Review Process

The RAP review process utilizes 11 highly specialized standing review committees and draws from a large pool of UCSF faculty reviewers.  We aim to match reviewer expertise with each proposal to provide a fair, rigorous, and transparent peer-reviewed process that will encourage and stimulate research.

The review committees are organized by subject area.  Proposals are reviewed by two faculty with expertise in a closely related field and discussed by the entire review panel.  Proposals are scored according to the criteria listed in the descriptions for each mechanism following the NIH 1-9 scoring system. Applications that receive initial scores of 4 and 5 or higher (using NIH 1-9 scoring system) from both reviewers (A and B) can be "triaged" (not discussed) if the committee agrees.

At the end of each competition cycle, Principal Investigators (PI1) receive written reviews and final scores. Triaged proposals (not discussed) only receive the review comments.  





Additional Guidance on Strengths/Weaknesses




Exceptionally strong with essentially no weaknesses




Extremely strong with negligible weaknesses




Very strong with only some minor weaknesses



Very Good

Strong but with numerous minor weaknesses




Strong but with at least one moderate weaknesses




Some strengths but also some moderate weaknesses




Some strengths but with at least one major weakness




A few strengths and a few major weaknesses




Very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses

Minor Weakness: An easily addressable weakness that does not substantially lessen impact

Moderate Weakness: A weakness that lessens impact

Major Weakness: A weakness that severely limits impact

Applicants select the review committee they deem most appropriate; RAP reserves the right to reassign application to a different review committee.

Resubmissions are always re-assigned to the committee that performed the initial review.

The Career Development Review Committee only reviews the following grant mechanisms:  

  • Family Support Award
  • Hardship Awards
  • Under-represented Faculty & Senior Fellows in Clinical and Translational Research Awards

Independent Review 
Proposals submitted to the following grant mechanisms are not included in the RAP review; they are independently reviewed: 

  • Catalyst
  • Core Assistance Fund (CAF)
  • Environmental Health Research Pilot Award
  • Pilot for Anti-Racism Research

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.

If you are interested in serving as a reviewer for RAP, please contact us at: [email protected].

RAP Review Committees:

Basic HIV/AIDS, Infectious Diseases & Global Health
Satish Pillai, Chair         
The Basic HIV/AIDS Infectious Diseases & Global Committee reviews proposals related to HIV pathogenesis -- basic molecular biology, immunology/cellular biology techniques, viral sequencing, genotypic analyses. Proposals focused primarily on bacterial pathogenesis are also assigned to this committee.

Boris Bastian, Co-Chair; Michelle Melisko, Co-Chair
The Cancer Committee reviews cancer, including clinical and basic sciences

Career Development
Mandana Khalili, Chair   
The Career Development Committee reviews applications broadly ranging from basic science to epidemiological and policy research. These grants are specifically intended for underrepresented faculty, faculty requesting professional development leave, and faculty who have experienced particular hardship.

Clinical HIV/AIDS, Infectious Diseases & Global Health
Carol Camlin, Co-Chair; Grant Dorsey, Co-Chair 
The Clinical HIV/AIDS Infectious Diseases Committee reviews applications pertaining to HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases which have a clinical research focus -- translational, clinical, behavioral-epidemiological, social/behavioral, prevention, and treatment.

Clinical Sciences I
Sharon Chung, Chair
The Clinical Sciences Committee reviews studies in which the specific aims are focused on clinical questions, including clinical trials, correlative analyses of patient samples, and population-based studies.

Clinical Sciences II
Jennifer Lai, Chair 
The Clinical Sciences Committee reviews studies in which the specific aims are focused on clinical questions, including clinical trials, correlative analyses of patient samples, and population-based studies.

Digital Health Research
Kate Rankin, Chair         
The mHealth Review Committee reviews applications in mobile health (mHealth) that propose feasibility studies, pilot and field evaluation studies, and methods and policy projects. These studies should aim primarily to culminate in the generation of new knowledge on mHealth methods, efficacy, effectiveness, or policy. mHealth is defined as the use of mobile technology in conjunction with Internet and social media to improve health and wellness and/or to manage disease.

Social, Behavioral, & Health Policy Sciences
Janet Coffman, Chair  
The Social, Behavioral, & Health Policy Sciences (SBHPS) Committee reviews applications under the T2 and Research Policy RFPs, as well as policy and social science-focused applications submitted under RFPs not defined by subject matter (e.g., pilot research).

Molecular Medicine
Holger Willenbring, Co-Chair, Julie Sneddon, Co-Chair        
The Molecular Medicine Committee reviews basic and translational science applications in subject areas not related to cancer, HIV/AIDS, and neurosciences. Studies are basic cell and molecular biology, and disease-related translational studies. Studies encompassing genetics and genetic epidemiology are also included.

Stephen Massa, Chair  
The Neurosciences Committee reviews a broad group of applications that range from human clinical and behavioral studies, to disease-related laboratory-based studies, to more fundamental neuroscience.

Roland Henry, Chair       
The Technology Committee reviews proposals for shared equipment and technology development. The Shared Equipment proposals usually request funding for larger pieces of equipment that can be used in multiple research projects by multiple PI’s. Although encouraged to place such equipment in core facilities, this is not an absolute requirement. Technology development proposals are directed towards development of equipment or applications that are technology based.