Skip to main content

Open Funding Opportunities

The T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion invites applications for one-time, non-renewable seed grant proposals for 2023-2024. 

(Open) 2023-2024 Sanford Scholars Award Program

T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion
Sanford Scholars Award Program

The T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion will fund a fourth cohort of first year School of Medicine, Pharmacy, or graduate Master of Public Health students to initiate extended summer research projects through its Sanford Scholars Award Program. Students interested in conducting research projects related to empathy and compassion are encouraged to apply and are required to identify a UCSD faculty mentor to collaboratively develop the research project. In addition to initiating a research project, Sanford Scholars are required to participate in a summer program that will enhance the overall project efficacy, further develop empathy and compassion skills, and create a cohesive cadre of student leaders in empathy and compassion.  


  • Research Project – Identify a UCSD faculty mentor and develop, implement, and report on a research project related to empathy and compassion. A list of interested faculty is provided via a link below to use as an initial guide, though you may also identify a mentor not on this list.  
  • Summer Mindfulness/Compassion Training – Participate in a workshop series related to mindfulness, compassion, and self-compassion cultivation.  
  • Summer Didactic Series– Participate in a series of interactive workshops on topics related to empathy and compassion, closely correlated with each of our Sanford Institute Centers, to provide Scholars with a well-rounded foundation of research and learning in empathy and compassion. Examples of past didactics include, "Introduction to Ethics, Compassion, and Digital Health" and "A New Communication Framework for Healthcare: Foundations in Compassion." 
  • Summer Ethics Workshop – Attend a half-day scientific ethics workshop to ensure research projects are ethically sound.  


  • January 18, 12-1 p.m. – (Optional) Attend a Sanford Scholars program information session via Zoom to learn more about the application process, and program requirements, and ask questions. Zoom Link: 
  • January 30 – UCSD faculty mentor identified (guidance list found here) and interest form completed via this link. 
  • February 9, 4-6 p.m. – Attend a required virtual pre-review session with your mentor to briefly present your initial research project ideas and receive feedback from Institute staff to help hone your application before final submission. (You will be assigned either the 4-5 p.m. time slot or 5-6 p.m. time slot to present.) 
  • February 24 – Applications are due via an online portal (link will be shared in February), and will include a research project proposal, budget proposal and justification, and a mentor endorsement form and CV/Biosketch.  
  • Late March – Sanford Scholar awards announced and projects to commence immediately with IRB submission. 
  • March/April - Scholars and mentors attend a mandatory award acceptance information session. 

All projects will be funded up to a total of $8,000. Of this total award, $6,000 will be provided directly to the student as a stipend, and up to $2,000 will be provided to the mentor to support the research project, including supplies and materials. 

Please visit our website to learn more about the Institute, and to review the previous and currently funded Sanford Scholar research projects.

For questions, please contact Jenna Tutjer ( 

(Open) 2023-24 The Center for Empathy and Compassion Training in Medical Education Seed Grant Program (Deadline Extended!)

T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion
Seed Grant Program: Medical Education Projects (Deadline Extended!)

The Center for Empathy and Compassion Training in Medical Education invites applications for medical education project proposals for implementation in the 2023-24 academic year.

The mission of the Center for Empathy and Compassion Training in Medical Education is to develop, evaluate, and disseminate educational programs to enhance empathy and compassion throughout medical training, particularly in the School of Medicine. The focus of this call is the development of evidence-based practices that help to incorporate empathy and compassion training into undergraduate and graduate medical education including those that aim to increase inclusive excellence in healthcare and health care education.

The intention of this seed grant funding is to implement novel medical education projects and evaluate their efficacy; those shown to be effective will be disseminated. The maximum amount of funding available for a single project supported under this call is $50,000 for one year, with a typical budget expected to be $15,000-$25,000.  All budget items must be justified. Proposals should speak to future sustainability of projects, including departmental resources or the School of Medicine.

The goal of the first stage is to determine whether your project idea is in line with our Center’s mission and appears to be promising for further development of a detailed project plan.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 1,000 words that will be scored by the review committee. The abstract should include:

  1. the project title
  2. a list of project team members, their proposed role on the project and why they are appropriate for this role
  3. the proposed educational program, including the target audience and timeframe, and expected outcomes
  4. the relevance of project outcomes to the goals of the Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion, and specifically, the Center for Empathy and Compassion Training in Medical Education
  5. proposed methodologies
    1. for implementing the program with an emphasis on practicality and feasibility (e.g., have you received approval in theory for adding your program to existing curriculum)
    2. for scientifically evaluating the outcome of the program (e.g. pre-/post-surveys, comparison condition, observational assessments)
  6. audience, groups, or systems targeted for training and intervention
  7. a diversity statement that highlights how this project would foster inclusive clinical learning and care
  8. a summary of required resources for the project with a budget estimation

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the review, and those selected will participate in an iterative process, working together with the Center’s personnel, to develop the second stage application. The second stage application will involve a more thorough explanation of the project’s methods and a detailed budget and budget justification. The final version of the second stage application can be submitted at any time, but must be completed by May 2023 to be considered for implementation in the ‘23-‘24 academic year.  Second stage proposals will be reviewed and approved before funds are allocated. Invitation for development of second stage proposals does not guarantee eventual funding, but we hope to create fundable proposals via the iterative process.

Faculty, staff, and trainees are all eligible for funding.  Feasibility of the project given the responsibilities associated with the PI’s primary role(s) must be addressed in the first stage abstract. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged.


  • First Stage Application due date: February 3, 2023 
  • Notice of Invitation for Second Stage Application: February 24th, 2023
  • Second stage proposal due date: Rolling, with absolute deadline of May 5th, 2023


  • Please submit your first stage application at the submission portal located here. You may also access this form from our website at ucsd.eduunder the “Funding Opportunities” and “Research Application Portal” tabs.
  • Create an applicant account and complete the applicant profile.
  • Click “Get Started” to submit a new LOI application. Under the ‘Program’ menu, select “2023 Medical Education Seed Grant Program.”
  • Once the application is complete, please be sure to click ‘Submit.’

Contact Center Director, Lisa Eyler, PhD at