The Marcus Program in Precision Medicine Innovation 2020 Call for Proposals

The Marcus Program in Precision Medicine Innovation, funded by the generous support of George and Judy Marcus, is excited to announce a 2020 Call for Proposals. For all details, please see the attached RFA. Note there are a couple of new modifications to our program.

Due to funder circumstances beyond our control, the application deadline for the Marcus Program in Precision Medicine Innovation 2020 Call for Proposals has now been extended to Monday, December 21st. The review process will be completed by the end of February, and we expect funding to start soon thereafter.

Call for Proposals Announced

October 16, 2020

Proposal Application Deadline

Monday, December 21, 2020

Announcement of Awards

By end of February 2021

(target funding start - early 2021)

Project Timeline

1 year

The Marcus Program in Precision Medicine Innovation (MPPMI) seeks to fuel innovation in precision medicine by fostering creative, high risk, high impact team science projects supporting the precision medicine continuum. The MPPMI again invites proposals for 2020 funding in three award categories, Seeding Bold Ideas, Transformative Integrated Research, and ELSI in Precision Medicine.

For proposals to the Seeding Bold Ideas and Transformative Integrated Research mechanisms, projects:

  • should support translational precision medicine research with a strong basic science core;
  • require two or more PIs (multi-PIs): at least one a basic scientist, and at least one a clinical, social/behavioral, implementation, computational or population scientist; existing or newly formed teams are both eligible;
  • should employ high-risk thinking and approaches that will likely yield explicit “deliverables” (including discovery that the idea was wrong) after one year; and
  • are encouraged to employ population health and health equity strategies or to integrate novel computational methods such as those that contribute to building the Information Commons or Knowledge Network.

In addition, with the complexities of new clinical and research technologies (e.g., gene-editing) and with novel use of personal health data (e.g., collectively, in the ‘knowledge network’), we are now faced with new and unprecedented ethical, legal, social implication (ELSI), implementation, and policy matters. In order to fully realize the vision of Precision Medicine, innovative research addressing such social science issues is critical. To that end, we are renewing the ELSi-focused grant: Marcus Program in Precision Medicine Innovation (MPPMI) – ELSI in Precision Medicine.

For the ELSI in Precision Medicine mechanism, projects

  • should address an innovative ELSI, implementation, health economics, or policy project, tethered deliberately to a precision medicine application (e.g., data stewardship and sharing, economics of precision medicine applications, precision medicine and health disparities, role of genetic exceptionalism in policy development, participant rights and engagement, etc.);
  • require two or more PIs (multi-PIs);
  • should employ high-risk thinking and approaches that will likely yield explicit “deliverables” (including discovery that the idea was wrong) after one year.

Human Subjects Research

To address the need for timely and efficient stakeholder input in research, the UCSF CTSI has established a Patient and Community Advisory Board (PCAB). The PCAB provides review and feedback for UCSF clinical and translational research. Community stakeholders include patients, clinicians, community-based organizations, civic agencies, and other groups who have a stake in the outcomes of clinical research. Involving representatives from these groups early in the research process is important not just for socially responsive science, but also makes for more successful translational research by facilitating recruitment and retention of representative study participants, enhancing the feasibility of study interventions, and promoting successful dissemination of findings to target audiences. All investigators conducting human subjects research funded by a Marcus Award MUST seek PCAB review; Requesters should use this link and then click on the orange box. Such relevant projects will be awarded an additional $1,000 to cover the cost of PCAB review.

Diversity Supplement *NEW*

This supplement modestly augments awarded Marcus grant projects that have at least one PI from an under-represented minority (URM) group or that include under-represented (UR) populations in their research studies. The top two awarded SBI, TIR and ELSI applications (based on final review score) that meet either criteria will be awarded an additional $5,000 for SBI grants, $8,000 for ELSI grants, or $15,000 for TIR grants. Applications that meet either of these criteria will be asked to include a brief paragraph describing how the PIs plan to use such a supplement. Note that Diversity Supplements awarded to a URM faculty PI may be spent at the discretion of the URM researcher toward the aims of the proposal, and those awarded to a project that includes UR populations can be used broadly in support of the inclusion of those populations in the study. For example, these Supplemental funds might support assays on additional samples, or translation of study documents into alternative languages.

Award Amounts:

Marcus Program Seeding Bold Ideas Award (MP-SBI)

Up to $75,000 for one year.

SBI awards enable initial exploration of untested concepts or hypotheses with great potential impact.

Funding 4-6 proposals.

Marcus Program Transformative Integrated Research Award (MP-TIR)

Up to $300,000 for one year.

TIR awards support new directions for established basic science-driven translational studies.

Funding 3-4 proposals.

Marcus Program ELSI in Precision Medicine Award (MP-ELSI)

Up to $150,000 for one year.

For ELSI awards only, 50% of the total grant budget ($75,000) may be applied to PI salary.

ELSI awards support the development of necessary frameworks for ELSI, implementation, economic, and policy aspects of precision medicine.

Funding up to 2 proposals.


UCSF faculty, as well as UCSF Sandler Fellows and Physician Scientist Scholars Program awardees are eligible; and

At least one of the multi-PIs on the team must have an Academic Senate appointment.

Submission: As a single PDF, via email to [email protected] no later than Monday, December 21, 2020, 11:59 pm PST. NOTE: Include contact PI last name in the file name and put Marcus Award in the Subject Line.

Selection Process:

A diverse faculty committee with appropriate expertise and understanding of precision medicine goals will select the awardees and establish funding levels.

Program contact: Gretchen Kiser, PhD, UCSF Research Development Office: 480.290.0207 [email protected]