Funding - Innovation Accelerator Pilot Program

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Population Health Sciences (PHS)


In keeping with its core mission, Spectrum offers grants for accelerating clinical and translational research in biomedical and health-related areas. The Stanford CTSA/Spectrum Pilot Grant Program has two major goals:

  • to stimulate innovative clinical and translational research and
  • to encourage collaborative, transdisciplinary work.


The primary expectation is that these early-stage translational projects will lead to additional research, external support, information dissemination and most important, will develop into longer-term, comprehensive projects.

  • Transdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged but this is not a requirement for funding;
  • Participation of investigators from at least two departments or schools is required for funding in the area of Population Health Sciences.

Population Health Sciences Overview


The Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences (PHS) manages population health (health outcomes, patterns of health determinants and disease states in populations) grants for the Spectrum Pilot Grants Program.  Spectrum Pilot Grants for PHS must have a clear focus on the health of populations. The Stanford Population Health Sciences grants are intended to spur and support novel transdisciplinary research in the areas listed below. Proposals do not need to fit within one dominant category. Instead, we encourage applicants to consider big ideas that may span several areas.

  • The first 1000 days of life
    Exploration of biologic and environmental factors in the first 1000 days of a child’s life from conception to age 2 and its long term impact.
  • Work-life, retirement, disability, aging and cognitive decline
    Dynamics in aging, health and cognitive decline and it effects on work-life, disability and retirement.
  • Sex and gender in health research
    Role of sex and gender in health over the life course; Closing the gender data gaps in health research.
  • Special populations and rare disease
    Risks and progression of disease in rare medical conditions, special population, including underserved groups using large datasets or cohorts.
  • Immigration and health
    Health impacts of immigration in US and other countries; Evaluation of key policies and programs and how it influences economic, social, educational integration and health outcomes.
  • Gene-environment interaction
    Interaction between genes and social-environmental exposures, with focus on “omics”, the microbiome and immune function.
  • Health disparities: Global and domestic
    Reducing health disparities by understanding the roles and interplay of social, economic, environmental, biomedical factors, health-care inequities and relevant public policy metrics driving these disparities.
  • mHealth and other new technologies for health
    Cutting-edge technologies and apps to improve health on a population scale.
  • Analytics
    Innovative computational and statistical methods for acquiring, representing, and analyzing biological, observational as well as clinical data to personalize health care and improve outcomes.
  • The science of community engagement*
    Promising practices and indicators of effective community-engagement. Letter of commitment from community partner(s) (signed by authorized representative of the organization and created on organization letterhead) are required for submission as well as a description of a plan for community engagement in the LOI.
  • The learning health system and the science of care delivery
    Discovery of strategies for improving health care delivery at the point of care by enhancing the EMR to incorporate new data streams and knowledge that will transform our health care system into one that rapidly learns and continuously improves.

*Additional awards are available for these areas

Projects involving multidisciplinary teams, particularly those that span schools, are highly encouraged.

Amount and Period of Funding

  • Typical grants range between $15,000 and $50,000 per year and depend on the specific program and the individual proposal. We encourage investigators to consider submitting requests less than the $50,000 maximum, as this will increase the probability of being funded and will enable us to award more grants. If funded through Spectrum, awards will be granted for one year and must be completed in that timeframe. All unexpended funds will be forfeited if not spent within the 12-month award period.


  • Open to Stanford faculty with PI eligibility (with UTL, MCL, NTLR faculty appointments.)
    We encourage transdisciplinary collaborations; Therefore, participation of investigators from at least two departments or schools is required for funding in the area of population health sciences.
    Clinical Educator (CE) faculty, clinical instructors, instructors, graduate students and post-doctoral scholars (clinical and non-clinical) are required to include a PI-eligible faculty member as co-PI on the application.

Proposal Deadline

  • The Spectrum Innovation Accelerator Pilot Program is postponed. We will post updated information and send announcements when dates are established.

Application Instructions

Letter of Intent (LOI) Submission

  • Proposal Submission:
    • Applicants must choose a primary program area (i.e., SPADA, SPARK, Biodesign, and Population Health Sciences) for the project and may apply to another area if the project meets criteria for both programs.
    • Please communicate with program staff if it is unclear which program area is the best fit.
    • Projects will be awarded only one Spectrum Pilot Grant per annual grant cycle.


  • Page specifications
    • 8.5 x 11” page size
    • At least 0.50” margins on all sides
    • At least 11-point font size
  • Save your documents as PDFs to upload to Qualtrics (online submission)

Applications Must Include The Following Information:

  • A cover sheet that includes:
    • Title of proposal
    • PI name title, email and department
    • Mentor name (if applicable)
    • Co-investigator names, emails and departments - a second department or school is required
    • Amount of funding requested
  • Specific Aim (1-page limit, at least 11-point font):
    • Submit in standard NIH format (Arial font is preferred)
    • Provide a summary of the background, major goals, and specific aims
  • Budget (not part of page limit)
    • Allowable expenditures include: investigator’s salary, research personnel salaries, travel (if project-related) and project supplies.
    • Unallowable expenditures include: capital equipment costing more than $5,000, intellectual property services, and food are unallowable expenses.
    • Do not include indirect cost expenses.
  • Bios of all relevant staff involved in the project. (One paragraph maximum each person; not part of page limit.)
  • Note:
    • References may be included and are not part of the page limit.
    • Do not include appendices to the LOI.
    • Applications that do not comply with the requirements will not be considered for review.

Award Process

The award process is as follows:

  • Submit Letter of Intent. Letters of Intent (LOI) should provide a 1-page overview of the project’s specific aims.
  • Present research idea at “Shark Tank” style event.
    • Invitations to present will be communicated to the most competitive applicants.
    • A “Shark Tank” event will be held. Finalists will be allocated twenty minutes to present their research idea (ten minutes to present and ten minutes for Q&A). Judges, the “sharks,” will announce the winners at the event. In addition to members of the Stanford community, judges will include external affiliates and experts.
    • Awardees will be notified, and grants will be formally awarded.

In general, judges will select applications for consideration as finalists that have made convincing arguments that the investigator(s) is proposing a bold idea or approach that can have a major impact on health at the population level.

Letter of Intent Submission: Although a proposal may span several areas, projects will be awarded only one Spectrum Pilot Grant per annual grant cycle.