Population Health

Pilot research grants

The Population Health Initiative seeks to create a world where all people can live healthier and more fulfilling lives. In support of that vision, the initiative is pleased to offer population health pilot research grants of up to $50,000 each. The initiative is currently refreshing this funding mechanism and will share more about the next round of funding in fall 2021.

These grants are intended to encourage the development of new interdisciplinary collaborations among investigators for projects that address critical challenges to population health.

The initiative granted eight awards in the 2021 round of applications. Two awards were offered in collaboration with the following internal UW partners:

  • EarthLab—One award will be reserved for a project that specifically seeks address the disproportionate impact of climate change on health in vulnerable communities. EarthLab works in partnership with others to co-produce and catalyze actionable science, so preference for this award will be given to interdisciplinary research teams that includes partners from communities that the work seeks to impact.
  • Office of Global Affairs—One award will be reserved specifically for an internationally-focused project through our partnership with the UW Office of Global Affairs.

The performance period for these pilot grants is one calendar year.

Application guidelines

Faculty members and PI-eligible research scientists from all three University of Washington campuses (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma) are encouraged to apply for population health pilot research grants.

To encourage interdisciplinary collaboration across UW departments and campuses, applications will only be accepted from project teams made up of two or more principal investigators (PIs). Each PI must hold primary appointments in different and distinct academic departments.

Applications should address a component of at least two the three pillars of population health. Applications must also represent a new project, innovation or research direction for each of the PIs. The proposed project should provide preliminary data or proof of concept needed to seek outside funding and support. Pilot grant applications should not be an extension of well-established, ongoing or recently funded studies or projects. Pilot grant applications should not be used to bridge funding for existing work.

All applicants must document the support of their respective department (or college/school). While not required, cost sharing is one demonstration of this commitment.

Funds will be disbursed to the department of a single designated Co-PI for day-to-day administration. Budgets must be able to accept revenue transfers.

If awarded, applicants will be required to submit a mid-project written update to the Population Health Initiative detailing their progress against their project evaluation plan. A final report detailing project accomplishments and final budget reconciliation will be due within 60 calendar days following the end of the funding period.


Timeline for the winter 2021 application period was as follows.

  • Application Period Opens: January 4, 2021
  • Application Deadline: January 29, 2021 (11:59 p.m. Pacific)
  • Awardees Notified: mid March, 2021
  • Period of Performance: May 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022

Review criteria

Successful pilot research grant applications should:

  • Demonstrate how the proposed interdisciplinary collaboration will address at least two of the three pillars of population health (i.e., human health, environmental resilience and social and economic equity)
  • Describe how the work is a new collaboration or partnership
  • Demonstrate how the work is innovative and feasible
  • Propose a framework, methods, approach, and analyses that are adequate and appropriate to the aims and time constraints of the project
  • Detail an evaluation plan that clearly describes the preliminary data or proof of concept the project team is seeking and how it will be used to pursue additional funding or concept development (i.e., the measure of a successful project)

Pilot research grant applications are encouraged, but not required, to include the following:

  • Partial or full funding match (in funds or in kind) from the Co-PIs’ schools/colleges/departments
  • Student, staff or intern engagement in the project that furthers educational and training experiences
  • Proposes a project that takes place in a community within the State of Washington, which is a priority for the Population Health Initiative
  • Plans for sustainability of work after funding (if applicable)

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, with the total number of awards varying year-by-year based on available funding.


Awards of up to $50,000 in total expenses per project are available from the Population Health Initiative. A project budget may exceed $50,000 only if the Co-PIs have secured the additional funding as a match from their school/college/department.

Allowed expenses include:

  • Personnel (i.e., salaries and benefits for faculty, staff and students)
  • Equipment, materials, and supplies
  • Travel, including air fare, transportation, and per diem lodging, meals and expenses
  • 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
  • Hosting expenses (e.g., receptions, alcohol)
  • Marketing efforts

Pilot research grants are typically supported by state funding, meaning all allowable expenses must adhere to applicable University of Washington policies. Please contact your department’s finance contact with questions regarding such expenses. In addition, an Office of Sponsored Programs review is not needed prior to submitting an application.

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)
  2. Abstract (250 word maximum)
  3. Description of the pillars the project will address and how/why (250 word maximum)
  4. Research Plan (two pages, including tables and visuals but excluding references)
  5. Evaluation Plan (one page)
  6. Biographies for all investigators (limit of 250 words per investigator)
  7. Budget, budget justification and potential matching funds
  8. Statement of support from department chairs (or dean, if the school/college does not have departments)
  9. Letters of Support are not required, but will be accepted. Limit of two.

Download application template

Submit an application

Applications can be submitted beginning on January 4, 2021. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on Friday, January 29, 2021.

Applications must be submitted as a single .pdf file through the following online submission portal. Applications do not need to be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Submit an application

Please contact us with any questions regarding this pilot research grant or the application process.

Past Awardees

View the abstracts, mid-year updates and final reports for pilot projects funded to date.

Funded 2017 projects
Funded 2018 projects
Funded 2019 projects
Funded 2020 projects
Funded 2021 projects