Pilot Award In Precision Imaging of Cancer and Therapy

Project Award Amount up to $50,000  (NOT offered in Spring 2024, back in Fall 2024)


The purpose of these grants is to support pilot studies in Precision Imaging in cancer research including pre-clinical, clinical and translational.

Projects should involve new, high-risk, high-reward collaborative research between a member of Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HDFCCC) and a member of the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging  (RBI) who have not previously collaborated on cancer imaging or who are establishing a new collaboration in one of the following three focus areas: (a) creating a precision 'imageome' that reflects other tumor 'omics'. (b) developing imaging approaches for monitoring novel cancer treatments including immunotherapy, and (c) advancing the development of novel theranostic agents.  The application should aim to gather preliminary data for a future grant effort.  Junior faculty members, specialists, and professional researchers are encouraged to apply.  The pilot project will have a budget of up to $50,000.

Funding decisions will be based on merit, responsiveness to this call for proposals, feasibility of completing the project in a timely manner, and availability of funds.  Pilot projects are for one year. A progress report is required at 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. 

More about PICT

The Precision Imaging in Cancer and Therapy (PICT) program forms a bridge between the RBI and HDFCCC that takes advantage of natural synergies between them. It brings together basic, translational and clinical scientists in order to integrate cutting edge, multi-modality imaging into all aspects of preclinical, translational and clinical cancer research and patient care.  For further detail on PICT see: http://cancer.ucsf.edu/research/programs/pict

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

Who's Eligible: UCSF Faculty in any series (Ladder Rank, In Residence, Clinical X, Health Science Clinical, Adjunct) in these ranks (Assistant, Associate, Full Professors) may apply.  
Appointees to the Professional Research Series and Specialists Series may also apply.  Please note that two faculty members are required in order to apply, one from RBI and another from HDFCCC.

Who's Not Eligible: Post Doctoral Fellows are not eligible.  Instructors are not eligible.

Submission Rules

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications:
Projects will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed scientific investigation, the potential of the proposal to lead to a fully funded independent research grant, and the quality and potential of the applicant and the research team.

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; 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. Names – Two faculty members or specialists who have not previously collaborated or are establishig a new collaboration in one of the three areas of focus described above, should apply (one from RBI and one from HDFCCC).  One of the PIs must be stated on the application as the primary contact (PI1).   If funded, PI1 will be the primary contact for the award set up and management. Both PIs need to meet the eligibility criteria listed for this grant mechanism. 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 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 Future Funding (e.g. Lead to Major Funding, etc.)
  • Literature Cited (not included in page limit)

4.   Detailed Budget  $50,000 maximum 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": 

    Budget Preparation Resources:



Not Allowable

PI Salary






Post Doc Salary



Network Recharge Rates 



Administrative Support












Personal Computers









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



Patient Care



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. 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 https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch-blank-format-rev-10-2021.docx
·         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)  

7. Letters of Support: Provide a letters of support from the department chair or other unit head for each PI. 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 proposal and address it to the RAP Committee.