Microbiome Research Program
2020 Call for Proposals

The deadline for the 2020 Microbiome Research Program has passed. Check back in late June to learn which propsoals were funded.


BCMM seeks to advance the field of microbiome research at UCSF by funding proposals that develop novel tools, promote understanding of microbial-host interactions and foster translational research.

Applications will be funded by two independent mechanisms:

Trainee Pilot Award

1-page Project Description plus supporting documentation

Award level: Up to $10,000 for one year

Faculty Pilot Award

2-page Project Description plus supporting documentation

Award level: Up to $150,000 total over two years


Funds will be awarded to rigorous proposals intended to:

  • Explore novel concepts or hypotheses
  • Expand or integrate microbiota data into a pre-existing study
  • Analyze publicly available data to address a critical hypothesis
  • Develop a new tool (analytical/computational)
  • Development or expansion of center resources (e.g. molecular characterization of strain collection/protocol development)
  • Support analyses of microbial strains/cellular interactions of interest to the field

While computational and bench-based proposals from all areas of interest are encouraged, special consideration will be given to those related to the thematic areas of interest within the center i.e. early life microbiome and therapeutic development. Studies proposing microbial genomic or metabolomic data generation are expected to leverage BCMM technology hubs as part of their proposal (https://microbiome.ucsf.edu/resources).


  • All applicants must submit an application for BCMM membership before submitting their proposal. More information is at https://microbiome.ucsf.edu/membership
  • Applicants for Trainee Pilot Awards must provide a signed letter of support from their PI/supervisor confirming the applicant’s appointment extends through the award timeline
  • Applicants for Faculty Pilot Awards must have a faculty appointment (>50%) at UCSF


Submission Process

Only proposals will submitted online to https://airtable.com/shrZaM4SJYQEfFFsx by 11:59pm PDT on June 5, 2020 will be reviewed.


Proposal Instructions:

All documents should use Arial 11 font; 0.5-inch margins

  1. Online Application Form: Required information includes name of award program, title of proposal, amount of funding requested, and applicant names and emails. Identify the primary applicant and the UCSF department that will manage the award, and the accounting manager/contact name. The link to the form is https://airtable.com/shrZaM4SJYQEfFFsx.
  2. Signed statement from each BCMM Technology Hub to be used in the project (1-page each): The statement should include a summary of services to be provided, approximate cost (to be reflected in budget form) and be signed by the contact person listed below.
  1. Budget form: All applications should use this linked budget form. Applications for Faculty Pilot Awards should also include use this additional budget form for FY02 budget.
  2. Budget Justification (2-page limit): A budget justification is required.
  3. Biosketch (5-page limit): Include for each PI (use NIH format – linked here)
  4. Letter of support from applicant’s mentor (only required for Trainee Pilot Award): All applications for Trainee Pilot Awards should include a letter of support signed by the applicant’s PI/supervisor confirming the applicant’s appointment extends through the award timeline.
  5. Project Description (1 page for Trainee Pilot, 2 pages for Faculty Pilot): The Project Description should include the following sections: Background/Rationale; Specific Aim(s); Approach (including planned use of technology hubs, if applicable); and Impact.  Preliminary data may be included but is not required. Figures must be included within the page limit. Bibliography does not count towards the page limit. Applications for a Trainee Pilot Award should describe how the project and access to training within the BCMM technology hubs (if applicable) will further their career goals.
  • Submission instructions: Once you submit your online application form, which includes all other documents, you will be automatically redirected to https://tinyurl.com/yawzk3rf  to upload your Project Description. Include the primary applicant last name in the document’s file name.


Review Criteria and Selection Process:

The BCMM Executive Committee will review and select awardees based on the review criteria outlined below. Additional ad hoc reviewers with specific expertise may also review applications as necessary.

  • Intellectual Merit: Contribution to advancing knowledge and understanding within the field of study or across fields. Qualifications of the applicant/team and how well conceived and well organized the proposed work is.
  • Innovation & Interdisciplinarity: The extent to which the project will contribute to novel thinking and/or new technology in its field; does the proposal include contributors from multiple disciplines? Do they present a novel approach to the research question?
  • Impact: The contribution to realizing important goals and its potential to provide useful outcomes to society locally and globally.
  • Sustainability: The likelihood that the project will lead to sustainable results: develops new tools or resources, establishes new research directions, initiates new collaborations or generates extramural funding. Extramural funding that may be targeted should be specifically identified in the proposal.
  • Alignment to BCMM goals: The proposed research is significance to human health, particularly from the perspective of early life and/or therapeutic development. Bench-based proposals includes appropriate use of the BCMM technology hubs.


Key Dates:

  • Proposal Submission Deadline: June 5
  • Announcement of Awards: week of June 22
  • Approximate Funding Start Date: July 1 (flexible)


Program Contact:

For questions, please contact Kristin Dolan, PhD ([email protected]).