2022 Innovation Fund Request for Applications

Research Innovation Fund: High-Risk/High Yield Research 

The UCSF | UC Berkeley Schwab Dyslexia and Cognitive Diversity Center seeks innovative, cross-campus, cross-disciplinary grant proposals related to dyslexia, co-occurring neurodevelopmental disorders, and comorbid psychopathology. The goal of the Schwab Center is to leverage the remarkable clinical, scientific and educational resources of UCSF and UC Berkeley to advance the understanding, treatment, and clinical assessment and care of individuals with reading disorders and to help build a workforce that can better address reading and learning challenges.

The overall aim of this Request for Applications is to spur research that is innovative, cross-disciplinary, cross-campus to the greatest extent possible, and likely to yield future successful applications for extramural funding. Applications may address basic, clinical, learning science or related policy, implementation, advocacy, and/or dissemination projects. Proposals are welcome that address these issues across the lifespan.

The types of proposals we anticipate may address any of the exemplar topics below. Note that this list is intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive or restrictive, of the kinds of proposals we anticipate.

  • Early development and/or neurodevelopment of phonology and phonological awareness
  • Screening methods for young children at risk for learning differences and focal neurological disorders
  • Improving strategies for diagnosing dyslexia
  • Optimal school environments for promoting success in reading
  • Promoting evidence-based interventions for learning disorders
  • Social stigma regarding learning differences and learning disorders
  • Validated subtypes of learning disorders
  • Cultural factors related to learning differences and disorders
  • Accommodations in secondary/post-secondary education related to learning differences and disorders
  • Biomarkers of learning, learning problems, and/or learning disorders (e.g., white-matter markers/changes in dyslexia vs. ADHD)
  • Home-school collaborations to support achievement and learning
  • Linkages between reading/math disorders and markers of behavioral/emotional disorders
  • Evidence-based policy issues related to learning disorders
  • Genetic, neuropathological, and molecular basis of learning

To see a list of previous Schwab Innovations Fund pilot projects click here for 2020 and 2021.


Open to all full-time paid faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, residents, fellows, and post-docs at UCSF or UC Berkeley.


There are three categories of proposals: 

  • Faculty-initiated (up to $150,000)
  • Post-graduate (i.e. post-docs, fellows, and residents; up to $100,000*)
  • Student-initiated (undergraduate and graduate, up to $5,000)

*Post-graduates may apply for up to $150,000 if the project and budget justify this amount.

Please note: we will consider one resubmission of previously submitted proposals.


Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of reviewers external to UCSF and UCB for overall significance, quality of the proposed approach and methods, innovation, and the prospect that the work has the potential to lead to future extramural funding. In addition, multi-disciplinary and cross-campus collaborations will be afforded priority, as will proposals that include investigators/practitioners who are new to the area of work either as individual applicants or members of the research, clinical or policy/dissemination team. For topics not directly related to dyslexia, familiarity with the dyslexia literature and the strength of the rationale for the study as it pertains to reading disorders will be carefully evaluated.

PROPOSAL INSTRUCTIONS - Letter of Intent is Required
  1. Please enter a “Letter of Intent” at the Schwab Center Innovations Fund Letter of Intent site by July 21, 2021. This form will request the name of the lead investigator and institution, any other investigators and institutions, a tentative title, and brief description (maximum 5 sentences). These are not scored during the selection process but should reflect the general theme of the forthcoming proposal. 
  2. Prepare the proposal using the Schwab Center Innovations Fund Application Template
  3. Upload the finished proposal, including the investigator CVs, using the Schwab Center Innovations Fund Application Site which will be available to the applicant once the letter of intent is received.

All these materials can be found on our website. 


Funds will be awarded for a 1-year period. Budgetary start dates should be on or after January 1, 2022. If more time is needed to complete the project, any remaining funds can be carried forward for an additional year. However, for trainees with a one-year appointment, the proposed budgetary start and end date should be within the one-year appointment period. We are seeking proposals that can plausibly be completed over the ensuing 12 months (that is, January 2022 through December 2022). In addition, future RFAs of the same magnitude are planned to be released in 2022 and 2023.


Program Announcement

June 9, 2021

Letter of Intent (required)

July 21, 2021

Proposal Submission Deadline

August 30, 2021

Approximate Announcement of Award

 November 1, 2021

Approximate Funding Start Date

January 1, 2022


If you have additional questions not addressed in this document, please contact Phaedra Bell at [email protected].