Independence Support Award

Project Award Amount: $50,000

The purpose of the Independence Award is to support 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 inadequacies of the unsuccessful R01-like proposal. The Independence Support 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 can not apply. Specialists, Residents, and Fellow/Postdocs can not apply, Those who have 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.

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications
The Independence Support Award applications will be reviewed by the Career Development Review Committee. 

  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).

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
STEP 2) Upload your proposal as a SINGLE PDF that includes all the things listed in numeric order in the instructions below. Do not include form fields in your PDF document.


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 and literature cited.

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. 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. 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 and evidence of funding attempts).

  • Specific aims
  • 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) and please round up to the nearest thousand (i.e. instead of $49,867 list $50,000).

Use the following from: PHS 398 From Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period":

Add the network recharge rate to your budget.



Not Allowable

PI Salary





Post Doc Salary



Administrative Support












Personal Computers












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



Patient Care



International Subcontracts



Indirect Costs on Subcontracts



* NIH base salary cap. Generally PI salary support should not exceed 10% of the budget, anything over 10% must be well justified. Multiple PIs can decide how to distribute that 10% salary support among them (e.g., 5%/5% or 6%/4%).

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


5. Budget Justifications: Clearly justify all costs fully.

6. NIH Bio-sketch of Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Investigators and UCSF Faculty Mentor(s) (if applicable) (5 page maximum):

Use this version: Biosketch Version E. Include biosketches for all PIs of a multi-PI application, and any other key personnel such as Co-Investigator(s) or UCSF Faculty Mentor(s). In section "D. Additional Information", list the relevant recent past, planned, active, and pending proposals, including percent effort and total direct costs (annual), where possible. Include a brief discussion of any potential overlap with the current proposal.
7. Letter(s) of support: Provide a letter of support from the department chair or other unit head. If there are multiple (two) PIs, a signature of approval from the Chair is required for both PIs. If PIs are in the same department, the chair can vouch for both PIs with a single signature.