Inquiry Funding Office Policies

Policies on Insurance Coverage for Student Researchers

Student safety and security is supported by University of California insurance resources during sanctioned summer, yearlong and clinical activities.

Who is Covered and When?

Active students at the University who are also performing sanctioned educational activities including:

  • Summer Explore, Deep Explore, or Yearlong Research
  • Clinical rotations both foreign and domestic
  • Shadowing at UC or UC-affiliated sites

Sanctioned activities are overseen by a UCSF faculty mentor and UCSF educational program such as the Inquiry Funding Office or MD with Distinction. 

Current registration in the School of Medicine is not required.  Students who are unregistered or on a current Leave of Absence (LOA) are automatically insured by UCSF provided that they are also performing sanctioned activities.

Are students provided liability, professional malpractice, and travel insurance?

UCSF Medical Students are automatically enrolled in both general and professional liability insurance coverage while engaged in programs, research, training, and sanctioned educational activities. 

In addition, travel insurance is available to students for purchase during personal excursions but is automatically covered by the University for sanctioned educational activities.  All travelers must register with iJet to begin coverage

What is the difference between general liability & UCSF professional liability insurance?

General Liability: protection for mistakes (or “negligence”) by UCSF trainees, students, staff, and faculty resulting in personal or bodily injury or damage to third parties. Coverage is applicable worldwide. Coverage extended to students enrolled in a formal training program while engaged in activities which are in the course and scope of their studies

Professional Liability: protection for all clinical activity by students performing work consistent with the course and the scope of their training and while also at a UC owned hospital or an affiliated site

Do registered students need to sign liability waivers when they are precepting in a clinic? 

No, enrolled medical students have professional and liability coverage covered by UCSF. 

Do unregistered students need professional liability coverage when they shadow during un-enrolled research periods such as summer or yearlong?

If a student is shadowing and not interacting/touching patients then they don’t need liability insurance.  All patient encounters must be within the scope of the student’s training.

Are there additional considerations for student liability or travel insurance related to COVID-19?

University-wide guidance on preventing transmission of COVID-19 applies to students in any scenario and should be referred to here:

Policies Supporting Alternative Yearlong Funding

Definition of Alternative Funding

Each year the Inquiry Funding Office (IFO) must decline a number of yearlong funding applications due to limited programmatic resources.  In addition to our limited intramural sources, multiple other extramural and intramural sources exist for yearlong funding which can be combined to achieve an alternatively-funded fellowship package.  The Inquiry Funding Office administratively supports all medical student research packages with the goal of    ensuring equity in funding packages, policy, and process.  Inquiry Funding Office can provide the following services:

  • Competitive review committees for all available sources
  • Equitable and streamlined stipend and fellowship package distribution
  • Health insurance counseling and enrollment
  • Tuition and expense reimbursement
  • Loan interest calculation and offset
  • Tracking and follow-up on student deliverables, assessments, and evaluations

Common Alternative Sources of Funding:

  1. NIH Diversity Supplement
  2. Mentor or Departmental Funding
  3. Matched Funding
  4. Student Self-Funding  
Mentor or Departmental Funding 

Project mentors who are interested in supporting a student directly and thus bypassing the annual Yearlong Review Committee decision are encouraged to consult with the IFO prior to the start of the research year in July.  IFO seamlessly supports the pass through of mentor funds to student research.  IFO Coordination ensures that benefits are aligned with similar fellowships and also ensures a more seamless experience to students and faculty.  Central administration of students grants by IFO minimizes departmental staff burden.  Finally, coordination of Mentor or Departmental Funding for Yearlong Fellowships by IFO enables automatic enrollment in student support programs and tracking. 

Budget for Yearlong Fellowship must include:

Annual Stipend                                                               $37,440          - annually adjusted by Financial Aid

Student Health Insurance (if applicable)                        $7,325 AVG    - cost UC SHIP

Loan Interest Offset (average, if applicable)                  $5,475 AVG    - variable based on loan burden

TOTAL:                                                                           $50,240 Approx.

Optional Fellowship benefits such as tuition and education expenses, travel and dissemination, or supplies, can be included.

Matched Funding

In cases where a project mentor, department, or other entity does not have full funding available for a yearlong fellowship, the IFO will consider matched funding.  The Fellowship cost is based on the $50,240 figure detailed above and applies under the following circumstances:

  1. Project proposal is reviewed by IFO Faculty Reviewers during annual review on March 31st.
  2. Reviewers determine project to be viable as proposed. 
  3. Mentor or Departmental Funding is ³ $23,800, at least 50% of the total Fellowship.
  4. Funds are confirmed prior to May 15th of the research year.
  5. Total Fellowship is administered by IFO.
Student Self-Funding 

The option of a self-funded yearlong of research can be facilitated with the IFO.   Self-Funded participation in yearlong research enables enrollment in MD with Distinction and auditing the Yearlong Inquiry Program.  This option is available only for student projects determined to be viable by IFO Faculty Reviewers.

NIH Diversity Supplement 

The NIH Diversity Supplement is an excellent mechanism for students partnered with eligible UCSF faculty mentors to receive federal funding for their projects.  Review the eligibility requirements here.

Inquiry Funding Office works with each faculty member and their respective grant administrator directly to generate the NIH application.  Importantly, the IFO provides the following:

  1. Budget Guidance for NIH Diversity supplement application (adjusted annually)
  2. Coordination with student for written supplement contributions
  3. Early Fellowship funding via the Yearlong Application process for students awaiting NIH review of their applications. This may be a temporary loan if the NIH funding exceeds the standard IFO yearlong funding package, which includes a stipend of $37,440, health insurance, and loan offset funds, if needed.
  4. If the NIH funding exceeds the standard IFO package, the student may keep the additional NIH funds, as long as IFO temporary funding is repaid.

First, students connect with a mentor who is funded by the NIH and also has an eligible award.  Search this database for a list of supplement-eligible projects and mentors.  IFO will also help determine which student/mentor pairs qualify for application prior to the Designing & Conducting Research Course in Fall.  Projects deemed viable by IFO Reviewers can be awarded a Yearlong Fellowship, and later supplanted by the Supplement when confirmed.

The Research Development Office has compiled resources for the submission of successful NIH Diversity Supplement applications.