UCSF Diabetes Research Center (DRC) Pilot & Feasibility Awards

Project Award Amount: Up to $50,000

(Offered in Fall 2020 cycle)

This grant will not be reviewed by RAP review committees; It will be independently reviewed by the sponsoring agency. 

The DRC Pilot & Feasibility Program is funded through a Center grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to stimulate new directions in diabetes research regardless of a laboratory's traditional focus. The aim is to support basic or clinical studies that, within the 12 month award period, will become sufficiently developed to continue as an enduring, extramurally-funded program. Pilot funding of up to $50,000 per application is available for 12 months from the time of award. Please ensure that your proposals represent one-year projects.

Grantees may apply competitively for bridge funding at the next annual cycle only if an extramural, preferably federal, grant application in which the seed data originates primarily from the pilot & feasibility award is already under review. 

Enhanced Pilot & Feasibility Awards of up to $100,000 for each of one or two years will be considered for highly exceptional proposals in clinical and translational research studies, innovative partnerships between clinical and basic research or in development of broadly useful and innovative technologies. To apply for Enhanced Awards, prior approval must be obtained from the DRC Director (Dr. German) and the DRC Executive Committee.

All grantees will be expected to participate in meetings with DRC faculty and other grantees to provide advice for the successful completion of the studies. The aim is to provide sufficient financial support and mentoring to allow the seed research to continue as an enduring, extramurally-funded program.

Any resulting publications must directly acknowledge the DRC grant award.

Within a five year funding cycle for the center grant (currently 2015-2020), a PI may receive no more than one pilot grant.  Applicants can only submit one proposal per cycle.


P&F support is intended to allow the development of entirely new and exciting directions in diabetes research. Applications are encouraged from UCSF Faculty who are:

  • early stage investigators developing a diabetes research program.
  • established researchers not currently conducting studies directly related to diabetes but who desire to translate their non-diabetes research programs into a bold, new diabetes-related direction.
  • established researchers in diabetes who seek to develop entirely new research directions in diabetes.

Who's Eligible: UCSF Faculty in any Series (Ladder Rank, In Residence, Clinical X, Health Science Clinical, Adjunct) in the ranks of Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, Full Professors are eligible.

Who's Not Eligible: Residents, Fellows, Post-Docs, Instructors, Specialists, Research Series.

Submission Rules

Criteria for Review

Proposals submitted to this grant mechanism are independently reviewed by external (non-UCSF) reviewers. The reviewers will examine the proposals for innovative research that will generate, within one year, seed data sufficient for future NIH grant applications in any aspect of clinical or basic research directly related to type diabetes. Collaborative efforts with UCSF faculty currently engaged in diabetes-related research may better enable the successful completion of the approved research programs.

All DRC Pilot and Feasibility applications will be pre-reviewed by the DRC Executive Committee. Selected applications will be sent out to 2-3 extramural reviewers. The UCSF board makes funding decisions based upon the extramural reviews and portfolio balance of the applications. Evidence of required approvals must be provided before any funding is released.


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.

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. 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.

Proposal Length: Maximum 2 pages, including figures and tables. References are excluded from the page limit.
Format Requirements:  Arial font; 11 pt; minimum 0.5 inch for all margins; no appendices; include page numbers.

1. P.I. Name(s) - Optionally, you may apply with two PIs. If funded, PI#1 will be the primary contact for the award set up and management. If the proposal has multiple PIs, both PI#1 and PI#2 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 2 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited)

  • Do not submit an application that describes an idea that is the same or similar to one used in a previously funded grant. If it is a similar idea, describe how the new proposed research is uniquely different.
  • Feasibility: briefly describe what steps you are taking to ensure the proposed project can be completed within the one year project period for this grant.

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).  PIs are required to list their effort whether is paid or in kind.

Use the following form: PHS 398 Form Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period": http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html
Add the network recharge rates to your budget.



Not Allowable

PI Salary



Co-Investigator(s) Salary



Post Doc Salary



Administrative Support












Personal Computers












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



Patient Care



Subcontractor Indirect Costs



As a guideline, budget items should be included for personnel and supplies that the typical reviewer would deem necessary to achieve the goal of obtaining results sufficient for an NIH grant proposal within one year. *Travel is allowed to defray the costs (~$75/individual) of the PI and the staff member(s) working on the project to attend the annual DRC retreat. Equipment, Software and, in very rare circumstance, computers may be allowed only if specific to the approved project; standard laboratory equipment is not allowed. Subcontracts to other investigators are allowed, but no indirect costs will be provided to those sub-contractors.

5. Budget Justification: Clearly and fully justify all costs.

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

Use the latest available NIH Biosketch form. 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 all current, completed in the past 3 years, 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.  https://rap.ucsf.edu/sites/g/files/tkssra4646/f/biosketch-blankformat_RAP_version%20E.pdf

7. External Reviewers: Please provide the names, affiliations, addresses and contact information (email and phone) for 3-5 prospective extramural reviewers of your application. Please do not include any investigators with whom you have a recent or active collaboration or other conflict of interest as defined by the NIH Office of Extramural Research. Indicate with 1 sentence the area of expertise relevant to the application for each potential reviewer.

8. Letter(s) of support: Provide a letter of support from your 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 proposal 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.