Independence Support Award

Project Award Amount: $50,000


Independence Support Award proposals are intended for investigators who currently have or have completed an NIH career development program award (K series) or another extramural career development grant (*), and have submitted an NIH R01 (or equivalent) application that was not funded.

This award will provide bridge funding to support research costs to address reviewers’ criticisms of the unsuccessful R01-like proposal. This award is designed to support either on-going or new research. Each funded grant will have a maximum budget of $50,000 with a project period of one year, non-renewable. To determine what budget items are allowable please refer to the instruction form. (Some funding agencies allow for no-cost extensions. This will be clarified in the award notification).

All funding agencies require that awardees submit progress reports, the number and timing of which varies between the agencies and will be detailed in the award notification. Any resulting publication(s) must directly acknowledge the funding agency.


 Eligibility requirements need to be met as of date of submission, no waivers will be accepted.

Cycle Break Rule does not apply to this grant mechanism.

Who's Eligible:

  • UCSF Faculty in any series (Ladder Rank, In Residence, Clinical X, Health Science Clinical, Adjunct) and Appointees to the Professional Research Series at ranks of either Assistant or Associate are eligible.  Appointees to the Librarian Series are eligible.
  • MDs, PhDs, DDSs, DMDs, PharmDs, DNSs, PhDs in Nursing, ScDs, DrPHs can apply
  • Proposals may be submitted by either a single PI or multiple PIs(**)
  • Applicants must have received an NIH career development program award (K series) or another extramural career development grant
  • Applicants must have submitted an R01 (or equivalent) application that was not funded and not have received any other R01 (or equivalent) funding.
  • Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed research will address the key research-based criticisms from the unfunded R01 (or equivalent) application, e.g., addressing critique of insufficient preliminary data to support the hypothesis
  • Applicants must demonstrate that the Independence Support Award grant will help the investigator(s) compile sufficient data to improve the likelihood of funding success for the subsequent R01 (or equivalent) application

    (*) Other foundation career development grants (e.g., American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, etc.) or a VA Career Development grant.
    (**) To be eligible to submit a multiple-PI team proposal, the applicants must show evidence of prior collaboration experience.

Who's Not Eligible: Previous awardees of the Independence Support Award cannot apply.  Specialists, Residents, and Fellow/Postdocs cannot apply. Those who received significant funding as PI (or multi-PI) that does not allow them to retain their NIH New Investigator status (see list may not apply.

NOTE:  To be funded by the Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee (REAC) applicants must have an appointment with the UCSF School of Medicine.

Submission Rules

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications
The Independence Support Award applications will be reviewed by one of the RAP review committees based on the proposal research topic.

  1. Received an NIH career development program award or another extramural career development grant.
  2. Submission of an R01 (or equivalent) application that was not funded based on criticism of the research plan, e.g., a finding of insufficient preliminary data to support the hypothesis. Applicants should submit the Summary Statement or Critique from their previous R01-type grant application review.
  3. Potential of the proposal to lead a fully funded independent research grant application.
  4. NIH review criteria: 1. Significance, 2. Approach, 3. Innovation, 4. Investigator, 5. Environment. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score.
  5. Verification of a letter of support from the Department Chair indicating his/her support of the amount of time dedicated to research identified in the application,
  6. Verification of mentoring team and mentoring plan to advance the potential of receiving an R01 (or equivalent award).

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

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; 11pt; minimum 0.5 inch for the margins; no appendices; include page number 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. PI Name (no multiple PIs).  Only one application as PI (PI1 or PI2) is permitted per cycle.

2. Project Title

3. Proposal (maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited, evidence of funding attempts and community engagement component (if applicable)).

  • Specific 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 one year project period for this grant (approximately 300 word max).
  • Background and significance
  • Preliminary studies
  • Experimental design and methods (include time-table)
  • Explain how this application will sufficiently address the research-based inadequacies of the unsuccessful R01-like proposal such that the research project will have improved likelihood of subsequent funding via a new R01 (or equivalent) application.
  • Mentoring plan: describe the plan for oversight of this project by your mentor(s), including the specific role of your primary mentor named in this application.
  • Evidence of funding attempts. 1. Please include the Abstract/Full Summary Statement and Specific Aims of the R01 (or equivalent) application that was not funded. 2. Please provide copies of the Summary Statement or Critiques of previously submitted grants that were not funded. Include correspondence with extramural agencies if appropriate. (Not included in the page limit.)
  • Describe the timeline for submitting a subsequent R01 (or equivalent) application at the end of the project period for this Independence Support Award grant.
  • Evidence of NIH career development program award or another award or another extramural career development grant. Please include a copy of the Notice of Grant Award.
  • Literature cited (not included in page limit).

4. Detailed Budget $50,000 maximum per proposal; round up to the nearest thousand (e.g., instead of $49,869 list $50,000).  

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

    Budget Preparation Resources:



Not Allowable

PI Salary




Network Recharge Rates X  

Post Doc Salary



Administrative Support












Personal Computers












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



Patient Care



International Subcontracts



Indirect Costs on Subcontracts



Publication fees; max $5K  X  

** Administrative support will be limited to an editor to review and consult on previous R01 (or equivalent) application and Summary Statement.

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. Budget Overlap - If the proposed study is closely related or a sub-study of existing funded research listed in the applicant’s bio sketch, clarify the relationship between the two projects and confirm that there is no overlap in funding.

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. Include the letter of support at the end of your PDF proposal and address it to the RAP Committee.