Application Instructions

The WSU Provost's Steering Committee on Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (SBDH) announces the 2021 Research Stimulus Program.  The goal of this campus-wide initiative is to provide timely funding for ready-to-launch research projects with high scientific merit and programmatic promise in the broad area of SBDH, ranging from person-level to societal-level and inclusive of quantitative and qualitative approaches.1-11 Ideally, projects should be designed to generate preliminary evidence to support innovative and potentially impactful contributions, leading to a larger-scale application to an extramural (e.g., national, state, community) funding agency.

Each applicant should read and follow all instructions very carefully, to ensure the application conforms to requirements.  Applications that do not meet standards below may not be considered.


  • This Research Stimulus Program is directed at WSU junior faculty (category 1) and doctoral students (category 2).  Eligibility is defined as follows:
    • Junior faculty: WSU assistant professors within 5 years of their appointment
    • Doctoral students: WSU graduate students who have achieved doctoral candidacy; these individuals must identify and submit with their application a letter of support from a WSU faculty mentor
  • A Principal Investigator may submit only one proposal in this round of applications.
  • All eligible individuals (as defined above), regardless of racial/ethnic background, sexual identity or orientation, and those with disabilities, are encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.

Program Overview

  • This program provides limited but rapid financial support for ready-to-launch research within the scope of SBDH.  Applications may involve a wide variety of biomedical, behavioral, sociocultural, economic, ethical, legal/criminal justice, clinical or policy issues and/or disciplines.
  • Grant support from this program is intended to be unique and may not be used to supplement research projects already being supported by the NIH, Department of Veterans Affairs, DoD, NSF, private or public foundations, or from other sources.
  • Allowable expenses (which must be justified) are supplies, participant payments, research staff effort, travel (if necessary for data collection), software, or testing/assay/procedural expenses directly related to conducting the proposed research. Not allowable are salary support (t2/5/21his applies to all faculty, fellows, and student stipend/tuition), equipment, and computers.
  • Funding decisions will be based on scientific merit and readiness to start, as determined by an internal peer review committee.
  • All research applications must comply with all rules, regulations, and certifications for WSU (IRB) and other potential oversight agencies (e.g., FDA, DEA).
  • Applicants who have questions regarding the acceptability of their proposed work may contact Dr. Mark Greenwald (

Application Procedures

  • Applications should be submitted as a single emailed PDF document in parallel to Dr. Mark Greenwald ( and Associate Provost Dr. Boris Baltes ( according to the instructions below.  
  • Application submission deadline. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm on April 30, 2021.  There will be no exceptions to this deadline. 
  • Junior Faculty awards: We anticipate making 2 Faculty awards but this will depend on scientific merit of project proposals. The maximum budget amount per award – which must be scientifically justified – is $20,000 (but may be less). Each applicant should present a brief budget proposal on the cover page that clearly lists their expense priorities. 
  • Doctoral-candidate awards: We anticipate making at least 6 awards to graduate students who have achieved doctoral candidacy but this will depend on scientific merit of project proposals. The maximum budget amount per award – which must be scientifically justified – is $5,000 (but may be less). Each applicant should present a brief budget proposal on the cover page that clearly lists their expense priorities.
  • This program requires rapid start-up and progress upon receiving funds. Thus, all investigators must submit IRB protocol applications as far in advance before their SBDH Research Stimulus applications. This will facilitate more rapid launch if an award is issued.
  • To facilitate subsequent applications to external agencies, proposals for this Research Stimulus Program should be completed using instructions for either the
  • Applications include a cover page (see below) followed by the Research Plan.
  • For all applications (whether using NIH or NEH format), the page limits for the Research Plan are specified below. The Research Strategy component may not exceed 6 pages of text including tables, graphs, figures, diagrams, and charts.
      • Specific Aims – 1 page maximum
      • Research Strategy – 6 pages maximum
      • References
      • NIH or NEH Biosketch – 5 pages maximum
  • Appendices may not be used to exceed the page limitation.
  • Preliminary data are not required but may be included if available and relevant.

Scientific Review Criteria

A committee of senior scientists will score all applications according to the following factors:           

Scores will be based on criteria that are currently used to review NIH grant applications.  This process is intended to help the investigator translate his/her application to the next stage.

Overall Impact. Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, considering the following 5 core review criteria and safety of subjects (as applicable for human subjects or laboratory animal concerns).

Scoring Criteria. Reviewers will consider each of the five review criteria below to determine scientific and technical merit and will give a separate score for each criterion. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

      Significance.  Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and clinical or social practices be improved?  How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

      Investigators.  Are the PI, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?  Does the New (or Early Stage) Investigator have appropriate experience and training?

      Innovation.  Does the proposed project challenge and seek to shift current research by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions?  Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense?  Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

      Approach.  Are the overall research strategy, methodology, and analyses well reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?  Will the strategy establish feasibility, and will particularly risky aspects be managed?  If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

The Approach section (at its conclusion) must contain a brief paragraph that describes:

(1) The next scientific steps to be taken if the proposed project is successful (i.e. potential implications of the proposed study's findings for planning future related studies);

(2) The potential institutes/foundations/agencies (and, if known, funding opportunity announcements) that could be targeted for external funding; and

(3) Confirmation of submission (include date) of IRB protocol application.

      Environment. Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?  Are the institutional support, equipment, and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed?  Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?

Reviewers will assign a single overall impact score based on the criteria described above using the following ranking

            1.0       Exceptional
            2.0       Outstanding
            3.0       Excellent
            4.0       Very Good
            5.0       Good
            6.0       Satisfactory
            7.0       Fair
            8.0       Marginal
            9.0       Poor

Grant Information

  • Grant award notice. Awards will be announced as soon as possible after the committee has completed its review of the scientific merit of applications, so that awardees can prepare to launch the project as soon as funds become available.
  • Availability, monitoring & use of grant funds. Subject to final approval of the Provost's office, it is likely that funding would be distributed for use on May 1, 2021. Projects will be monitored for budget compliance. The Provost may reclaim unspent funds.


  1. Alvarez HAO, Appleton AA, Fuller CH, Belcourt A, Kubzansky LD (2018) An integrated socio-environmental model of health and well-being: a conceptual framework exploring the joint contribution of environmental and social exposure to health and disease over the life span. Curr. Environ. Health Rep. 5: 233-243.
  2. Anderson NB (1998) Levels of analysis in health science. A framework for integrating sociobehavioral and biomedical research. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 840: 563-576.
  3. Baah FO, Teitelman AM, Riegel B (2019) Marginalization: conceptualizing patient vulnerabilities in the framework of social determinants of health–an integrative review. Nurs. Inq. 26: e12268.
  4. Coggon J (2020) Legal, moral and political determinants within the social determinants of health: approaching transdisciplinary challenges through intradisciplinary reflection. Public Health Ethics 13: 41-47.
  5. Glanz K, Bishop DB (2010) The role of behavioral science theory in development and implementation of public health interventions. Ann. Rev. Public Health 31: 399-418.
  6. Newman L, Baum F, Javanparast S, O'Rourke K, Carlon L (2015) Addressing social determinants of health inequities through settings: a rapid review. Health Promot. Int. 30 (Suppl 2): ii126-143.
  7. Niederdeppe J, Bu QL, Borah P, Kindig DA, Robert SA (2008) Message design strategies to raise public awareness of social determinants of health and population health disparities. Milbank Q. 86: 481-513.
  8. Pedrana L, Pamponet M, Walker R, Costa F, Rasella D (2016) Scoping review: national monitoring frameworks for social determinants of health and health equity. Glob. Health Action 9: 28831.
  9. Predmore Z, Hatef E, Weiner JP (2019) Integrating social and behavioral determinants of health into population health analytics: a conceptual framework and suggested road map. Popul. Health Manag. 22: 488-494.
  10. Short SE, Molbourn S (2015) Social determinants and health behaviors: conceptual frames and empirical advances. Curr. Opin. Psychol. 5: 78-84.
  11. Singer M, Bulled N, Ostrach, B, Mendenhall E (2017) Syndemics and the biosocial conception of health. The Lancet, 38(10072): 941-950.