Pilot for Anti-Racism Research


Project Award Amounts: $10,000 or up to $50,000, depending on award type (see below) 


The UCSF Office of Research is committed to guiding equitable research conduct, building capacity for research on racism in biomedical research, and for supporting research using anti-racist and racial equity approaches. Toward this goal, the Research Development Office (RDO) has developed this anti-racism research seed grant program through its Resource Allocation Program (RAP). Base funding for this initiative is provided by the Academic Senate, School of Medicine’s Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee (REAC), and the UCSF Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTSI).

Note: The Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism are developing a consultation service to support the conduct of anti-racist research. To request a consultation in support of a RAP application for this mechanism, please email [email protected]. The service can provide assistance on a range of topics including study design, application of anti-racist frameworks, and more.

For this funding cycle, the program theme will have a broad focus on research projects addressing anti-racism involving any race/ethnicity. We are again offering two separate award types:

  1. $10,000 for a Pilot for Anti-Racism Research Capacity Building Grant
  2. $50,000 for a Pilot for Anti-Racism Research Project Grant

We anticipate making 2-3 $10,000 capacity building grants and 1-2 $50,000 research project awards.

Background and Definition of Terms:

Race is a social construct, a social classification based on phenotype, that governs the distribution of risks and opportunities in our race-conscious society.”1 In the United States, race is largely centered around skin color and other arbitrary markers of difference. The socioeconomic and political forces that create racism determine its content and importance. An assessment of race, measures this societally imposed identity and consequent exposure to the societal constraints. Racism operates at several levels:

  1. Individual and Interpersonal: Individual acts of discrimination and prejudice, stereotypes, hate.
  2. Institutional and Structural: The unfair policies, practices and procedures of particular institutions and systems that routinely produce racially inequitable access for people of color to services, goods, and opportunities.
  3. Internalized: where the members of stigmatized races accept and adopt racially prejudiced negative messages about their own abilities and intrinsic worth (attitudes and behaviors that lead to discrimination and stereotyping of their own racial group. 1

‘Race’ has often been inappropriately used in medicine and biomedical research as a proxy for genetic ancestry and admixture. However, race does play a powerful role in influencing individuals’ health, not due to innate biologic differences but to the health-harming effects of racism and oppressive social forces.1,2

Anti-Racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably. Anti-racism examines and disrupts the power imbalances between racialized and non-racialized people, to shift power away from those who have been historically over-advantaged and towards people of color. Critical Race Theory is a central framework for anti-racism scholarship, driving the understanding and uprooting of the causes of racial hierarchies and their consequences. Anti-racism research uses approaches such as the Public Health Critical Race Praxis for applying Critical Race Theory to empirical research of “contemporary racial phenomena, illuminating disciplinary conventions that may inadvertently reinforce social hierarchies and offers tools for racial equity approaches to knowledge production.”3

Although anti-racism research includes a focus on health inequities, it differs from research more narrowly focused on health disparities by explicitly examining the contribution of racism, particularly structural racism, to disparities and by examining the racial context in which the research is conducted, such as power sharing among community stakeholders in the research process.

1  C. Jones, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11495851/
2  L.N. Borrell et al., https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMms2029562
3  C. L. Ford & C. O. Airhihenbuwa, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20822840/

Anti-Racism Research Pilot Grants will be awarded in two categories:

  1. Capacity-Building Projects ($10,000 maximum): these are capacity building awards to support development and strengthening of partnerships between UCSF research teams and stakeholders from under-resourced communities to enhance their shared capacity for conducting anti-racism research, and working with them collaboratively to identify research questions, study design, etc. for a subsequent project. Through these planning grants, we seek to support efforts to conduct and build capacity for research using anti-racist approaches. We are particularly interested in supporting projects exploring the multiple levels at which structural racism impacts health and well-being, and exploring promising approaches to dismantling structural and institutional racism. Applicants must indicate the general subject matter that would be the focus for developing a future specific collaborative research project (e.g., middle school disciplinary policies, housing insecurity, or telehealth barriers). The expected outcome of a pilot award in this category is a collaboratively developed plan for an anti-racism research project that articulates specific research questions and crafts a design for a research study or approach to answer the research question(s). Applications must specify the community stakeholders partnering in the project, the plan for supporting their involvement, and the process for creating the deliverables required for the pilot award. Community stakeholders are broadly defined, and may include individual community members or patients, community- and faith-based organizations serving under-resourced populations, civic organizations (e.g., school districts, police departments), and other entities. It is expected that a substantive portion of this award will be allocated specifically to support community stakeholder participation (e.g., salary/stipend, local travel, childcare, meals, etc.)
  2. Research projects ($50,000 maximum) these awards will support research studies using an anti-racist framework. Although this award amount may be sufficient for conducting some types of research studies (e.g., analysis of secondary data, an observational study), we will also consider funding projects collecting pilot data or refining interventions if the award may enhance the ability of the study team to apply for larger extramural awards using an anti-racism framework. Research projects must include clear articulation of the approach to community engagement and role of community stakeholders as research partners.

    Research projects may include (but are not limited to):
  • analysis of new or existing data that informs or examines the effects of racist policies or anti-racist initiatives;
  • a historical analysis of the roots in racism of current policies or institutions with a focus on addressing these roots in current policy and practice in the biomedical research or healthcare setting;
  • evaluations of anti-racist policies, programs or training initiatives.

For both Capacity Building and Research Project applications:

Traditional biomedical research projects that simply add a focus on inclusion of diverse or historically excluded populations will be considered non-responsive to this initiative. Rather, this pilot grant program is meant to support anti-racism research.

We encourage a diverse pool of applicants from faculty at all stages of their careers and who are from groups historically excluded in healthcare, medicine, and public health.

Pilot projects are for one year and not renewable. (Some funding agencies may allow for no-cost extensions. This will be clarified in the Award Letter.) All funding agencies require progress reports at the completion of an awarded project. The number and timing of those reports varies between the agencies and detailed information about this will appear in the respective funding agency’s Award Letter.


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

Who's Eligible as a UCSF PI:

UCSF Faculty in any Series (Ladder Rank, In Residence, Clinical X, Health Science Clinical, Adjunct) in the ranks of Instructors and Assistant/Associate/Full Professors may apply. Appointees to the Professional Research Series in the rank of Assistant/Associate/Full Research can also apply. Appointees to the Librarian Series may also apply. Every proposal must have at least one PI that meets the Faculty eligibility requirements defined above.

Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee (REAC) can only support projects from UCSF School of Medicine faculty PIs.

Who's Not Eligible as a UCSF PI:

Fellows are not eligible. Specialists are not eligible.

Submission Rules

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications
Projects will be evaluated based on:

  1.  Team composition:
    • The team should include a UCSF PI(s) as well as substantively include community stakeholders, some of which may also serve as a multi-PI; If using a multi-PI structure, a UCSF PI will serve as the contact PI;
    • The unique value of the research team should be clearly addressed;
    • The quality and potential of the applicant and the project team to successfully complete the proposed specific aims of the proposed project.
  2.  Quality of the proposed project:
  • For the Capacity Building project grant, the plan for supporting community stakeholder involvement, and the process for creating the deliverables required for the pilot award should be well articulated.
  • For the Research project grant, the specific aims should be well-described and address a research question using an anti-racist framework. The methods and approach should be well-conceived and described. The feasibility of successfully achieving the proposed project aims in one year should be addressed.
  • Priority will be given to proposals that clearly explicate connections between the principles of and theoretical frameworks for anti-racism, and the study aims and approach.
  1. Potential impact and significance of project: The potential of the proposed project to lead to clear and actionable next-steps through the lens of anti-racism and racial equity should be described.

In addition, the following specific evaluation criteria will be considered:

  1. Priority will be given to PIs who have been historically excluded in healthcare, medicine, and public health research (Under-Represented Investigators (URI)), as defined by the UCSF Office of Diversity and Oureach (https://diversity.ucsf.edu/programs-resources/urm-definition);
  2. Priority will be given as well to projects with cross-sector and/or trans-disciplinary teams, where “sector” refers to community, government, non-profit, industry, academia, etc. and where “discipline” refers to research expertise. Pilot projects that involve human participants will require IRB approval before funding is released.

Selection of Awardees
Funding decisions will be made independently by each funding agency based on factors including:

  1. Scores and ranking from the review committee:
  • Review by a RAP-independent review committee consisting of UCSF faculty and staff with relevant research expertise and members of the public community solicited through existing partnerships of CTSI’s SPHERE advisory board, Community and Collaboration Core, and Hub Research Capacity Core;
  • Projects will be scored on several criteria and then ranked for funding by the committee for project feasibility, potential for impact, and alignment to campus-community partnership goals

     2. Alignment with the funder’s strategic goals.


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. 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 3 pages for the Capacity Building Project grant and maximum of 6 pages for the Research Project grant, including figures and tables, excluding table of contents and literature cited.

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


Note: Because the program and RFA has been updated this cycle, all submissions are 'new submissions'.

Requirements: A new letter of support from the Department Chair or other Unit Head is required in all cases.


  1. PI Name(s)-You may apply with multiple PIs. If funded, PI1 will be the primary contact for the award set up and management. At least one PI must have a UCSF faculty appointment. Only one RAP application from any person named as a PI (PI1 OR PI2) is permitted per cycle.
  2. Project Title
  3. Proposal (maximum 3 pages for the Capacity Building Project grant and maximum of 6 pages for the Research Project grant, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited)
  • Lay Summary: Provide a brief summary of the capacity building or research project that ensures that complex ideas and technical and scientific terms can be understood by those without prior knowledge about the subject (300 word max).
  • Feasibility: Describe what steps you are taking to ensure the proposed project can be completed within the one-year project period for this grant (300 word max).
  • Background, Specific Aims, and Significance
    • Capacity Building Project proposal:
      1. Describe the general subject matter that would be the focus for developing a future specific collaborative research project (e.g., middle school disciplinary policies, housing insecurity, or telehealth barriers) and the importance of this topic.
      2. Describe how successful completion of the deliverable project outline may enhance the ability of the study team to apply for larger extramural awards using an anti-racism framework.
    • Research Project proposal:
      1. Describe how successful completion of the proposed project increases the understanding of causes of racial hierarchies and their consequences, and/or will identify structural anti-racism strategies or will inform structural policy change.
      2. Clearly articulate how the research studies will use an anti-racist framework and contributes to a culture of anti- racism in medicine or biomedical/health research.
      3. Describe how successful achievement of the aims may enhance the ability of the study team to apply for larger extramural awards using an anti-racism framework.
      4. Research projects must include clear articulation of the approach to community engagement and role of community stakeholders as research partners.
    • Describe relevant preliminary research studies and/or existing projects/relationships with community stakeholders.
    • Experimental Design and/or Methods [include a clear plan of project execution including a detailed timeline (12 month project period) and intended outcomes]
      • Capacity Building Project proposal:
        1. Applications must specify the community stakeholders partnering in the project and the plan for supporting their involvement.
        2. Describe how you will collaboratively create a plan for an anti-racism research project that articulates specific research questions and crafts a design for a research study or approach to answer the research question(s).
      • Research Project proposal: Effectively detail your experimental design, highlighting the methodological anti-racism framework.
    • Literature cited (not included in page limit)

It is recommended that PIs with projects involving human subjects prepare an IRB application concurrently with the application for funding. Please refer to the UCSF Human Research Protection Program to determine if your research requires IRB review and if your research meets the definition of human subjects research.

  1. Detailed Budget – Either $10,000 maximum for Capacity Building Project or $50,000 maximum for Research Project, per proposal; round up to the nearest thousand (i.e., instead of 49,867, list $50,000).

Use the following form: PHS 398 Form Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period" http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.

Budget Preparation Resources:
    OSR: Develop a Budget
    Standard Budget Components, including information on personnel costs (salary and benefits)
    NIH: Develop Your Budget



Not Allowable

PI Salary *



Co-Investigator(s) Salary



Post Doc Salary



Network Recharge Rates



Community member participation compensation



Administrative Support












Personal Computers












Research Staff Support (e.g., RSA; LabTechnician) or Convening Faciliator



Patient Care



International Subcontracts**



Indirect Costs on Subcontracts at other Universities



Publication fees; max $5K 




































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) insurance are NOT allowable costs.
  • The award amount is DIRECT COST ONLY.

If you need assistance with budgeting for statistical or recruitment help, please contact Consultation Services. Consultation Services offers a free hour to all researchers per project and service, and it can assist with appropriate budgeting if your project is awarded.

5. Budget Justification: Clearly justify all costs fully.

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):

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

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 document 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. VIEW SAMPLE.

If applicable, provide a letter of support from all community partner groups.