Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC) Developmental Projects

Project Award Amount $75,000 direct cost/year for 2 years

The ADRC considers applications for funding once a year, during the Fall Cycle only.

Pilot applications submitted during the Spring cycle will not be considered for funding by the ADRC, though they may be eligible for funding by other RAP agencies

The ADRC will be funding up to two "Developmental Projects" per year, at the Fall RAP application cycle only, from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and other UCSF Memory and Aging funding sources. Each project will be funded for 2 years at $75,000 direct cost/year, for a total of $150,000 direct cost over 2 years for the project.

These projects are intended to support a wide range of biomedical research in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD), including fundamental basic science, clinical/translational science, health policy and social science, and population science. This mechanism is particularly geared towards supporting early career investigators, and is intended to provide adequate funding to establish a new line of investigation, such as a pilot study or the initial data collection or analysis required to promote an innovative hypothesis. They are designed for postdoctoral or junior faculty level investigators, but may be awarded to a more senior investigator whose research is primarily in areas other than ADRD research, but who wants to work in the dementia research field and try a new hypothesis, method, or approach that is not an extension of ongoing ADRD research. The goal is for the recipient to use this award to develop their research program adequately to be in a position to obtain NIH-level research funding and further solidify their career trajectory in the ADRD domain.

The central theme of the ADRC is heterogeneity in dementia, with a focus on young-onset and atypical presentations of AD/ADRD in diverse populations. We aim to explore the features of brain aging, mild cognitive and behavioral impairment (MCI/MBI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD)-spectrum disorders, traumatic encephalopathy syndrome (TES)/chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) to better understand their clinical, genetic, pathological, and molecular underpinnings via data collected in the ADRC Clinical, Path, Biomarker, and Imaging Cores. We are especially interested in the presentations of these conditions in diverse populations, with a focus on Chinese Americans, Latino Americans, and Black/African Americans.

Examples of possible developmental projects are:

  • A study proposed by a new investigator, with an interest in research in AD, before the study has developed to the point of being suitable to apply for R01 or similar support.
  • Functional, mechanistic, or pre-clinical activities designed to move a basic discovery towards a translational endpoint in the near future.
  • A study using recruitment science approaches to enhance representativeness of AD/ADRD research, such as enhancing participation in autopsy in underrepresented groups.
  • A study based on resources collected by UCSF’s ADRC or secondary data analyses, including the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC) data sets, to answer important questions about ADRD.

Examples of unacceptable developmental projects are:

  • A clinical trial.
  • A study by an Associate Professor who has had previous funding in the ADRD field in the past 10 years.
  • A study that is not relevant to neurodegenerative disease. 
  • A study that provides incremental evidence in a well-established area of research.

Developmental projects are for two years and not renewable. A progress report is required 3 months prior to the end of the funding period and one year later, identifying resulting publications and subsequent funding obtained to support the expanded/extended projects. Any resulting publication must directly acknowledge the funding agency.


NOTE: Eligibility requirements need to be met as of date of submission; no waivers are allowed.

Who's Eligible:
UCSF Faculty in any Series (Ladder Rank, In Residence, Clinical X, Health Science Clinical, Adjunct) in the rank of Instructors and Assistant Professors in the early phase of their career may apply. Associate Professors may be considered if they meet the above criteria for an appropriate developmental project.

Appointees to the Professional Research Series and Librarian Series are eligible.

Fellows and Postdoctoral Scholars may also apply.

Submission Rules

Designation of Research Mentor
All developmental award applications from individuals at the Assistant Professor level or below require the designation of a faculty mentor. This should be an individual who has primary responsibility for overseeing the research career development of the applicant.

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications
Projects will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed scientific investigation, the significance of the proposed research for the field of neuroscience/dementia and overall public health, the potential of the proposal to lead future NIH grant applications, and the quality and potential of the applicant and the research team.

Projects that involve human subjects and/or stem cell and/or animal subject research will require human research committee approval before funding is released. If existing IRB and/or GESCR or IACUC protocols for this proposed research, you must submit an administrative modification(s) to update those protocols with ADRC funding – UCSF ADRC P#. If you will submit a new IRB/GESCR/IACUC protocol for this proposed research it must also include ADRC funding – UCSF ADRC P#.

Please note, the funding will not be issued and absolutely no human / stem cell / animal subjects research proposed on this funding may begin until all necessary protocols and/or administrative modification are approved.

The proposal will be evaluated based on the following questions: click here to view the review form for this grant mechanism.

More on the funding agency:
The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center is supporting one award per year ($75,000 direct cost/year each for two years) for promising developmental projects. Funded by the NIH, the national Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Project is a large collaborative investigation involving multiple academic institutions. It is designed to integrate basic science and clinical resources in order to investigate the clinical, molecular, neuropathological and neuroimaging features of Alzheimer's disease (AD), non-AD dementias, and mild cognitive impairment. The UCSF ADRC, coordinated by the Memory and Aging Center in the Department of Neurology, promotes novel dementia-related basic biomedical and patient-oriented research. The ADRC uses standardized and novel methods to examine patients and biological specimens, so that new hypotheses can be tested regarding the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of dementia. Its two overarching aims are: 1) To bridge the gap between laboratory and clinical studies in dementia and aging, and 2) To explore the unique and overlapping symptoms seen in various neurodegenerative diseases.

Selection of Awardees
Funding decisions are made independently by each funding agency based on several factors – scientific review score, alignment of proposal to funder’s strategic goals, proposal research area of focus, and specifically called out eligibility or other requirements like membership in a center, affiliation with a specific school or relevance to a stated auxiliary topic.


STEP 1) Complete the electronic application form.  Please note there are several pieces of information that need to be provided directly via the electronic application form (selecting the appropriate grant mechanism, providing demographic information, uploading an abstract, etc.).

Click here to preview an inactive template of the electronic application form.

STEP 2) Upload your proposal as a SINGLE PDF that includes all the things listed in numeric order in the instructions below. 


Please write your proposal following the instructions listed below and create one single PDF file. Do not include form fields in your PDF document.

Proposal Length: Maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding table of contents, literature cited and community engagement component, if applicable.
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. Make sure the new edits 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". A new letter of support from the Department Chair or other Unit Head is required in all cases.

1. P.I. Name (no multiple PIs)

2. Project Title

3. Proposal (maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited and Community Engagement component (if applicable)).

  • Aims. Do not submit an application that describes an idea that is the same or similar to one used in a previously funded RAP grant. If it is a similar idea, describe how the new proposed research is uniquely different.
  • Feasibility: Describe what steps you are taking to ensure the proposed project can be completed within the project period for this grant (approximately 300 word max).
  • Background and Significance
  • Preliminary studies
  • Experimental Design and Methods (include time-table)
  • Explain how this pilot project is important for your career goals (e.g., lead to major funding, etc.)
  • Mentoring Plan: Please describe the plan for oversight of this project by your mentor(s), including the specific role of your primary mentor named in this application.
  • Literature cited (not included in page limit)

4. Detailed Budget

$75,000 directcost/year for 2 years

Use the following form: PHS 398 Form Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period":

Budget Preparation Resources:

       Standard Budget Components, including information on personnel costs (salary and benefits)



Not Allowable

PI Salary *






Post Doc Salary


Network Recharge Rates X  

Administrative Support












Personal Computer












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



Patient Care



International Subcontractors



Indirect Cost on Subcontractors



Publication fees; max $5K X  

General Guidelines:

*The NIH base salary cap applies.  PIs are required to list their effort whether it is paid or in kind.

PI partial salary support should be well-justified with respect to project activities. Due to their small size, RAP grants are designed for project support and are not intended to provide PI salary support unrelated to the project.  PI salary amounts greater than ~10% of the requested award amount (e.g., $5,000 of a $50K award proposal, not 10% FTE) must be well justified and it should reflect work done by the PI to conduct specific scientific tasks on the project (e.g. data collection, computation) and not merely general supervision of project goals and personnel.

Multiple PIs can decide how to distribute the 10% salary support among themselves (e.g., 5%/5% or 6%/4%).

  • The 10% limit on salary support is a guideline and includes SALARY & FRINGE BENEFITS.
  • Update: General Automobile and Employee Liability (GAEL) are NOT allowable costs.
  • The award amount is DIRECT COST ONLY

5. Budget Justification: Clearly and fully justify all costs.
For all personnel, clearly identify any discrepancies between the actual effort (i.e. real percent time) the individual will contribute to the project, versus the amount of salary effort they are requesting.  This is particularly important for personnel/PI's who expect to contribute project effort with little or no salary, such as those whose salary is above the NIH base salary cap. 
Recall: PI salary amounts greater than ~10% of the requested award amount must be well justified.

NOTE: If your Other Support references projects that may appear to have scientific or budgetary overlap with this proposal, please clearly identify and explain why this proposal is unique and non-overlapping.

6. NIH BioSketch of Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator(s) and UCSF Faculty Mentor(s) (if applicable), (5 page format):

·         Use Form Version H at
·         Include bio sketches for both PIs of a multi-PI application
·         Only NIH Bio sketch version H will be accepted with RAP applications this Spring 2024 Cycle.

Other support pages of Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Investigator(s) and UCSF Faculty Mentor(s)  Use form at

7. Letter(s) of support: Provide a letter of support from the department chair or other unit head. In addition, for early career 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. VIEW SAMPLE