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DGSOM/BSCRC COVID-19 Research Grant Program
Deadline: June 01, 2021 12:00 PM

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COVID-19 Research Grant Program: Health Equity, Clinical, Translational, and Basic Science Research

Sponsored by the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) and the Broad Stem Cell Research Center (BSCRC)

Open to applicants at UCLA, Olive View-UCLA, Harbor-UCLA, Greater Los Angeles VA, and Charles R. Drew University

Strategic Vision
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across our country and the world in Spring, 2020, UCLA and the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) were faced with an obligation and unprecedented challenge to use scientific approaches to address its devastating impact on human health and its diverse impacts on our community. To meet this obligation and challenge, Task Forces in Clinical, Basic/Translational, and Health Equity Research were established, along with an Oversight COVID-19 Research Committee (OCRC). 

These committees aim to facilitate and coordinate diverse COVID-19 research activities—from laboratory research to clinical trials to public health and policy research. To date $11M in funds have been provided by selfless donors and philanthropic organizations. Hundreds of proposals have been submitted and roughly 60 short-term grants have been awarded. The initial emphasis was on projects that had the greatest potential to impact the course of the pandemic’s first wave, including:
  • Clinical research activities in the areas of therapeutic and vaccine development and evaluation, as well as viral and antibody testing and the analysis of other host responses that have the potential for near-term impact on patient treatment and containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Innovative basic and translational research efforts that have the potential to improve our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the COVID-19 disease, and its physiological manifestations, with an emphasis on projects that may ultimately lead to therapeutic approaches.
  • Research initiatives that address local and nationwide COVID-19-related inequities with respect to disease susceptibility, prevention, treatment, public health monitoring, access to care, and health outcomes.
At the start of 2021 there continues to be philanthropic support for the world-leading and highly-impactful DGSOM COVID research enterprise. Now with the development of successful vaccines, the landscape of the most impactful research areas is evolving. Going forward, the OCRC and supporting committees will continue to consider proposals for COVID-related research in all areas outlined above with some key new directions prioritized for funding including:
  • Understanding the long-term sequelae of COVID infection.
  • Determining the mechanistic basis of susceptibility and the impact of pre-existing conditions.
  • Addressing the underlying socio-structural inequities that have resulted in the disparate health, healthcare, and social outcomes that have emerged.
  • Promoting vaccine access and acceptance throughout the LA community.
  • Preparing society, as well as the scientific and healthcare enterprises, to respond more rapidly, effectively, and equitably to future infectious disease epidemics and pandemics.
DGSOM/BSCRC COVID-19 Grant Program
Detailed application instructions along with eligibility and evaluation criteria can be found in the COVID-19 Grant Program RFA. As we look to encourage bold collaborative team projects with potential for significant impact across basic, translational, clinical and health equity arenas, we are increasing the maximum request limit to $500,000 in total direct costs.

Applications for projects at all levels of funding will be considered and applicants should know that the committee will be looking to match the size of an awarded budget with the scope, significance and potential impact of the proposed project. Applications are brief and are accepted on a rolling basis.

The advising committees will evaluate proposals in a timely way that best allows for identification of the most impactful projects across a group of applications while also providing quick turn around on decisions. Final decisions are made by the OCRC, with input from the Task Forces and others with appropriate expertise. Awardees must be ready to initiate the research immediately and no later than two weeks following issuance of the award letter.

Funding can be awarded for up to a 1-year period, with half of the funding committed initially and the remaining half provided half-way through the funding period after an evaluation of progress. Evaluations are confidential and written reviews will not be provided.

Funding Opportunity Time Period
Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. This funding opportunity is expected to continue until funds have been depleted.

Contact Information:
Please contact Steve Peckman (speckman@mednet.ucla.edu) for general questions and Task Force leaders for specific questions about funding priorities.

Health Equity Research and Advisory Committee Co-Chairs:
Christina Harris, MD
Enrico Castillo, MD MSHPM

Basic/Translational Science Task Force:
Gay Crooks, MBBS
Emilie Marcus, PhD

DGSOM-CTSI Clinical Research Task Force:
Judith Currier, MD
Arash Naeim, MD

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