Core Award for Research and Development (CARD)

Award Amount from $25,000 up to $100,000 (Spring Cycle Only) - NOT OFFERED IN SPRING 2024


Cores serve researchers across UCSF by providing essential access to state-of-the-art scientific instruments, services, and advice on experimental design and data analysis. UCSF’s Research Resource Program (RRP) is sponsoring the Core Award for Research and Development (CARD), which will provide funding to aid in acquiring and developing novel cutting edge technology to be delivered as a new and improved product and service through a core or if needed, multiple core facilities. It will also be required that the core/s gather support and work with a minimum of 3 PIs to champion this new service that would benefit other UCSF users.  Funding for these awards is provided by the EVCP’s fund for Core Improvement. 

The award may be used to acquire equipment or services that are NOT currently available at UCSF. The funds may be used to cover maintenance costs during the equipment development period, core staff salaries, training, software, reagents, supplies, and related expenses that can be justified for this R&D effort. Any support equipment purchase considered under this award must be directly related to the R&D effort and the proposal shall describe how the purchase accomplishes that goal. The new equipment/service usage will be required to be documented in iLab. Equipment/services that generates data and has capabilities currently available at UCSF is not supported under this award as there are other mechanisms for funding, such as the Institutional Matching Instrumentation Awards, the Core Assistance Fund, and the Shared Technology Award. Contact the sponsor funding agency if you have questions regarding CARD allowable equipment or other items. It is highly recommended to contact them if you intend on applying, so they can provide feedback on your planned application. We anticipate funding 1-2 awards, ranging from $25,000-$100,000. The funds must be spent within 3 years of receiving the award.


The grants are available to existing certified Campus Cores as well as cores or facilities that plan to become Campus Cores with the help of the award. The cores must also be implemented or scheduled to begin implementation of the UCSF Core Management System, iLab. For assistance in identifying a Campus Core partner or to be scheduled for iLab implementation, please contact the RRP. Applications must have a minimum of 3 PIs participating with a letter of support, indicating how this novel technology/service would benefit the core/s and their own lab operations, along with a commitment of a 5% minimum matching funds of the proposed overall budget to aid in delivering this new service. Proposals may be submitted by directors, technical directors, managers, or supervisors of cores, and may cover more than one core. PI1 and PI2 must be a Core Director, Core Technical Director, Core Manager or Core Supervisor and either: holds a faculty appointment in any series (Ladder Rank, In Residence, Clinical X, Health Science Clinical, Adjunct) or a non-faculty academic appointment (Professional Research Series, Specialist, Academic Coordinator) or be a Lab Research Supervisor 1 or 2 in the Research and Laboratory Career Tracks Family.

Application Process

Step 1) Complete the RAP electronic application

Step 2) Applications will be reviewed and scored by the RAP technology committee and finalists will be selected based on these scores.

Step 3) Finalists will be invited to prepare a detailed budget for their projects and a 10-minute face-to-face presentation. The RRP Strategic Advisory Committee will recommend projects for funding and final decisions will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Research.

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications

Priority will be given to proposals that meet the following review criteria:

  • Demonstration of scientific need for the currently unavailable technology/service, in terms of quality and quantity of anticipated users
  • Possess the potential to enable high scientific impact
  • Offer broad benefit to the UCSF research community
  • Showcase collaboration and teamwork
  • Management plan for the business operations of the new equipment/service within a campus core/s
  • Implement operational changes including merging smaller facilities into a larger operation
  • Invest in operational changes that will provide returns and lead to long-term sustainability
  • Leverage departmental contributions, particularly from multiple departments


STEP 1) Contact the sponsor funding agency if you intend on applying, so they can provide feedback on your planned application.

STEP 2) 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 3) 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: Recommend no more than 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 instrumentation/service development request with an amended application rather than request for different instrumentation.
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(s) - Optionally, you may apply with two PIs. PI1 must be a director, manager or technical director of a Campus Core. If funded, PI1 will be the primary contact for the award set up and management. Only one application is permitted per cycle.

2. Project Title

3. Name of Core/s (and state if approved campus core or intended campus core)

4. Other Source of Funding – Name the 3 PIs who have pledged support and their sources of funding that this award will be used to match. If extramural, provide date of application deadline, if internal name the School or Department or other source.

5. Proposal (recommend no more than 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited)

  1.  Describe the proposed development for the new instrument/technology/service, and its suitability for shared use.
  2.  Provide a clear description of other similar pieces of equipment on campus that are currently available and justify the need for the proposed new equipment/service, for example additional technological capability or improved efficiencies.
  3. Users Table – List Major Users and Minor Users - A minimum of 3 Major users must be identified, but it is highly recommended to identify more. For each Major user list (1) the relevant funding sources that will support research using proposed instrumentation, and (2) the anticipated approximate hours of usage for the first year. For Minor users list only the approximate hours of usage. PI1 and PI2 should be included in this table if they qualify as Major or Minor users. 
  4. Management Plan - Describe: (1) Location of instrument/service and suitability of location; (2) Expertise and training - Describe the expertise of staff that will provide oversight and maintenance of service, how users will be supported, and indicate if training will be available; (3) Users - who will have access to the instrument/services and who has priority for access; (4) Scheduling tracking and billing - how will usage be scheduled, tracked and billed; (5) Describe any additional services that will be provided in relation to the primary instrumentation/service, for example, operation of equipment on behalf of users or as part of a larger process or service.
  5. Financial Plan - Submit a detailed financial plan for long-term operation and maintenance of the instrument/service. Include a table that for year one lists approximate dollars for anticipated expenditures and anticipated income; for years 2 - 5 show approximate amounts. Include a description of the five-year financial plan that describes:
    Operation: Include salary support of expert personnel to operate the instrument/ implement service and provide its routine care and standardization.
    Maintenance: Typically, maintenance costs are fully covered by manufacturer's warranty during year one. In subsequent years, maintenance costs may include a service contract, or funds for local technical personnel (and parts) who will maintain the instrument if such personnel are qualified to do so. If maintenance costs are requested for year 2 or beyond explain why they will not be covered by recharges to users, and how and when sustainability will be reached.
    Supplies: Necessary supplies for operating the instrument/service such as chemicals, cryogenics, and other expendable items.
    Anticipated Income: Enumerate the sources of income such as recharge structure, grants, or institutional support.
  6. Research Areas. Include a very brief (1 short paragraph) description from each of the Major users listed in the Users table and optionally for Minor users. Focus on how their research program will benefit from the requested equipment/service. You do not need to include details of the research program.
  7. Clinical and Translational Research - Please state whether your proposal should be considered Clinical/Translational Research and justify (1 paragraph)
  8. Literature cited (not included in page limit)

6. Detailed Budget

The maximum award amount is $100,000. Please round up to the nearest thousandth (i.e. instead of $97,869 list $98,000). Matching funds for large pieces of equipment may be shared among several sources, including departmental funds and individual research grants, all sources of funding should be listed in the budget including the amount to be requested from NIH or other external sources. All related costs including personnel effort and supplies needed for instrument validation should be included in the budget.

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

Publication fees (max $5K) are allowed.

7. Budget Justification

Clearly state and justify each item in the budget including why this model/service/supplies/reagent/vendor was selected. A quote from the manufacturer is required for review. This award may be used towards cost of equipment, fund maintenance costs, core staff personnel, reagents, supplies, and tuition. For innovative technology that requires development as well as validation this period may be extended. Budgets of more than one year must be well justified and will not be granted for instruments that do not require a development phase.

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.

8. Equipment Disposition

If the PI leaves UCSF, title to the equipment purchased using these award funds (in whole or in part), remains with UCSF.

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

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

10. Letter(s) of Support:

  • Provide a letter from the Research Resource Program certifying the Core’s status as a Campus Core or applying to be one.
  • Provide a letter of support from a minimum of 3 PIs who have agreed to support this R&D proposal, indicating how this novel technology/service would benefit the core/s and their own lab operations, along with a commitment of a 5% minimum matching funds of the proposed overall budget to aid in delivering this new service.
  • Provide a letter of support from the Department Chair or other unit head. If there are two PIs, a letter of support is required for both, but if from the same department, the chair can vouch for both with a single letter. If the Department Chair will provide matching funds this can also be included in a single letter.
  • If the budget includes matching funds from other sources provide a letter of support from each entity that will provide support.