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Developmental Grants

Designed to mentor and support early stage investigators and new ideas in pandemic prevention research, PREPARE currently offers exciting Developmental Grant opportunities:


Developmental Grants in Pandemic Prevention and Response Research

This opportunity is available to early stage investigators with faculty appointments at UC San Diego or any PREPARE partner institutionInvestigators may apply for up to $50,000 for a one-year project in basic, clinical, translational, or behavioral aspects of emerging pathogens with active or potential pandemic escalation.

  • See details below.
  • Apply via InfoReady Review.
  • The submission deadline is Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at 5:00 pm.


Developmental Grants in Pandemic Prevention and Human Milk Research 

For centuries, human milk has been ignored by the scientific community, but new evidence shows its potential to help address many of the most debilitating and deadly diseases we face today. Given this evidence, does human milk have a place in the context of pandemic preparedness? Here are a few starting considerations:

  • What methods could rapidly evaluate the safety of breastfeeding, human milk and pasteurized donor human milk when the next pandemic arises?
  • Could bioactive components in human milk serve as therapeutics against pandemic pathogens? 
  • Are treatments/drugs against pandemic pathogens transmitted through human milk?
  • Are pandemic pathogen-acquired antibodies from infection or vaccines transmitted through human milk and are they beneficial to babies?

The UC San Diego PREPARE Institute and Human Milk Institute (HMI) are partnering on this Developmental Grant opportunity to develop strategies to rapidly assess human milk’s safety at pandemic onset and learn more about the application of human milk’s potential to help thwart future pandemics.

This opportunity is designed to foster synergistic research initiatives between human milk and pandemic preparedness investigators and support the advancement of early stage investigators or collaborations between established and early stage investigators in these fields. The types (individual vs. collaborative) and paylines for awards given will depend on the investigators applying.

Early stage investigator applicants may request up to $50,000 or an established investigator (R01 or above) working with an early stage investigator as a Co-I may request up to $100,000 in funding. In a research collaboration, either investigator may submit the application. The period of performance for all funded projects is one year from the date of final approval.

Applications are accepted from PREPARE or HMI faculty who have a doctorate-level degree and an Assistant Professor or higher faculty appointment at UC San Diego or any PREPARE (J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Scripps Research) or HMI (Rady Children's Hospital) partner institution. Partner institution applicants must have a UC San Diego-based collaborator.

Established investigators (R01 or above) working in collaboration with an early stage Co-I are expected to mentor in addition to their scientific work.

  • See details below
  • Apply via InfoReady Review.
  • The submission deadline is Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at 5:00 pm.



The PREPARE Administrative Core hosts virtual office hours before Developmental Grants are due.

  • Details TBD

About PREPARE Institute Developmental Grants

The PREPARE Institute Developmental Grant program is designed to mentor and support early stage investigators and new ideas in pandemic prevention and response research. Applications are accepted from early stage investigators or established investigators working with an early stage Co-I. All applicants must hold a doctoral degree and a minimum Assistant Professor academic appointment. Additionally, all applicants must be faculty at UC San Diego or a partner institution (J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, or Scripps Research). 

Working with a Mentor

Early stage investigators must identify a mentor prior to submission of the proposal and for the duration of the project if funded. Mentors assist in preparing the proposal, and if funded, advise on conduct and publication of the study. Mentors need not be experts in pandemic prevention or human milk research but should have received their own NIH R01 or equivalent funding and have familiarity with submitting and managing NIH grants. 

As of 2023, several questions are included in the Developmental Grant application to confirm that applicants have a strong relationship with their mentors. Additionally, mentors' qualifications will be evaluated during the review process to ensure they can support the applicants. Allow time to work with your mentor on preparing your application.

Finding a Mentor

PREPARE and HMI are happy to help with identifying a mentor. Please contact PREPARE or HMI to let us know more about your proposed work.


  • Developmental Grants cannot support clinical trials, nor can they support any studies involving new drugs, new treatments, new devices, or off-label use of a licensed drug.
  • Developmental Grants cannot fund travel to scientific meetings. The only exception is that pre-R01 early stage investigators may include travel to a scientific meeting to present the results of their Developmental Grants.
  • Applicants may submit only one Developmental Grant application per cycle.
  • Overspending on the award is not allowed and must be repaid.
  • Postdoctoral fellows may not apply for Developmental Grants, and these grants may not be used to provide salaries for postdoctoral fellows.

More Information

Visit the links below for full details on applying for and managing PREPARE Institute Developmental Grants.