External Innovation Pilot Program

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RFA 13-04: External Innovation Pilot Program

The objective of this RFA is to catalyze the collaboration between California researchers and researchers external to California. This program would provide funding for key personnel in California to join innovative external studies in order to accelerate those studies towards clinical applications.

This RFA is intended to capture uniquely promising opportunities that cannot be addressed through CIRM’s other funding programs. The program will be focused on new collaborations that:

  • Involve California researchers in cutting edge technologies uniquely available outside of California
  • Transfer unique external methods or techniques with the potential to advance the CIRM grantee’s translational program
  • Combine unique California and external expertise that will enable or accelerate development of preliminary data to support a comprehensive research program

Please see the RFA for details.
RFA 13-04: CIRM External Innovation Pilot Program Awards [pdf]

This RFA is targeted at only the most exceptional proposals: CIRM expects to support only one or two such projects each year.

Application Process

Submission of an application for the CIRM External Innovation Pilot Program RFA involves a two-step process.  Prior to submitting an application, a PI must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) describing the proposed project. CIRM will evaluate the LOI — refer to Section VIII.A. of the RFA for evaluation criteria.  CIRM will evaluate the LOI and decide whether to invite a Full Application for the proposed project.

Letter of Intent Instructions

  1. You will need a Username and Password  on CIRM’s Grants Management Portal (https://grants.cirm.ca.gov). If you do not have a Username, click on the “New User” link and follow the instructions to create a CIRM Username and Password.
  2. Send an email to ExternalInnovation@cirm.ca.gov, stating that you would like to create a Letter of Intent, and your Username on the Grants Management Portal.  CIRM will process requests within one week, and send a confirming email. After you receive CIRM’s confirming email, log into the Grants Management Portal  and click on the “Open Programs” tab located at the far left on the menu bar.  Look for the section labeled “RFAs and Programs Open for Applications“. Click on the “Start a Letter of Intent” link corresponding to the External Innovation Pilot Program RFA.
  3. Complete each section by clicking on the appropriate link and following the posted instructions. Proposal and signature page templates can be found in the “Upload Required Documents” section.
  4. To submit your letter of intent, click on the “Done with Letter of Intent” button. The “Done with Letter of Intent” will be enabled when all required sections have been completed and the signature page uploaded. Please note that once “Done with Letter of Intent” has been selected, your LOI will have been submitted and you will no longer be able to make changes to your Letter of Intent.
  5. To confirm submission of your Letter of Intent, go back to your home page and check the list under the section labeled “Your Submitted Applications“. You will see your Letter of Intent number and project title entered for RFA 13-04 External Innovation Pilot Program once the submission process has been completed.
  6. Letters of Intent can be submitted at any time. In general, LOIs will be evaluated on a quarterly basis.

Full Application Process

Because this program could encompass different types of projects, specific review criteria and application forms may vary. If CIRM invites an applicant to submit a Full Application, CIRM will provide application forms and instructions that are appropriate to the type of project proposed. Section IX of the RFA provides additional detail.

Full Applications will be evaluated by the CIRM Grants Working Group (GWG). The GWG meets several times a year to review applications submitted under CIRM’s regular RFAs, with reviewers selected for expertise relevant to that round of applications. If an applicant is invited to submit a Full Application, CIRM will provide an application schedule that will allow for review at an appropriate GWG meeting. The GWG will make funding recommendations to CIRM’s Governing Board, the ICOC, which will make final funding decisions. For most CIRM award programs, scientific review and final award decisions are completed 5 to 7 months after the date the full application is due.


For information about this RFA or the review process:

Ellen M. Feigal, M.D.
Senior Vice President for Research and Development
Email: efeigal@cirm.ca.gov
Phone: (415) 396-9106

Gilberto R. Sambrano, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Review
Email: gsambrano@cirm.ca.gov
Phone: (415) 396-9103

Ian K. Sweedler
Senior Counsel for International Programs
Email: isweedler@cirm.ca.gov
Phone: (415) 396-9122