Population Health

COVID-19 economic recovery research grants

Image of storefront with a closed due to COVID-19 signThe Population Health Initiative launched a COVID-19 recovery research grant program to support the University of Washington research community in quickly responding to the vast array of economic-related challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awards of up to $20,000 each were available. The period of performance for these awards is five months.

Applications were due on May 31, 2020, and 18 awards were announced on June 16, 2020. You can learn more about the awardees by visiting our News page. Final project results can also be found on our News page.

Purpose of grant

The purpose of this funding call is to rapidly accelerate, or jumpstart, novel research designed to better understand, mitigate, or reverse the economic impact of COVID-19 on multiple facets of life. Our call is narrower in scope than our previous round of rapid response grants, and should focus on economic recovery-focused research topics such as:

  • Digital divide between those with computer and internet access and those without
  • Emergency financial responses (e.g., all forms, including cash transfers, credit relief, federal loans and grants, lines of credit, payment relief)
  • Equity and inclusion (e.g., gender equity, low-income individuals and families, vulnerable and underrepresented populations, rural populations)
  • Fiscal policies, monetary policies, and other economic stimulus measures
  • Housing and rental markets
  • Labor mobility
  • Limiting risks at work sites and keeping workers and customers safe
  • Non-profits and social services providers
  • Pandemic-related learning disparities in K-12 and higher education
  • Regulatory economics
  • Role of individuals’ and group’s risk perception and/or behavior (e.g., uptake of public health measures, sense of safety in engaging in economic-generating activities)
  • Sector-specific responses (e.g., retail, health systems, hospitality)
  • Small businesses, informal firms, and the gig workforce
  • State and local funding for key services (e.g., schools, police, fire)
  • Supply chains, trade, and procurement
  • Youth employment

Applications proposing approaches to modeling, testing, diagnostic, personal protective equipment (PPE), therapeutics, and prophylactics will be accepted ONLY IF the focus is implementation within a specific economic-related recovery effort. For example, researching the implementation of a testing or PPE deployment strategy that allows schools or businesses to safely remain open.

Project ideas can be proposed that will either (1) quickly bring to bear new knowledge, or (2) that will allow work on a larger, longer-term project to begin immediately as the project team continues to seek the necessary external funding for the bigger component. Ideas impacting recovery related to the immediate UW community are of particular interest.

Applicants are required to propose projects involving interdisciplinary collaborations – either within or outside the university – as the initiative views such partnerships as being critical to improving health and well-being.


Open to faculty members and PI-eligible research scientists from all three University of Washington campuses (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma).

Applicants are required to propose projects involving interdisciplinary collaborations as the initiative views such partnerships as being critical to improving health and well-being.

Collaborations must be between either (1) two individuals in different and distinct academic departments at the UW, and/or (2) a UW investigator working with a community partner.


The timeline for this funding call is as follows.

  • Application Period Opens: May 18, 2020
  • Application Deadline: May 31, 2020 (11:59 p.m. Pacific)
  • Awardees Notified: early June, 2020
  • Period of Performance: 5 months (July 1 – November 30, 2020)

This opportunity is intended for rapid response to the economic challenges the pandemic has created. All proposed projects must therefore either:

  1. Be appropriately scoped so all work can be completed within the four-month period, or
  2. Be scoped as a five-month project that acts as a key, foundational step for a larger, longer project for which you are currently seeking external funding (i.e., allowing you to begin work immediately).

If successfully awarded a grant, the project team will be required to submit a brief, final written update to the Population Health Initiative 30 days after the project ends detailing their project’s results against their project evaluation plan.


Awards of up to $20,000 in total expenses per project are available from the Population Health Initiative. We encourage applicants to request no more than is required to complete the proposed work to maximize the number of projects supported by this funding.

Funds will be disbursed to the department of the investigator (or designated co-investigator) for day-to-day administration. Budgets must be non-discretionary and able to accept gift funds.

Allowed expenses include:

  • Personnel (i.e., salaries and benefits for faculty, staff and students)
  • Equipment, materials, and supplies
  • Tuition for graduate students
  • Other direct costs related to the project (must detail the expense and include rationale)

Unallowable expenses include:

  • Indirect/overhead costs
  • Publication and patent cost
  • Office supplies
  • Administrative support
  • Marketing efforts

Review criteria

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. Proposes a project with the clear potential to better understand, mitigate or reverse the economic impacts of COVID-19
  2. Proposes a framework, methods, approach, and analyses that are appropriate to the project aims
  3. Proposes work that is feasible within the five-month limit

Applications that include matching funds will receive priority in the event that two proposals receive the same review score.

Members of the Population Health Initiative executive council will review and score all applications, and will, if needed, consult with appropriate subject matter experts as part of the evaluation process. Awards will be granted to the highest-scoring applications.

Application format

Applications must meet the following standards:

  • Submitted as a single PDF file
  • Paper size no larger than standard letter (i.e., 8 ½” x 11”)
  • Margins of at least 0.5 inch (top, bottom, left and right)
  • Single-spaced
  • Eleven-point font or larger using either Arial or Times New Roman
  • Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%
  • We do not require a specific citation format

Each application must contain the following sections:

  1. Completed cover sheet (project title, total budget, applicant names, and 250-word abstract)
  2. Research plan (one-page limit, including tables and visuals but excluding references)
  3. Evaluation plan, project timeline, and brief biographies for all investigators (one-page limit)
  4. Budget and budget justification (one-page limit)
  5. Please provide verification of matching funds if a cost share is proposed. A .pdf of an email from the individual making the commitment is sufficient.

Download application template

Submit an application

Applications can be submitted beginning on Monday, May 18, 2020. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

Applications must be submitted as a single .pdf file through the following online submission portal.

Review by the Office of Sponsored Programs is not needed for these applications.

Submit an application

Please contact us with any questions regarding this rapid response grant or the application process.