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    The Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) within the Office of Research & Innovation (R&I) oversees a broad portfolio of research programs and grants, representing over $100 million a year in funded research.

    RGPO programs enhance UC’s research capacity and excellence, which helps attract and retain world-class faculty, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and companies to California. These grants also enable health researchers and community agencies to collaborate and solve the most pressing problems in the state.

    Rapid Response Investments in COVID-19 Research

    In FY20-21, RGPO collectively invested $6.9 million in research to address COVID-19. Over 110 projects received funding from the Emergency COVID-19 Research Seed Funding and COVID-19 Research Continuation Funding initiatives. The information below outlines the funding RGPO programs brought to bear to benefit California and the world during this health emergency.


    To help California address some of the critical needs brought on by the COVID-19 public health crisis, the grantmaking programs of the UC Office of the President, the Research Grants Program Office (RGPO), immediately made $2.7 million available in emergency funding to support urgent research to help mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic.

    Of that figure, $2.1 million was awarded by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, the California Breast Cancer Research Program, the California HIV/AIDS Research Program, the Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives, and the Type-1 Diabetes Research Fund to support $25,000 seed funding proposals submitted in response to a request for applications (RFA).

    These six-month projects addressed critical needs resulting from the pandemic and placed focused on innovations that would benefit individuals at high risk for coronavirus infection, particularly those in racial and ethnic communities experiencing disparate health outcomes. An additional $623,725 was provided by UC Research Initiatives to support UC campus research to address the pandemic.

    RGPO invited applications on a rolling basis to achieve its rapid response goal and notified applicants of their funding status within two weeks. This streamlined process resulted in a one-month turn-around time from the RFA release date (April 6, 2020) to selecting the final awards (May 6, 2020).

    In all, 85 projects totaling $2.1M were awarded to investigators throughout the state. Seed award recipients were invited to apply for follow-on funding in the form of one-year pilot grants (see below).

    Read the Press Release on the RGPO COVID-19 Emergency Seed Funding Award

    The UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) also extended its Spring 2020 application submission date to provide UC faculty time to respond to the pandemic. The 3-campus UC Coronavirus Assembly Research Consortium received $1.7 million to understand how COVID-19 assembles itself into a viable virus to propel the development of  pharmacological strategies to prevent infection or improve treatment outcomes.   

    Read the Press Release on MRPI Funding


    "The timing was perfect and this ended up being one of the most productive short-term studies I’ve ever led.

    Our entire social landscape has changed since COVID. This study helped my team and I understand those changes; we’ve really reframed how we’re investigating health risks among women experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. This is all thanks to collaboration between researchers, but also collaboration between the research team and funders (you!)

    I wanted to acknowledge you and your hard work as being critical to the overarching mission of improving science and medicine, especially for vulnerable populations."

    We invite you to use the interactive graphs below to learn about these RGPO-funded seed projects.

    Hovering over the last column in the tables provides a description of the anticipated short-term deliverable from each project. Please see instructions for downloading the information in the tables at the bottom of the webpage. To return to the unfiltered view, re-click the selected item.

    Awards by Institution and Research Category

    The first graph shows the number of awards by institution and by research category. The research categories are a hybrid of the COVID-19 critical research areas designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and RGPO research priority areas. Note: some awards have more than one designated category. Clicking on the Institution, Research Category or bars will filter the list of awards in the table below the graph to show only the awards comprising the selection.

    Download Instructions:

    1. Make sure you have clicked on the awards table/list (not the graph) for which you want to download the data, without filtering or selecting rows if you want to download the whole table.
    2. At the bottom of the dashboard, click the Download button.
    3. Select ‘Data’: Opens a new tab in the browser window and displays the table’s data in summary. You can then download the data as a comma-separated value (.csv) file.


    Building upon the initial Emergency COVID-19 Research Seed Funding Initiative, RGPO provided an additional $2.4M for a limited competition to support the continuation of rapid research to prevent coronavirus infection, improve clinical management of COVID-19, track and monitor viral dynamics, and inform the development of vaccines and therapeutics. Priority was given to applications that addressed such co-morbid conditions as cancer, HIV infection, and tobacco-related diseases. In addition, a special focus was placed in funding decisions on addressing the needs of populations at greatest risk for coronavirus infection and associated adverse health outcomes.

    Twelve continuation awards, which were available only to the 85 seed awardees, provided a maximum of $150,000 direct costs and 1-year project periods. Review criteria included projects’ potential for near-term (12-24 months) impact on the detection, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 disease, and/or a reduction in the community and social burden of COVID-19 in California; methodological rigor and dissemination plans; and the feasibility of the proposed work under the shelter-in-place orders.

    Full list of COVID-19 Research Continuation Funding Awards (PDF).

    List of selected publications from RGPO Emergency COVID-19 Research Seed Funding Awards (PDF).