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Dolores Gallagher-Thompson & Larry Wolford Thompson
Caregiver Research and Practice Fund

Seed grants in the field of caregiver research and practice.

2024 Request for Proposals

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is pleased to announce a new request for proposals to support seed grants in the field of caregiver research and practice. Such seed grant proposals should focus on projects that will increase our understanding of the mental health needs of family caregivers of adults with chronic mental illness, substance use disorders, and/or physical illness. Specifically, we want to learn the stressors experienced by caregivers, and how this kind of caregiving affects the caregivers’ mental health so that appropriate interventions can be developed to reduce this stress and improve caregivers’ quality of life.

Caregiving is defined as giving assistance to another family member that goes above and beyond usual support of family members for one another, such that it becomes burdensome to the caregiver. For example:

  • A caregiver who works outside the home while being responsible for ensuring that the care recipient takes their medications as prescribed.
  • A spouse experiencing the stress of being married to an individual who has made at least one suicide attempt.
  • An adult son or daughter who recognizes that their parent has begun drinking heavily and using cannabidiol (CBD) following a traumatic accident or injury.

Too often caregivers have been overlooked in our current mental health system. This may result in delays in seeking care, worsening symptoms, and other negative outcomes. Our experience with caregivers of chronic and serious medical conditions has taught us that caregivers are “the hidden patients” who typically do not seek services for themselves, often due to time constraints, financial limitations, and lack of available services. Caregiving research in dementia and other medical conditions has found that interventions can assist family caregivers in distress. We want to extend that knowledge to include caregivers of adults with chronic mental illness, substance use disorders, and/or physical illness who have not been well-studied.

Key Dates

  • Proposals Due: January 23, 2024
  • Award notifications: March 1, 2024
  • Interim Report: June 1, 2024
  • End of Funding Period: July 31, 2024
  • Final Report: August 31, 2024
  • Follow-up Report: December 15, 2024

Note: The funding cycle is based on a 6-month project timeline; funded projects in good standing may be eligible for a one-time no-cost 6 month extension upon approval by the steering committee.

This program is designed to promote research and collaborative scholarly projects across the full spectrum of science and scholarship pertaining to caregiver research and practice. Two types of applications will be considered:

  • Pilot Studies in novel scientific areas that have high potential to lead to competitive grant applications (budget: up to $25K)
  • Small Scholarly Projects (budget: $2K-$10K)

Proposals shall include a 2-page project description, a budget and budget justification, and short biographical information for established team members. Projects will be evaluated based on scientific merit, feasibility, relevance to departmental priorities, likelihood to lead to future research opportunities/funding, and the strength of the PI and investigative team.

Below are examples of projects that could be feasible in the 6-month period:

  • Scholarly projects leading to a publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Evidence synthesis, such as systematic review or meta-analyses
  • Secondary data analyses of existing data
  • Planning grants to establish collaborations and/or community partnerships that will result in an extramural grant proposal
  • Data collection to strengthen response to reviewers for revision of an already-submitted grant proposal relevant to this field
  • Adding caregiver-specific primary data collection to an ongoing, IRB-approved project.

*** Primary data collection projects that involve creating a new IRB application are not likely to be able to secure IRB approval in time to collect data, given the short turn-around time on these grants. Instead, we recommend working within an existing IRB and submitting an amendment / modification. These are typically reviewed quickly, thus rendering it more possible to collect pilot data during the available time frame.

Examples of Research Questions Appropriate for this RFA

  1. What is the mental or physical health impact of living with a family member who has made repeated suicide attempts?
  2. Do older adults with PTSD require more caregiving than younger adults in coping with PTSD?
  3. What are the racial/ethnic or gender differences in caregiving experiences when supporting a loved one with a substance use disorder?
  4. What are key stressors experienced by family members who provide support and medication management to an older adult who has been chronically depressed for many years, with poor response to medications and psychotherapy?
  5. How have digital health interventions changed the extent to which caregivers are involved in care?
  6. What is the evidence base for including caregivers in providing medications for people with opioid use disorders?
  7. What are barriers and facilitators to implementing effective interventions for caregiver distress?


  • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty on the University Medical Line (UML), University Tenure Line (UTL), and Non-Tenure Line (NTL), Clinician Educators (CE), Clinical Instructors, Instructors, Post-Doctoral Fellows and Subspecialty Fellows are invited to apply. Please note that PI waivers are not required for this funding opportunity.
  • Each faculty member and Instructor can serve as PI on only one application. 
  • Affiliates, graduate students, psychiatry residents* and research associates are not eligible to serve as Principal Investigators and are encouraged to apply with the leadership of a PI-eligible faculty member or Instructor mentor. 
    • Multiple PI projects are permitted, but one individual must be designated as the project leader for ease of communication. The project leader must have their primary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

*If you are a resident in Psychiatry and are going to be requesting protected time, please discuss this accommodation with your Division Chief prior to submission.

Postdoctoral fellows, Subspecialty Fellows, and early career faculty should identify a faculty mentor whenever possible.  If you do not have a suitable faculty mentor, please reach out to Dr. Ranak Trivedi (ranakt@stanford.edu) for consultation during proposal preparation to finalize this aspect of the proposal.

Applicants should propose projects that are feasible and either can be completed or that are likely to make substantial progress within 6 months.

Awardees will be notified on or before March 1, 2024; funding will begin immediately. 

Selection Process

A special steering committee has been established to evaluate proposals based on scientific merit, feasibility, relevance to departmental priorities, likelihood to lead to future research opportunities/funding, and the strength of the PI and investigative team. Funds up to $25, 000 can be requested if well-justified. Smaller grants may also be awarded (e.g., $10,000 to pay an RA to do background research leading to a scoping review on the topic of interest).  See below for Budget instructions.


Publications resulting from the work should acknowledge the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Caregiver Research and Practice Fund. Once the funded projects are announced, it is the PI’s responsibility to directly consult with Stanford’s regulatory bodies (IRB, APLAC, etc.) to ensure that the proposed project is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines for research. Recipients will be asked to present a poster at  Department Retreats or at other appropriate venues.

Application Guidelines

By 6:00PM, Tuesday, January 23, 2024, please submit one PDF file containing the following in the order to the SmartSheet portal:

File name: “LASTNAME_2024Caregiver.pdf”

All proposal applications should use at least 11-point font size, 1-inch margins for all pages, with standard word and single line spacing. Pages should be numbered consecutively at the bottom right. The page header should contain the name of the Project Leader and a short title.

  1. Title Page (1-page limit):
    1. 2024 Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Caregiver Research and Practice Fund
    2. Project title
    3. Name(s), title(s), and email(s) of PI or Co-PIs
    4. Name of mentor, if relevant. If not applicable, note “Mentor: N/A”
    5. Name(s), title(s), department(s), school(s), and email(s) of co-investigators (if applicable)
    6. One sentence summary of the proposal
    7. Amount of funding requested
  2. Project Proposal (2-page limit):
    Two pages including any/all figures, excluding references. Hyperlinks to relevant published papers are encouraged. Preliminary data is not required, but may be included. No appendices are allowed. Include the following:
    1. Research Question (see below for examples)
    2. Background
    3. Specific Aims
    4. Methods
    5. Anticipated Findings
    6. Description of potential impact including plans for applying for extramural funds
    7. Team including mentor(s)
    8. Timeline with GANTT chart describing monthly milestones
    9. Up to 5 references
  3. Budget (1-page budget and budget justification)
    The budget should reflect the period of time funds are requested and can include salary (including PI and research personnel with corresponding fringe benefits including TGP), equipment, project supplies, food, and support for community collaborations. The budget may not include honoraria for Stanford University faculty or staff members. Funds cannot be directed to subcontracts or to discretionary accounts. Please note that the School of Medicine has a mandatory 3% telecommunications charge on all salary. Indirect costs are not applicable. 

  4. Investigator Biographies (1-page)
    Short, one paragraph biographies (<300 words) for PI/Co-PIs, co-investigators, and/or key personnel should be provided. Text should include titles, academic rank, and key achievements. These can be hyperlinked to longer form University profiles.

Proposals that do not conform to the above guidelines will be returned without review. All grants will be scored, but detailed feedback will not be provided to the applicants.

Please direct all inquiries to:

Ranak Trivedi, PhD, FSBM, Steering Committee Chair

on behalf of the Dolores Gallagher-Thompson & Larry Wolford Thompson Caregiver Research and Practice Fund Steering Committee:

  • Ranak Trivedi, PhD, FSBM, Steering Committee Chair
  • Heather Gotham, PhD, Steering Committee Member
  • Christine Gould, PhD, Steering Committee Member
  • Debra Kaysen, PhD, Steering Committee Member
  • Dolores Gallagher Thompson, PhD, ABPP, Emeritus Consultant