When Should I Get Started?

Step 1: Start Early & Get Organized

Plan ahead: Most learners find that the process of finding a research topic, finding a mentor, developing a proposal, and writing a grant takes about 3-4 months.  Complete these steps 3-4 months before you plan to start your research! Learners who plan on doing global health research should leave themselves at least 6 months for planning, especially if the study needs IRB approval at UCSF and the international site.

Learners should begin planning applications for yearlong fellowships in early fall.

Learners applying for summer research programs should begin finding a mentor in early January, or earlier if the study requires IRB approval.

Learners applying for yearlong funding must also submit a Yearlong Letter of Intent, due in early fall.

For more information on the application process, visit Resources for Writing a Proposal

Step 2: Carefully Choose a Mentor

Finding a mentor is a key first step towards any project. Fixed research questions or project goals are not needed before meeting with a potential mentor. See the Find a Mentor page for resources to help in your search.

Step 3: Compare Opportunities

Learn about the many funding sources available to UCSF students and trainees. Compare all opportunities, and decide between yearlong fellowships or among short-term programs only.

Step 4: Review Upcoming Deadlines

Check the Applications and Deadlines page to stay aware of upcoming application deadlines.

Step 5: View Example Applications

Selected past applications are available to serve as examples of successful proposals. Also be sure to review the Resources for Writing a Proposal for help in writing a strong proposal.

Step 6: Review Funding Policies

Stay aware of School policies regarding student research funding. Consult with your school leadership regarding student research funding and the impact on your program, and with Student Financial Aid regarding the impact on your aid package.  See our Policies, Rules and Eligibility page for more information.

Step 7: Contact RAP’tr Advisors

If you’d like to make an appointment to speak to a RAP'tr advisor to assist in planning your year-long research project, please complete the Letter of Intent for Yearlong Research, due in early fall.

If you'd like to make an appointment to speak to a RAP'tr advisor to assist in planning your summer or other short-term project, please see the contacts listed for each funding program.