Small Grant Program


Funded by an NIMHD grant to University of Chicago and Rush University Medical Center

RFA issued: March 1, 2022
Applications due: No deadline – applications will be accepted starting April 1, 2022

The Chicago Chronic Condition Equity Network (C3EN) aims to expand and cultivate the network of health disparities researchers throughout the Chicago region. In addition to funding Research Project Pilot Studies (see companion funding announcement), C3EN awards small grants of up to $3,000 to support well-defined formative and summative research activities that strengthen community partnerships around health disparities research. Formative research activities such as community needs assessments, key informant interviews, and analyses of existing data can help an investigator identify the most appropriate targets and strategies for intervention, and refine aspects of a study protocol that bear on feasibility (e.g., recruitment approaches). Similarly, summative research activities ultimately enhance the impact of a completed research project by examining its implications for the community in which it was conducted. Summative research activities such as producing infographics or summaries of study findings, giving community presentations, or holding roundtable discussions serve to bring the research process back to the community “full circle”. Formative and summative research activities are generally narrow in scope, but can significantly enhance the rigor and relevance of community-engaged research programs.

Applicant eligibility:
Applicants must be investigators with a position at an academic institution or a partnering community organization in the Chicago region. Applicants must be early stage investigators, which may include 1) individuals who have completed their training within the past 10 years, or 2) post-doctoral trainees and early career faculty (e.g., assistant professors) who have not previously received substantial NIH funding in health disparities as a PI. Early career faculty who have received R01-level funding are eligible to apply if they are transitioning the focus of their work to health disparities. Students, trainees, and residents are not eligible to apply. Small grants will only be available to early stage investigators who are working with a community partner in the Chicago region in the context of health disparities research.

Funds Available and Duration of Support:
The C3EN small grants program will fund up to four small grants annually. Applicants may submit budgets up to $3,000. Examples of allowable costs include stipends for focus group and key informant interview participants, printing and documents production costs associated with disseminating study findings, space rental at community venues, and other appropriate research-related expenses. Mini-grant budgets may not include investigator salary coverage, conference travel, or major equipment purchases.

Given the narrow scope of formative and summative research activities, project timelines for small grants are limited to six months. Applications for small grants will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis (with no specific due date). Please feel free to contact us for guidance if you are unsure about the suitability of your topic or project.

Conditions of funding:
Projects involving human subjects research must provide documentation of IRB approval prior to the issuance of funds. Clinical trials and research deemed greater than minimal risk are not appropriate for this funding mechanism (please see the request for applications for C3EN’s Research Project Pilot Grant Program). Within 3 months of the project end date, awardees must submit a brief close-out report detailing the completion status of the project. As part of its own evaluation process, C3EN will solicit updates on long-term outcomes from the project, including the outcomes of any abstract, manuscript, and grant submissions resulting from this work.

How to Apply:
Please complete the application form in Redcap.

Questions about the application process should be sent to:
Melanie Norstrom, PhD
Chicago Chronic Condition Equity Network (C3EN)

Scientific questions should be directed to:
Brad Appelhans, PhD,
Arshiya Baig, MD, MPH

Funding for this Research Project Pilot Grant Program comes from the Chicago Chronic Condition Equity Network (C3EN; P50MD017349), and institutional support from University of Chicago and Rush University Medical Center.