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Innovator Grants Program

Promoting research and collaborative scholarly projects to advance the academic interests of our faculty and the strategic themes of our department.

2023 Request for Proposals

We are pleased to announce the request for proposals to the 2023 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Innovator Grants Program. The Innovator Grants Program is designed to promote research and collaborative scholarly projects advancing the academic interests of our faculty and the strategic themes of the Department. Projects across the full spectrum of science and scholarship are encouraged.

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 related to the five missions of the department (budget: $2K-$10K)

Key Dates

  • 08/04/23: Proposals Due
  • 10/02/23: Awardees Notified
  • 11/01/23: Funding Begins
  • 05/01/24: 1st Interim Report
  • 11/01/24: 2nd Interim Report
  • 05/01/25: Final Report
  • 11/03/25: Post-completion update

In addition to encompassing a wide array of topics in psychiatry, neuroscience, and mental health, special attention will be given to fostering innovation and advancements in these fields. This includes but is not limited to clinical interventions, education, and addressing the social and structural determinants impacting mental health and overall well-being.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 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, and Instructors 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.
  • 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.
  • Affiliates, graduate students, residents*, fellows, postdoctoral scholars, 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.
  • Note: trainees (graduate students, residents, postdoctoral scholars) are eligible for department’s Trailblazing Trainees Awards.

*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

Applicants should propose projects that are feasible and can be completed within 18 months. No extensions are permitted.

Awardees will be notified on or before October 2, 2023 with funding to begin on November 1, 2023.

Selection Process

A review committee will 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.


Recipients are requested to provide interim reports at 6 months (5/1/24) and at 12 months (11/1/24), a final report at termination (5/1/25), and a post-completion update (11/3/25). Publications resulting from the work should acknowledge the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Innovator Grants. Once the funded projects are announced, it is the PI’s responsibility to consult directly 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 the June 2024 Department Retreat or at other appropriate venues.

Application Guidelines

By 6:00PM, Friday, August 4, 2023, please submit one PDF file containing the following in the order listed below via the online application:

File naming convention: “LASTNAME_2023Innovator.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.

  1. Title Page: 1-page limit, include the following
    1. 2023 Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Innovator Grants
    2. Project Type – Pilot or Scholarly
    3. Project title
    4. Name(s), title(s), and email(s) of PI or Co-PIs
    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. Problem statement
    2. Specific Aims
    3. Project plan, including timeline
    4. Description of potential impact
    5. Up to 5 references
  3. Budget and budget justification: 1-page limit
    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 limit
    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:

Aimee-Noelle Swanson, Ph.D.
Director of Research Development, Integrity, and Strategy
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford School of Medicine
(650) 736-4559

Funded Projects by Year

The Innovator Grants Program is designed to promote research and collaborative scholarly projects advancing the academic interests of our faculty and the strategic themes of the Department with two offerings:

  • Pilot Studies in novel scientific areas that have high potential to lead to competitive grant applications
  • Small Scholarly Projects related to areas including education, clinical care, community and health systems, and professional development

Projects across the full spectrum of science and scholarship are encouraged each year, and a large number of highly meritorious applications have been received, far exceeding the amount of funding available. The selected projects represent those most highly rated by reviewers and recognized for salience and balance across department missions. 

Pilot Studies

Qingyu Zhao, Ph.D. (PI)
Neural and Behavioral Risk Factors for Depressive Symptoms in Emerging Adults during COVID-19

Small Scholarly Projects

  • Erin Cassidy Eagle, Ph.D. (PI)
    Promoting Psychological Wellness in Older Adults
  • Huiqiong Deng, MD, PhD (PI)
    A survey study of Asian college student mental health during COVID in the United States
  • Mari Kurahashi, M.D., MPH (PI)
    Developing Digital Parent-Based Psychiatric Treatments to Address the Pediatric Mental Health Access Crisis
  • Jonathan  Lee,  M.D., MBA (PI)
    Using Text Analysis and Online Survey Experiments to Study Distrust in Public Health Institutions
  • Daryn Reicherter, M.D. (PI)
    “I want my. Stōkt T.V.”  Producing a short film-based Toolkit based on “The Psychology of Stoked" undergraduate course to help address the California High School system’s mental health crisis.
  • Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. (PI)
    Building Research Interest (BRIGHT) in Psychiatry Training: A Pilot Inclusive Research Career Pipeline Program

For general inquiries about this program,
please contact Kyle McKinley, Program Manager, at kylemck@stanford.edu