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TRDRP hosted two webinars on July 26th and August 2nd to help familiarize prospective applicants with the call for applications, letter of intent, application procedures, and answer questions. Below are the recordings and presentation slides:

Thursday, July 26, 2018 (recording)
Thursday, August 2, 2018 (recording)
Applicant Informational Webinar (slides)

Letter of Intent (LOI) and Application Submission Instructions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)       

2019 Call for Applications

We fund research that contributes to the elimination of smoking and tobacco use and mitigates the human and economic costs of tobacco use in California.

The 2019 call for applications refers to applications that will be awarded in calendar year 2019, although some applications and other processes will occur in calendar year 2018.


The Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program of California (TRDRP) administers the portion of state retail taxes on tobacco products that are designated for research within California. This unique source of funding supports investigators at eligible California institutions whose research contributes directly to the elimination of smoking and tobacco use and mitigates its human and economic costs in California.

In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 56 — the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 — which increased the retail tax on tobacco products by $2. Under the 2018 call for applications, TRDRP awarded over $80 million dollars to over 120 scientifically meritorious projects with an overall funding rate of 19 percent. For the 2019 call for applications, TRDRP will have closer to $57 million in allocated funds available to award. This call for applications narrows the scope of research requested in order to better align our funded awards with our mission and the funds available.

To get started:

  1. Determine your eligibility for funding
  2. Explore our eight research priorities (All applications must address one or more)
  3. Review the 2019 call for applications award types and dates and deadlines
  4. Familiarize yourself with our letter of intent and application processes
  5. Contact a program officer with any questions
  6. Use SmartSimple to submit your LOI and application 

All applicants should review the RFP, LOI Instructions, and Application Instructions in their entirety, and must complete all necessary materials using the appropriate templates and forms. Failure to comply with provided instructions may result in administrative rejection of the application.

If you prefer to view the call for applications as a single document:

Call for applications (pdf) last updated January 3, 2019

Highlights of the 2019 Call for Applications

Research priorities. All applications must address one or more of TRDRP’s eight research priorities.

  1. Social and behavioral prevention and treatment
  2. Cancer prevention, treatment and biology
  3. Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases
  4. Environmental exposure and toxicology
  5. Neuroscience of nicotine addiction and treatment
  6. Oral diseases and dental health
  7. Pulmonary biology and lung diseases
  8. State and local tobacco control policy research

Tobacco-related disease remains a research focus. In addition to tobacco policy, treatment, and prevention research, TRDRP is only accepting applications for research projects that substantially focus on tobacco-related diseases. The criteria for determining whether a proposal is eligible include:

  1. Projects in which tobacco constituents or tobacco-related products are integral to the proposed study.
  2. Studies focused on cancers that the Surgeon General has causally linked to tobacco or tobacco-related products.
  3. Studies focused on oral diseases, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, and other diseases that the Surgeon General has causally linked to tobacco or to tobacco-related products.
  4. Observational or laboratory studies of co-use of tobacco products with other substances including cannabis.
  5. Health behavior and health policy research focused on tobacco prevention, treatment, or regulation.

New High Impact Research Projects must directly address tobacco-related health disparities or new and emerging tobacco products. In an effort to more closely align our most generous awards with the most urgent questions in tobacco control, High Impact Research Projects submitted for the first time in cycle 2019A must focus on tobacco-related health disparities or research on new and emerging tobacco products. Please refer to the High Impact Research Project description for eligibility criteria.

Cannabis use and tobacco-related diseases. There remains a critical need to understand the interaction of cannabis and tobacco. The biological and population level impact of these products in combination is of particular interest to inform effective management of health and health policy. New applications that include cannabis must also be related to tobacco or tobacco-related disease. Please refer to the TRDRP cannabis research policy for additional guidance.

NOTE: For studies involving cannabis, investigators are strongly encouraged to refer to their institutional policy on conducting cannabis research before designing studies to avoid conflicts with federal and state regulations. Please refer to the TRDRP cannabis research policy. Also, applicants are required to describe the status of their Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) license for the use of a Schedule I drug in their application, if research using cannabis is proposed.

Changes to proposal requests in 2019 call for applications. TRDRP will accept proposals during two cycles of applications: cycle 2019 A and cycle 2019B. All award types will be accepted in cycle 2019A, while award types will be limited in cycle 2019B. In cycle 2019B, TRDRP will accept new proposals and resubmissions for Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards, but will only accept resubmissions for the New Investigator Research Awards, High Impact Pilot Research Awards, and High Impact Research Project Awards. No new proposals will be accepted for New Investigator Research Awards, High Impact Pilot Research Awards, and High Impact Research Project Awards in cycle 2019B call for applications.

Out-of-state expenses. Due to the mandate that Proposition 56 research dollars must be used within California, a close review of out-of-state budget justification requests will be made. Only a very limited number of projects with out-of-state expenses can be funded.

Letter of Intent (LOI) process. Submission of an LOI is required for all new and resubmitted applications. LOIs will be programmatically reviewed by TRDRP staff to verify consistency with the requirements and adherence with TRDRP research priorities as described in this call. Applicants who submit new proposals for the 2019 call for applications that do not comply with the tobacco-related disease research requirement or the High Impact Research Project requirements described above will not be invited to submit a full application. Invited full applications will have to be substantially similar in their focus on these eligibility requirements as described in the LOI, or will be rejected on programmatic grounds. Resubmissions of proposals initially submitted in response to the 2018 call for applications do not have to comply with these eligibility requirements. TRDRP encourages applicants to contact TRDRP program officers with questions regarding eligibility requirements before submitting an LOI or application.

Once an LOI is approved, the applicant will be notified and the application materials will be made accessible through a link on the TRDRP website.


Resubmission Policy

A resubmission is an unfunded application submitted as a new application during the previous year to any TRDRP peer review panel that has been revised and resubmitted to respond to the critiques under the currently reviewed grant cycle. Please note that TRDRP will accept only a single resubmission of the same or very similar project, regardless of change in application title. Resubmissions are only allowed once during the next two subsequent grant cycles.

An application in grant cycle 2019A can be submitted as a resubmission if a similar application was submitted and reviewed in either of the two grant cycles in 2018 Call for Applications. An application in grant cycle 2019B can be submitted as a resubmission if a similar application was submitted and reviewed in cycle 2018B or cycle 2019A.

Applicants are still required to inform TRDRP of their intent to resubmit through an LOI submission, and must note it as a resubmission (please refer to the LOI/Application instructions for the specific award type). All other applications are considered new applications.

High Impact Research Project Award applications submitted under 2018 Call for Applications may resubmit under the 2019 Call for Applications using the requirements that existed in the 2018 Call for Applications.

Multiple Submissions Policy

TRDRP will accept up to one application per award type per applicant per grant cycle, provided that the proposed research topics and aims are significantly different for each LOI/application.  Applicants may not submit more than one application under a specific award type, and may not submit multiple applications across different award types with a similar research subject. TRDRP reserves the right to reject any LOI or application due to multiple submissions by the same applicant. Unless otherwise stated, Supplement awards are not subject to the multiple submission policy. If more than one submission is deemed meritorious and selected for funding, TRDRP reserves the right to decide which proposal to fund and will not fund an applicant as PI for more than one award across all types in the same grant cycle.

TRDRP Eligibility Criteria

Investigators from California not-for-profit organizations are eligible for TRDRP funding, including but not limited to colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, research institutions, local health departments, community-based organizations, voluntary health agencies, health maintenance organizations and other tobacco control groups. The sponsoring institution, in accordance with its own policies and procedures, should designate the principal investigator (PI). The PI must supervise the research project and any trainees directly and in person. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for eligibility.

In accordance with UC policy, PIs who are UC employees and who receive any part of their salary through UC must submit grant proposals through their UC campus contracts and grants office. Exceptions must be approved by the UC campus where the PI is employed.

Applicants at California-based Nonprofit Institutions: TRDRP will accept applicants from PIs at non-profit organizations or institutions, provided that the organization can manage the grant and demonstrate financial health. The organization must also meet our liability insurance requirements.  If the application is recommended for funding, the University will collect additional information, such as tax ID numbers and financial reports, to review the organization during the pre-funding process to ensure all financial management and project management eligibility criteria can be met.

Submission Process

Submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) is required to apply for all research awards. The LOI must be submitted electronically. Applicants will have access to the application materials if the LOI is approved, at which time applicants will receive an email notification. LOI submission instructions should be strictly followed as stated.

All applicants should review the RFP, LOI instructions, and Application Instructions in their entirety, and must complete all necessary materials using the appropriate templates and forms.  Failure to comply with provided instructions or to submit complete forms may result in administrative rejection of the application.

Review Process and Funding Decisions

Applications will be grouped by priority area and reviewed in a study section by experts from outside of California. The criteria for evaluating applications are described under each specific award type section. TRDRP and its Scientific Advisory Committee will prioritize funding scientifically meritorious applications that are well-aligned with the priority areas described in this call for applications, that provide a balance across these priorities, and that are within the extent of funding that is available.

For more information about the funding process visit the TRDRP website.