Population Health

Tier 1 grants: Laying the foundation

The purpose of this tier of grants is to support researchers in laying the foundation for a future project to generate proof-of-concept. Examples of the types of “entry-level” projects this tier of funding can support include, but are not limited to:

  • Completing a population-based research project (e.g., data analysis, literature review, evidence synthesis, comparative study) that requires minimal funding and will position the project team to then pursue proof-of-concept.
  • Completing a needs assessment (e.g., surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups) to identify gaps and priorities for a program, community, research project and so forth.
  • Laying the groundwork for a large grant application through preparatory work (e.g., convenings to identify partners, development of a research agenda or aims, partnership building) foundational to submission of a competitive grant application to internal or external funders.
  • Exploring new research directions for an existing project or project team preparing to pursue proof-of-concept.
  • Testing of a hypothesis by disciplines that do not traditionally see themselves as falling within the “health” space.
  • Capacity-building with a community partner to prepare for a grant application or launch of a proof-of-concept project.

Awards of up to $25,000 per project will be available with a project period of up to eight months.

Application guidelines

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

To encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, applications will only be accepted from project teams made up of either:

  • A minimum of two UW principal investigators (PIs), with each holding primary appointments in different and distinct academic departments; or,
  • A minimum of one UW PI and one PI from a community-based organization.

Applications from graduate student and post-doctoral scholar applicants must include a faculty mentor or faculty collaborator.

Applications should address a component of at least two of the three pillars of population health. Applications must also demonstrate how grant funding will prepare project teams to pursue future proof-of-concept. Tier 1 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.

Funds will be disbursed to the department of the lead UW co-investigator for day-to-day administration. Budgets must be able to accept non-discretionary gift funds. Departments that are not accustomed to working with community-based partners can seek administrative support from the Population Health Initiative.

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.


Applications for Tier 1 grants for projects seeking to build a foundation for more expansive work will be accepted each autumn on the following timeline:

Autumn Quarter 2024

  • Application Due: October 1, 2024 (11:59 p.m. Pacific)
  • Award Notification Made: mid November, 2024
  • Period of Performance: January 1, 2025 – August 31, 2025

Review criteria

Successful Tier 1 pilot research grant applications should:

  • Demonstrate how the proposed project will position the project team to pursue a future proof-of-concept.
  • 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).
  • Propose a framework, methods, approach, and analyses that are adequate and appropriate to the aims of the project.
  • Proposes a project that is feasible within the eight-month limit.
  • Detail an evaluation plan that clearly describes the outcome 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).

Tier 1 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.
  • Propose a project that takes place in a community within the State of Washington, which is a priority for the Population Health Initiative.

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


Awards of up to $25,000 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.

School, college and/or departmental matching funds are encouraged but not required. Matching funds can take the form of either discretionary/non-discretionary monies or in-kind support. Other sponsored research projects cannot be counted as matching funds.

Funds will be disbursed to the department of the lead UW co-investigator for day-to-day administration. Budgets must be able to accept non-discretionary gift funds. Departments that are not accustomed to working with community-based partners can seek administrative support from the Population Health Initiative.

Allowed expenses include:

  • Personnel (i.e., salaries and benefits for faculty and students as well as staff at the UW or a community-based organization)
  • Equipment, materials and supplies
  • Travel, including airfare, 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

All allowable expenses must adhere to applicable University of Washington policies. Please contact your department’s finance lead 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, Calibri 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 (total limit of one page for all three of these items).
  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.
  6. Letters of support are not required, but will be accepted. Limit of two.

Download application template

Submit an application

Applications for the spring quarter 2024 round of funding can be submitted beginning on April 1, 2024. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on Monday, April 15, 2024.

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

Review by the Office of Sponsored Programs is not needed.

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 Tier 1 pilot projects funded to date.

Funded winter quarter 2022 projects
Funded spring quarter 2022 projects
  • Award announcement
  • Mid-project updates
  • Funded autumn quarter 2022 projects
  • Award announcement
  • Mid-project updates
  • Funded winter quarter 2023 projects
  • Award announcement
  • Mid-project updates
  • Funded spring quarter 2023 projects
  • Award announcement
  • Mid-project updates
  • Funded autumn quarter 2023 projects
  • Award announcement
  • Funded spring quarter 2024 projects
  • Award announcement