Maurizio Pellecchia

Funding Opportunities


For information on how to support the center, sponsor research and/or invest in our drug discovery programs, please contact:

UC Riverside/City of Hope – Cancer Research & Education
(UCR/CoH – CARE) Partnership Grants

Request for Proposals for Pilot Grants Supporting Collaborations in Cancer
Research to Advance Diversity in Cancer Research and Cancer Health Equity, RFA 2023


The UCR and City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center (CoH-CCC) Partnership in Cancer Research and Education (UCR/CoH-CARE) is funded by a NIH U54 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) “Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity” (PACHE) program. The UCR/CoH-CARE partnership aims to develop cancer research collaborations, resources, and training/education programs to reduce disparities throughout the entire drug development pipeline. Our goal is for this program is to develop innovative cancer research projects, mentor and train a diverse force of cancer biologists, and address the disparities in target identification, drug discovery, and translational clinical trials.

This 2023 RFA will fund two Pilot projects for a duration of 20 months (01/02/2024 – 08/31/2025). Each Pilot project requires two faculty Principal Investigators (one PI from UCR and one from CoH) at either the assistant, associate, or full professor level. Faculty applicants who qualify as Early-stage Investigators (ESIs), particularly from UCR, are highly encouraged to apply. ESIs are investigators who received their final degree (PhD or MD) within the past 10 years and who have not yet been PD/PI on a substantial NIH independent research award. This program is particularly interested in funding competitive cancer-relevant research projects in translational cancer biology (key molecular and cellular mechanisms for drug targeting), drug development, and translational clinical trials. Partnered projects primarily proposed by a CoH investigator need to focus on health-disparities. Partnered proposals originating primarily from a UCR investigator do not need to focus on health-disparities but this is encouraged. Diversity in the partner research teams is also highly encouraged. Two partnership Pilot grants will be funded. Funding support of $200,000 in Direct Costs per Pilot project will be provided for the 20-month period, with $100,000 awarded to each partner PI at their home institution (UCR or CoH) and disbursed in two installments: $50,000 for the first period (01/02/2024-08/31/2024) and $50,000 for the second period (09/01/2024-08/31/2025).


Process for Application.

1. Applications will be judged on the strength of the partnership. Applicants are strongly encouraged to speak with Dr. Ernest Martinez and/or Dr. Victoria Seewaldt to discuss the application before submission. Applications (see directions below) must include the name, title, and contact information of each PI, one from UCR and one from CoH. Please email the complete application as a single pdf attachment to both UCR/CoH-CARE program directors: Ernest Martinez ( and Victoria Seewaldt (

2. Partnership applications involving a UCR ESI Faculty as PI will have the strongest preference for funding. All partnerships with an ESI PI must identify a mentor at both institutions and identify this mentor (and submit their NIH Biosketch with the application). Both Dr. Martinez and Dr. Seewaldt will help in mentorship selection in the pre-application discussion (see above #1).

3. Projects should focus on either 1) translational cancer biology/target identification, 2) drug development, or 3) translational clinical trials. Trials can propose a behavioral intervention, biomarkers, and/or a pilot clinical trial. Partnered projects primarily proposed by a CoH investigator need to focus on health-disparities. Partnered projects primarily proposed by a UCR investigator do not need to focus on
health-disparities but this is encouraged.
Applications must contain only the following elements:
1. A title page with the title of the proposal, the PI from each institution (identifying the primary proposal PI), and their contact information. If one PI is an ESI, a mentor from both UCR and CoH must be identified.
2. A short 2-page proposal (single space; 11-point Arial font) that briefly describes (a) the aims and the cancer relevance and significance, (b) how the project will enhance diversity in cancer research and/or reduce cancer health disparities, (c) preliminary data (optional), (d) the experimental plan (feasible during the funding period), (e) statement of any plan for applying for an extramural NIH research grant that will be facilitated by this pilot project, and (f) what each PI will contribute to the project. This 2-page proposal should include all figures and tables.
3. References.
4. Budget: funds can only be used for personnel and supplies or core facility services. Equipment is not allowed.
5. An NIH or NSF style biographical sketch for each PI and mentors.
6. Current and pending support for each PI.
Review Criteria:
1. Synergy and complementarity between the research strengths of the two partner PIs.
2. Impact on cancer target identification, cancer health disparities, drug development, and/or clinical trial development.
3. Innovation of the proposal, and potential impact of the research concept/hypothesis.
4. Potential for the pilot project to launch an application for further funding from extramural sources such as the NIH.
Applications will be reviewed and selected for funding on a competitive basis by a selection committee consisting of reviewers from both campuses. The deadline for submission is Thursday, December 14, 2023 (5:00 PM local time); funding will commence in January 2024.
Questions or the request for additional information can be emailed to:
MolMed Center Director, Maurizio Pellecchia

UCR/CoH-CARE program directors, Ernest Martinez and Victoria Seewaldt