Population Health

COVID-19 rapid response grants

CDC coronavirus imageThe Population Health Initiative launched a COVID-19 rapid response grant program to support the University of Washington research community in quickly responding to the vast array of population health-related challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awards of up to $20,000 each were available. The initiative funded 21 grants, with one of the awards supported by the university’s Office of Global Affairs. The period of performance for these awards is four months.

Applications were due on April 16, 2020, and awards were announced on April 29, 2020. You can learn more about the awardees by visiting our News page. Final project results can also be found on that page.

Purpose of grant

The purpose of this funding call is to rapidly accelerate, or jumpstart, novel research designed to better understand or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on multiple facets of life. Our call is broad in scope, and applications can propose interventions in areas including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Basic research/understanding the fundamental mechanisms of the virus
  • Basic research on population dynamics and social contexts influencing infection spread and containment
  • Diagnostics
  • Treatments
  • Approaches to rapidly scaling production of personal protective or essential equipment like ventilators
  • Preparing for effective mass immunization once a vaccine becomes available
  • Economic and social impacts and recovery approaches, including addressing issues of equity
  • Mental health impacts
  • Risk communications/flow of information/impact of communicating interventions like social distancing/other communication

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.

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


The timeline for this funding call is as follows.

  • Application Period Opens: April 6, 2020
  • Application Deadline: April 16, 2020 (11:59 p.m. Pacific)
  • Awardees Notified: late April, 2020
  • Period of Performance: 4 months, beginning as soon as possible

This opportunity is intended for rapid response. 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 four-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 able to accept revenue transfers.

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 or mitigate the 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 four-month limit

Applications that include matching funds and/or are proposed as an interdisciplinary collaboration 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, April 6, 2020. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on Thursday, April 16, 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.