UCSF's RAP Spurs Research Excellence

Major Increase in Applications and Funds Awarded

The UCSF Resource Allocation Program (RAP), which allows researchers to submit for multiple funding opportunities through one grant application, was established five years ago with the goal of streamlining the intramural award process at UCSF.

This umbrella funding organization not only has done just that, but it continues to grow, awarding more than $4.6 million this past academic year.

“We set out to harmonize the application process by providing standard, centralized and transparent processes for submitting, reviewing and tracking of intramural research funding,” said Emy Volpe, JD, program manager for RAP.

While it was expected that having a single source of contact would improve the funding process, there also has been a 66-percent annual increase in application submissions. “That’s a good sign for the overall, long-term success of RAP,” Volpe said.

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In total, RAP awarded $4,631,455 through 22 research grants for academic year 2011-2012 – an increase of $1,120,266 over the previous year. RAP offers an additional six grants that go through an independent review process.

RAP currently offers two funding cycles per year: a spring cycle with a March deadline, and a fall cycle with a September deadline. The next round of applications are due Monday, Sept. 24.

What makes the RAP application process unique is, while applicants choose the most appropriate grant mechanism initially, the participating funding agencies select and fund proposals that fulfill their own criteria, Volpe said. For researchers, that means the likelihood of support is enhanced significantly with just one click of the “submit” button.

The variety of grants offered cover basic, clinical and translational research, and are available for investigators at every stage.

“RAP awards provide crucial pilot funding to catalyze research and career development opportunities,” said Alice Fishman, senior program officer for Strategic Opportunities Support (SOS), a program of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). “This seed money has helped junior faculty and established researchers pursue new ideas and secure additional funding. In fact, over the past five years, RAP awards have resulted in more than $40 million in extramural funding for UCSF.”

RAP, launched by CTSI’s SOS in 2007, reflects UCSF’s vision of having its agencies collaborating to achieve shared goals. RAP now resides in the newly formed UCSF Research Development Office.

The 2012 cycle included six new grant opportunities and enabled the broadest audience to date to compete for funds. Applicants included students, residents, technicians and staff members.

Funding is available for career development and to conduct studies in disciplines including basic HIV, cancer, clinical HIV, clinical sciences, health policy and social sciences, mobile health research, molecular medicine, neurosciences and technology.

The RAP review process utilizes 10 highly specialized review committees and draws from a large pool of faculty reviewers, who are matched with each proposal to provide a transparent, peer-reviewed process. Each funding agency chooses to fund proposals based on a combination of these common reviews and its programmatic goals. This partnership allows for a wide range of meritorious proposals to be funded.

Review success stories and learn more about the next application deadline on Monday, Sept. 24.