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Scientific Conference Award (CX)

Purpose: To support in-person scientific conferences that will disseminate TRDRP-funded research and convene TRDRP investigators and colleagues from different disciplines. This flexible mechanism allows for conference meetings of varying scale.

All applications must address one or more of our six research priorities.

Maximum Award Amount per Year: up to $50,000

Maximum Duration: up to 2 years

Maximum Award Amount: up to $100,000 (may vary depending on type of conference meeting(s) proposed)

Allowable Direct Costs: Salaries, fringe benefits; supplies; equipment*, travel

Indirect Costs: Not allowed

Other: The funds need to be directed to the PI’s activities, such as staff salary support, consumables or equipment

*Any item costing $5,000 or more

Award Details:

  • Award can support a single event or multiple conference meetings held in-person, which can be simultaneously broadcast live on the internet and/or archived for later viewing on the internet.
  • In order to qualify for funding, the conference objectives must be directly related to one or more of TRDRP's broad research priorities.

  • Conference meetings must take place in California and include TRDRP-funded researchers and colleagues representing multiple disciplines.

  • Conference meetings should seek to increase the capacity of California scientists and dissemination of TRDRP-funded research and other relevant findings.

  • TRDRP staff will have substantial programmatic involvement in the oversight of conference awards. Applicants interested in applying for this mechanism are required to discuss the conference plan with a TRDRP Program Officer prior to proposal submission.

  • The number of conference grants awarded each cycle will depend on results from the peer review, direct cost estimates for each award, demand for the mechanism, and the availability of funds.


Conference award proposals can be submitted at any time through Proposal Central after the original concept has been reviewed and approved by a TRDRP Program Officer. Proposals will undergo peer review at the same time as proposals for other mechanisms, which typically occurs in February or March each year.


A scientific conference is defined as a one-day or multiday in-person meeting that includes multiple scientific presentations, involves multidisciplinary TRDRP-funded researchers, and may include community advocates. The conference meetings should provide opportunities for TRDRP-funded researchers to assemble to exchange empirically-driven information, network, and stimulate ideas for future research and/or tobacco control efforts in California. While an online broadcast or archiving of an in-person conference can be a component of this mechanism, a proposal for an exclusive online event (i.e., webcast or webinar) should be submitted under our Special Projects (ST) mechanism.

Review criteria:

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific and technical merit for conference grant applications. In addition, geographic distribution of conference participants representing rural, southern, and northern California regions will be considered in the review process.

Overall Impact (scored separately): The potential for achieving a clear, short-term or long-term impact on tobacco-related disease research, tobacco use prevention, tobacco treatment, or policy. This includes (1) scientific impact in a sustained manner on the specified tobacco-related research field or, (2) a targeted impact on tobacco use in specific communities, or (3) direct impact on issues governing state and local policies related to tobacco use and control or any combination of these three components.

Criteria-1 (50% scoring weight)

Conference Plan: Are the objectives, specific program, and logistical arrangements for the conference clearly described? To what extent does the format, agenda, and speakers, including the principal topics to be covered, problems to be addressed, and developments or contributions the conference might stimulate relevant to tobacco-related issues in California? Is sufficient justification provided for the conference, including the scientific need, timeliness, and usefulness of the conference to the scientific community?

Applicants are required to submit a list of lead organizing committee members and key conference speakers with letters of commitment. Members of the organizing committee and the speaker roster can be modified later based on feedback from stakeholders and Program staff. 

Is the composition and role of the organizing committee well described? Are the names and credentials of key participants (i.e. speakers, presenters, session moderators) in the conference, including the basis for their selection and documentation of their agreement to participate provided? Does the estimate of the expected size and composition of the audience, as well as the method of selection seem appropriate? Is the geographic distribution of conference attendees considered such that there are opportunities for participation from rural, southern, and northern California? For example, a single conference award could support a meeting(s) in northern California and one in southern California.

Are there plans to publicize the conference to all relevant stakeholders (i.e., California colleagues engaged in tobacco control research, education, and community programs) and publish the proceedings (with the latter plan not being required)? Did the applicant clearly describe how the proposed conference is similar to and/or different from related conferences held on the subject during the past 3 years and how the proposed conference will advance the field beyond prior meetings? If this is one in a series of sequential conferences held by a permanent sponsoring organization, the applicant should briefly describe and provide evaluation data from the last conference in the series, and clearly state the scientific contributions expected from the TRDRP-funded meeting(s).

Applications requesting two years of support must provide the following additional information for each year and each meeting requested, in as much detail as possible:

  • conference topic(s), objectives, and goals
  • tentative dates, locations, and participants (with as much detail as possible)
  • contingency plans for future conferences dependent upon, for example, the outcome of the first year’s conference or developments in the field.

Resource Sharing Plan: Did the applicant describe resources available to them through their host institution that would be used to support the conference(s) and that speak to the potential success of the institution to support a meeting of TRDRP-funded researchers? Individuals should describe other funding and resources that will be used as leverage to expand the scope and reach of the TRDRP-funded conference(s).

Criteria-2 (30% scoring weight)

Community Engagement: Community engagement is encouraged, if it is appropriate to the scientific topics to be presented and discussed at the conference. Applicants are encouraged to include community input and residents, if appropriate, on the conference organizing committee, makeup of the target audience, and in the interpretation and dissemination of research findings in presentations. Community advocates, local lead agency representatives engaged in community tobacco control programs, and school-based tobacco prevention educators may be invited to participate and present if it fits with the scope of the scientific content.

Program Officers can be consulted to assist with recruitment efforts and may recommend involvement of scientists, community-based organizations, and community advocates.

Significance: Does this conference address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, clinical practice, or community programs be advanced? What will be the effect of these endeavors on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive the field?

Innovation: Does the conference employ novel approaches or methods to fulfill its purpose? Does the conference draw together appropriate experts who may otherwise not have an opportunity to meet?

Approach: Are the format and agenda for the conference appropriate for achieving the goals and objectives? Is the conference timely for the subject matter? For applications designating one PI and multiple Co-Is, is the Leadership Plan approach, including the designated roles and responsibilities, governance and organizational structure consistent with and justified by the topics of the conference and the expertise of each of the Investigators? 

Criteria-3 (20% scoring weight)

Investigator(s): Is the PI well-suited for organizing and fulfilling the goals and objectives of this conference? Are the qualifications and past performance of the PI appropriate, and are they well-suited for their described roles in the conference? Are the key personnel and selected speakers appropriate and well-suited for their described roles in the conference? Is the necessary expertise involved for a successful conference meeting(s)?

Environment: Is the conference site appropriate? Does the applicant organization have the ability to contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed meetings, exhibits, interactions, etc., take advantage of unique features of the environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is institutional support evident?

Contacts: Applicants are required to contact a TRDRP Program Officer to discuss their conference plan prior to submitting an application for this mechanism.