Funding Opportunities


The UCSF Human Performance Center Seed Grant



The Human Performance Center serves primarily as a research facility, partnering with other research labs, scientists, and companies around UCSF, and the entire Bay Area, to carry out studies in the areas of biomechanics, exercise physiology, and sleep & athletic performance. Our state-of-the-art equipment, and staff expertise, enables us to handle a diverse range of research opportunities, from knee osteoarthritis to prostate cancer, and more


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Provide “seed” opportunities for faculty, researchers, and trainees that have research needs involving biomechanics and/or exercise testing of which the HPC can provide and might lead to future funding.  Proposals with novel ideas as well as proposals that are an add-on to a current research study will be considered if the goal is to acquire pilot data for possible future funding. 


Award Amount and Allowable Costs

One award will be given during this grant cycle. 


The maximal amount of funds available for this fiscal year is $5,000 in HPC Services.  Services may consist of data collection with existing HPC capabilities in biomechanics, exercise physiology, functional testing, or some combination.  Grant funds will cover data collection services only. Data processing will be completed by the applicants with support from HPC staff and comprehensive SOPs to guide the applicants if necessary.


Reach out to Brooke Schultz ([email protected]) for a comprehensive list of the services and their fees provided by the HPC Recharge Center.


Application Details: 

Eligibility: All UCSF faculty may apply for the funds; junior faculty are particularly encouraged to apply. However, staff and trainees (Postdocs, PhD students, Residents, Fellows, and SRAs) may also apply but only with a UCSF faculty mentor acting as a Co-PI or PI on the project; therefore, assuming fiscal responsibility for the grant and undersigning the science. 


DeadlineNovember 17, 2023.  Funding decisions are usually made within four weeks of the deadline. 





Instructions: Complete the online application form above. Upload a non-password protected PDF of your proposal. Click the Submit button. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the principal investigator. The principal investigator is expected to submit a progress report six months into the project and a final report at the conclusion.


Proposal Content (up to 7 pages): 
Your proposal should clearly and thoroughly describe the project’s aims, previous work, background, methods, significance, and budget. Put the project title and principal investigator’s name at the top of the first page. Your proposal should contain the following sections, clearly indicated. Please respect the indicated page limits. 


  • Font: Arial, 11pt. 
  • Margins: at least 0.5 inches on all sides 

Research Plan (maximum 5 pages): 

  • Project Aims (1 page). Clearly and concisely delineate the scope, objectives, and significance of the project; the rationale or philosophy behind the project; the specific goals to be reached during the project; and how the project’s goals fit into the total scheme of the principal investigator’s research. 
  • Previous Work and Background (1 page). Provide a brief description of the relevant literature and previous experience of the principal investigator and co-investigator(s). 
  • Methods (1-2 pages). Include a detailed description of the methodology, experimental format and time estimates and their relation to the overall objectives. Questions to be answered in this section include the following:  
    • What techniques will be used, and what is their scientific basis?  
    • On what subjects will data be obtained, and how will samples be analyzed and controlled?  
    • What form will the data take?  
    • How will the data be analyzed?  
    • How will biases, discrepancies, measurement errors, and sample losses be handled? 
  • Significance (1 page). Include prospects and plans for extramural funding. 

References (1 page). Provide citations in support of the Research Plan. 

Budget and Budget Justification (1 page) Itemize the specific items for which funds are being sought. 


  • Allowable costs include rechargeable services provided by the HPC such as hourly staff support, room use, equipment and software use. 
  • Salary support, equipment, computer and textbook purchases, administrative support, parking, and travel are among some of the items that are unallowable.

CHR/IACUC Approval  

Funds will not be released until acceptable human or animal subject approval documentation is provided. For details regarding acceptable documentation, see the seed grant web page. 

Non-Faculty Applicants  
If the principal investigator is not a member of the faculty, include a letter of support from a faculty mentor acting as a co-investigator, who will undersign the science and assume fiscal responsibility for the grant. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Who can apply for a seed grant? 

The seed grant program is open to UCSF faculty; however, junior faculty are particularly encouraged to apply.  Postdocs, SRAs, PhD students, Residents, and Fellows are also encouraged to apply, but only with a faculty mentor acting as a co-investigator who will undersign the science and assume fiscal responsibility for the grant. 


Faculty who have start-up funds are encouraged to utilize those funds for pilot projects; however, faculty and lab members are encouraged to apply for a seed grant if it is used for other, creative projects. 


How much money will a seed grant provide? 

Funding may be awarded up to $5,000. Any funds remaining at the conclusion of the grant must be returned to the HPC.  A typical two-hour biomechanics data collection costs approximately $700. A typical exercise performance assessment will cost approximately $500.  


How long does a seed grant last? 

Each seed grant has a duration of one year. The start date is the date of the award letter. The principal investigator may request one no-cost extension for one additional year (minimum of 6 months). 


What do I put in the proposal? 

Please review the application guidelines. 


What about progress reports? 

The principal investigator is expected to provide a progress report six months into the project and a final report at the conclusion. Each report should be a brief presentation of the accomplishments of the research project. Describe the studies directed toward the specific aims and the positive and negative results obtained. Address any modifications to the original plans. Also describe and/or cite any papers, presentations or grants that were “seeded” by the project. Each report should be no longer than two pages. Please follow the formatting guidelines below. 


What about approvals? 

The principal investigator must demonstrate that the required approval has been obtained for a project that involves human or animal subjects. For approvals under the principal investigator's name, please submit the appropriate CHR or IACUC approval letter with the seed grant application. For principal investigators covered by another investigator's approval, please submit the appropriate CHR or IACUC approval letter as well as the application showing the investigator's name with the seed grant application. If approval is pending at the time the application is submitted and the seed grant is awarded, the award letter will contain instructions regarding final approval documentation submission. Funds will not be released until acceptable approval documentation is provided. 


What will a seed grant pay for? 

Allowable costs include anything provided by the HPC Recharge Center.  Please reach out to Brooke Schultz ([email protected]) for a comprehensive list.  HPC rechargeable items include hourly staff support, HPC room, equipment, and software use. Salary support, non-PTRS or Core charges, computer and textbooks purchases, new equipment or supplies, administrative support, parking and travel are among some of the items that are unallowable. Funds are allotted for the named project only and cannot be used for other projects. 


How do I apply for a seed grant? 

Applications are submitted online. To apply, complete the online application, upload a PDF of the proposal, then click the Submit button. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the principal investigator. 


What are the submission deadlines? 
November 17, 2023. Deadlines for additional application cycles may be announced. 


What about formatting? 

The formatting guidelines are the same for applications, progress reports and final reports: Use Arial 11-point type. Margins should be at least half an inch (0.5"). Put the principal investigator's name and the project's title at the top of the first page. 



Previously Funded Projects


Biomechanical Analysis of Foot Health in Diabetic Neuropathy and Chronic Kidney Disease 

PI: Victor Cheuy, PhD

Begun in January 2022, this seed grant investigated how chronic kidney disease and diabetic neuropathy synergistically combine to place the foot at the highest risk for amputation. This study utilized an innovative blend of assessment tools available at the HPC (e.g., multi-segmental foot biomechanics with motion capture, physiological aging assessment, and gait pedography) in combination with high resolution CT imaging of the foot. Results found that compared to both healthy controls and people with diabetic neuropathy only, people with diabetic neuropathy and chronic kidney disease exhibited poorer bone quality, increased plantar pressures, and greater ankle joint movement dysfunction. Taken together, these foot changes may be the earliest contributors to structural deformities, ulcers, and ultimately amputation. This seed grant directly led to a successful multi-site R01 submitted November 2022 and started September 2023. UCSF, together with Washington University in St. Louis, High Point University, and Wake Forest University, will now longitudinally investigate these bone, pressure, and functional factors to determine their effects on clinically relevant foot outcomes in a cohort with diabetes and chronic kidney disease, with the long-term goal of reducing the risk of amputation.