font so the reviewers can easily see where and how the proposal has changed. Do not use track changes.

  1. P.I. Name(s) - Optionally, you may apply with two PIs. If funded, PI1 will be the primary contact for the award set up and management. If the proposal has multiple PIs, both PI1 and PI2 need to meet the eligibility criteria listed for this grant mechanism.
  2. Project Title
  3. Proposal (maximum of 6 pages, including Executive Summary, Figures and Tables, excluding References)

a.     Executive Summary (maximum of 1 page)

                                               i.     (Briefly describe the unmet need being addressed, the significance and potential clinical impact of the proposed research project, and the project objectives with measurable criteria for success.)

b.     Background and Strategy

                                               i.     Background and Significance

1.     (Describe the significance of the unmet need being addressed, the current standard of care, and the potential impact of the proposed research. Provide supporting evidence for the project hypotheses and objectives.)

c.     Research Strategy

                                               i.     (Describe the proposed research objectives, approach, expected outcome and specific, measurable criteria for success.)

d.     Research Timeline

                                               i.     (Provide a timeline for key project tasks and milestones.)

e.     Collaborations and Other Sources of Support

                                               i.     (List any research collaborations and/or other sources of funding related to the proposed research program.)

f.      Product Development and Commercialization

                                               i.     Clinical Impact

1.     (Describe how the product, which may result from the proposed research, will be used to inform clinical decisions and/or improve care.)

g.     Development Plan

                                               i.     (Describe the expected next steps after the successful completion of the proposed project milestones (e.g. patents, clinical trials, regulatory activity)

h.     Competition

                                               i.     (List any existing competing products or other research or development programs that may result in competing innovations.)

i.       Intellectual Property

                                               i.     (List existing intellectual property (e.g. patents, copyrights) related to the research with references and status (e.g. disclosure, patent application, pending obligations, or out-licenses). Describe the potential of generating intellectual property after the successful completion of the project milestones.)

j.       Strategic Partnerships

                                               i.     (Provide a brief description of existing partnerships with organizations related to the research. Describe potential strategic partnerships that may be beneficial in the development of a resulting product.)

k.     References (not included in page limit)

4. Detailed Budget ($100,000 maximum per proposal, $60,000 for Digital Health, $250,000 for therapeutics projects in the area of Oncology, Respiratory, Autoimmunity, Infectious Diseases, Neurosciences, Antibody Design, Cardiovascular, Metabolic Diseases, Patient Stratification, Biomarkers and Trial optimization)

Use the following form: PHS 398 Form Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period": Add the network recharge rates to your budget.



Not Allowable

PI Salary *



Post Doc Salary



K career development awardees – salary support






Administrative Support












Personal Computers












Research Staff Support (e.g. RSA; Lab. Technician)



Patient Care



Indirect costs on subcontracts



*NIH base salary cap. Fully justify all requests. Multiple PIs can decide how to distribute the salary support among them.

Salary cannot be more than 25% of the total budget.

**Travel is restricted to reaching project sites.

5. Budget Justification: Clearly and fully justify all costs.

6. NIH Bio-sketch of Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Investigator(s) and UCSF Faculty Mentor(s) (5 page maximum): Use Form ( with other support pages. Include active, pending, and planned proposals. Include percent effort, total direct costs (current year) and potential overlap with the current proposal. Include bio-sketch for both PIs of a multi-PI application.

7. Letter(s) of support: Provide a letter of support from the department chair or other unit head. In addition, for junior investigators, department chairs/unit heads should comment on the independence of the applicant and availability of research space and other resources for the proposed research. Include the letter of support at the end of your PDF proposal and address it to the RAP Committee. If there are multiple (two) PIs, a letter of support is required for both PIs. If PIs are in the same department, the chair can vouch for both PIs in a single letter.