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2020 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 2020 call for applications refers to applications that will be awarded in calendar year 2020, although some applications and other processes will occur in calendar year 2019.


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 the use of tobacco products and mitigates the human and economic costs of tobacco product use 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 2019 call for applications, TRDRP awarded over $57 million dollars to 28 institutions across California.

To get started:

  1. Determine your eligibility for funding. (
  2. Explore our research priorities. ( (All applications must address one or more.)
  3. Review the 2020 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 (org/about/staff.html) with any questions.
  6. Use SmartSimple ( to submit your LOI and application.

Review the Call for Applications, LOI and Application Instructions, and complete all necessary materials using the appropriate templates and forms. Failure to comply with provided instructions or failure to submit completed forms may result in administrative rejection of the application. 

2020 Call for Applications (PDF)






Resubmission Policy

A resubmission is an unfunded application that was submitted to TRDRP as a new application in the previous year and resubmitted under the current Call for Applications. 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 and must be submitted in the subsequent Call for Applications.

Please note the following exception: applications originally submitted in grant cycle 2019 A, and not resubmitted in grant cycle 2019 B, are eligible for resubmission in response to this 2020 Call for Applications.

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.

Multiple Submissions Policy

Researchers can submit more than one application, provided that the proposed research topics and aims are significantly different for each LOI/application.

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 tobacco control organizations. 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 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 applications from PIs at non-profit organizations or institutions, provided that the organization can manage the grant and demonstrate sound financial stewardship. The organization must also meet our liability insurance requirements.  If the application is recommended for funding, the centralized business units within the Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) 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.


The only basis on which an appeal regarding a decision concerning the funding of a grant application will be considered is the case of an alleged error in, or violation of, the peer review process and procedures. For example, the principal investigator may believe that he or she has a conflict of interest with a member of the review panel that was not known to the program at the time of the review. Appeals based on substantive disagreement with the peer review evaluation will not be considered. In such cases, applicants may resubmit applications in a subsequent grant cycle.

Before submitting appeals, applicants are encouraged to talk about their concerns informally with the appropriate program officer and program director.

Appeals must be submitted in writing to the vice president of Research and Innovation, University of California, Office of the President, within thirty (30) days of receiving the Summary Statement. The vice president may, if an applicant shows good cause, grant a reasonable extension of time for the submission of the request for review. The appeal must contain a complete statement of the basis for the appeal, including pertinent facts, supporting arguments, and documentation. If the application was submitted through an institution, the appeal must be submitted officially through that institution, and it must be signed by an official authorized to sign for the institution, as well as by the principal investigator. No appeal shall affect any authority of the University of California, Office of the President, the vice president of Research and Innovation, the executive director of the Research Grants Program Office, or the applicable program director.

Upon receipt of an appeal, the vice president of Research and Innovation shall decide if the dispute is reviewable under this appeals policy and notify the applicant, the program director and the executive director of the Research Grants Program Office of the determination. If the appeal is reviewable, it shall be transmitted to an appeal review committee appointed by the vice president. This committee will be comprised of two persons who are knowledgeable about both the type of research in question and the review procedures. The appeal review committee shall provide the applicant an opportunity to submit additional statements and documentation relevant to the appeal review committee's deliberation of the issues. The appeal will consider the application as submitted. Therefore, such supplemental appeals materials may not include additional data or clarification of the original application. The appeal review committee may, at its discretion, invite the applicant and any other person(s) to discuss the pertinent issues with the committee and submit such additional information as the committee deems appropriate. The committee may also request information from the program director regarding the review procedures or other issues raised in the appeal.

Participants in an appeal review (i.e., committee members and outside experts) and any materials considered will be subject to the same rules of confidentiality that govern the initial handling and evaluation of the application.

Based upon its review, the committee will prepare a written decision to be signed by the members. The appeal review committee shall send the written decision as advice to the vice president, who will render a final written decision and transmit it to the applicant, the members of the appeal review committee, the program director and the RGPO executive director. No further appeals within the University of California are available.


Submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) is required to apply for all award types except for Community Partnered Participatory Research Pilot Awards, Rapid Response Research to Accelerate Policy Awards, and Award Supplements. 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 Call for Applications, 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 submission of incomplete forms may result in administrative rejection of the application.


Applications will be grouped by priority area and undergo peer-review 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 (