The COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists (CFRCS) Program provides innovative institutional solutions to reduce faculty attrition by assisting junior faculty facing extraprofessional demands due to COVID-19. The CFRCS provides broad-based education to raise awareness, and implement new interventions, resources and mentoring to support junior faculty facing extraprofessional challenges due to COVID-19.

Letters of intent can be submitted to and once approved an application will be provided.

Program Benefits

  • One-year grants of $40,000-$60,000 (with the possibility of a second year) to fund technical or other research assistance and/or up to 25% salary support for PI
  • Two program mentors appointed for career development advice and sponsorship
  • Annual meetings with current scholars, alumni and senior faculty to foster relationships and ongoing networking
  • Programs focused on career development

Applicant Eligibility

  • WU Physician Scientists and Clinical/Translational Researchers (MD, DO, or MD/PhD degree) at the Instructor, Assistant Professor, and first year Associate Professor level
  • PI on a NIH, federal agency or foundation- sponsored grant. Scientific overlap with other funding is acceptable
  • Rationale for how funds will help maintain scientific productivity in the face of extraprofessional personal demands due to COVID-19

Application Materials

1. Letter of Intent

Applicants must submit a one-page letter of intent prior to applying to the program. This letter should include a description of the extraprofessional (personal) circumstances due to COVID-19 that limited the applicant’s ability to be fully engaged in achieving their near-term research career goals.  The letter should also indicate how this award will enable the applicant to continue to advance his/her career as a physician-scientist or clinical/translational researchers during the time their work has been affected by hardship.  All letters will be kept confidential to ensure the privacy of applicants.  

Applicants can proceed with their application to the program immediately following the Letter of Intent submission. Please submit your Letter of Intent to the CRTC Office.

2. Online Stress and Adversity Inventory (STRAIN)

Applicants will be sent instructions for completion of a confidential online stress assessment system that will help quantify the burden posed by extraprofessional demands.  This Stress and Adversity Inventory, known as STRAIN, was developed by investigators at UCLA to quantify the burdens and scope of stressors in different life domains.  Specific responses will remain strictly confidential.  Summary scores in different domains covered by the assessment will be used by the review committee, but the committee will not have access to item level detail.

3. Application Form and Budget

Applications are due on December 15, 2021.

The application form includes a section for your budget and justification. The budget should be for one year for direct costs ranging from $40,000 to $60,000. Funds may be requested for personnel support, grant writing support, or research supplies or services. Up to 25% salary support for the applicant may be included or the applicant may request funds for buy-out of clinical time in order to devote greater effort to research. Each expense must be supported by a brief justification. Funds may not be used for animal research.

4. Current Biosketch and Other Support

The personal statement for the Biosketch should focus on current career development and goals (both near and long-term)

NIH Biosketch Template »

Download NIH Other Support Template (doc) »

5. Research Plan

The Research Plan should be a maximum of 3 pages (references not included in your 3-page limit) and should focus on the project to be supported by the COVID-19 FRCS grant, and addresses the following:

  • Specific Aims (1/2 page)
  • Significance (including impact) and innovation (1/2 page)
  • Approach (2 pages)

COVID-19 FRCS funds may be used to supplement support of a study already funded by other mechanisms, but for which the applicant’s extra-professional demands are limiting progress. Or, the COVID-19 FRCS funds may be used to extend studies already funded, but for which new efforts by the applicant are difficult because of extra-professional demands. In these instances, the COVID-19 FRCS Research Plan is expected to be similar to that of the originally proposed study.

6. Abstracts of Funded Grants

Applicants must submit abstracts from each of their currently funded grants that they are serving as a principle investigator on.  These grants can be an NIH, federal agency or foundation-sponsored grant.

7. Department Chair Recommendation Letter

Applicant’s Department Chair or Division Chief is required to submit a letter of support describing the applicant’s career potential as a clinical investigator and the willingness of the department to commit matching funds to support the applicant.

8. Additional Recommendation Letter

Each applicant has the option to have a second letter of recommendation submitted by a reference in addition to the Department Chair or Division Chief.  This letter should describe the applicant’s potential to succeed as a researcher. This letter does not need to be from a faculty member at Washington University.

Required Format Documents Other than Letters of Support

  • Black font of either Arial or Helvetica
  • Font size of 11 points or larger (a symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies.)
  • Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch
  • Single spaced paragraph type
  • Margins should be at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages
  • PDF versions are required
  • Appendices are not allowed

Responsibilities of recipients

Applicants will meet with the Program Directors annually. Applicants must present their work annually at a CFRCS program. All presentations and publications related to research funded by the CFRCS must cited. View Citation Guidelines for more details.

For questions, please email

*Funding from this program may not be used for animal research

This program is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the American Heart Association, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, John Templeton Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation, and the Walder Foundation