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Community-Partnered Participatory Research Award (CPPRA)


TRDRP has a 20-year history of funding community-based participatory research (CBPR) through the Community and Academic Research Award (CARA) and School Academic Research Award (SARA) grant mechanisms, which required close collaborative partnerships between members of community-based organizations (CBOs), community members, school educators, and academic researchers or community-oriented research scientists. The CARA and SARA grants produced meaningful findings that typically assessed gaps and indicated the need for improved tobacco control prevention and treatment interventions in California; however, there was minimal intervention development.

We have re-envisioned this grant type, emphasizing longer-term thinking and plans that sustain and translate the benefits from the pilot-phase research to the development of new interventions or the enhancement of existing evidence-informed interventions. The expectation is that interventions resulting from these awards will focus on community- or school-based tobacco prevention and/or cessation, as well as practice, program or policy change. We also emphasize the importance of community benefit in tobacco control research, cultural humility, and mutual (community and academic) capacity building for a sustained equitable partnership beyond the life of the grant.

Award Purpose

This award supports a two-year, pilot research grant to build equitable and sustainable partnerships in order to plan and conduct meaningful research that will impact community- or school-level tobacco use and inform evidence-based prevention and treatment programs and interventions or contribute to practice/policy changes in California clinics, schools, institutions, and/or communities. This grant type has multiple requirements, including a collaborative, equitable research partnership comprised of a Community Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) and Academic Co-PI with guidance from a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to gather preliminary data or demonstrate proof-of-concept for a tobacco-related research question of importance to the community of interest and that advances science or informs policy. There must be a clearly stated intention and plan to sustain the community-academic partnership; plans to apply for follow-on funding after the pilot funding expires; plans to develop a research-informed, community-forward prevention or treatment intervention; and/or contribute to tobacco-related practice, policy, or program/service enhancement in communities, schools, or clinics.

Please review the Pilot CPPRA RFA for details on requirements for this grant type //

PILOT CPPRA Review criteria:

Criteria Set-1 (40 percent scoring weight) “Research”

  • Statement of Goals, Research Questions, and Specific Aims: Are the goals for the Pilot award clearly stated, achievable, and considered within the context of the partnership’s longer-term research goals? Will the Pilot research activity prepare the collaborative team to pursue further research and to apply for a TRDRP Full CPPRA Research award (available in a future cycle) or funding from another agency? Are the research questions clear and appropriate for a community-partnered participatory Pilot award? Are the Specific Aims clear and encompass a reasonable amount of research activity for a Pilot study? Is there a logical connection between Aims and a relationship to the team’s long-term research goals?
  • Background, Significance, and Relevance to a Tobacco-Related Area: Are the communities/schools of interest clearly described? Does this study address an important tobacco-related problem? What is the evidence that the stated problem is of concern in the community(ies)/schools of interest? Is relevant literature summarized, synthesized appropriately, and does it support the proposed research activity? Is/Are the rationale underlying the proposed research question(s) well-supported and appropriately contextualized? Is/Are the pilot level of research activity appropriate to begin addressing the stated tobacco-related research question(s)? Is there evidence that the community-based organization or community members were involved identifying and conceptualizing the research problem and research project?
  • Research Plan: Research Design, Conceptual Framework, and Data Analysis Plan: Are the conceptual or theoretical framework, design (including composition of study population and strength of recruitment plan), methods, and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated, well-reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project and the nature of the pilot grant type? Does the applicant clearly describe relationships to be examined? Does the applicant team acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative strategies? Are the proposed sample sizes adequate to answer the proposed research question(s)? If an intervention is proposed, are the variables and relationships to be examined clearly identified and testable? Is a data analysis plan defined? Are project milestones well-defined with quantifiable measures that are appropriate for assessing the success of the pilot phase award? Is the proposed work feasible? Is the research design aligned/consistent with the capacity and expectations of the community and community-based organization (e.g., whether a randomized controlled study design violates community or community-based organization norms)?

Criteria Set-2 (40% scoring weight) “Partnership”

  • Partnership Collaboration Plan and Team Communication Process: Are the collaborative agreements clear and likely to lead to project success? Is the communication plan adequate to keep the community-based organization, Community Advisory Board (CAB), or school updated on the research? Are there plans to seek input and guidance from the CAB? Is there a clear decision-making process for important project activities? Will the team monitor or evaluate the health of the community-academic partnership over time? Are plans to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the community-academic partnership over time meaningful and likely to be useful?
  • Potential for the Proposed Work to Benefit the Community and Lead to an Intervention: Is there potential for the proposed research activity to impact tobacco-related health disparities in a priority group in California? Will the community/school; community participants/students, staff, or faculty; academic institutions or community-based organizations; and their investigators benefit from the anticipated outcomes of the proposed research? Does the pilot research activity have potential to lead to development of a prevention or treatment intervention, school-based curriculum, policy implementation, improve clinical services, or inform anti-tobacco programming at a future time, even if additional funding is needed?
  • Community Engagement and Capacity Building: Does the applicant team propose a sound approach to engaging communities affected by tobacco use in either their collaborative partnership or by proactively informing about the nature and significance of the research and research outcomes? Will the team obtain feedback from the community or community-oriented academics about the project and its findings? Will the project build capacity in the community, school, or community organization for future research, improved tobacco-related service delivery or clinical practice change, or tobacco control programming? Does the dissemination of findings include channels and tools targeting clinicians, public health practitioners, educators, advocates, policymakers, or the general public?
  • Dissemination Approaches and Sustainability Plan: Are there plans to disseminate findings from the project to the community of interest? Will the community Co-PI or the CAB be involved in interpreting research findings or comprehending what findings mean for the community? Are there plans to disseminate findings using channels and tools readily accessible and known by the community? Are there plans to inform the community of resources made available or improved by the findings from the proposed research? Are there plans to sustain the community-academic research partnership after the pilot funding?
  • Statement of Future Goals: Are future research goals clear and reasonable, and do they consider perspectives from the community of interest? Are the plans to apply for follow-on grant funding convincing? Could the research activity in the pilot award contribute to a future intervention focused on tobacco prevention or cessation or policy change?

Criteria Set-3 (20% scoring weight) “Resources”

  • Investigative Team: Are the co-principal investigators and other key personnel listed in the grant proposal appropriately trained and well-suited to conduct community-partnered participatory research? Are the roles and responsibilities of the partners clearly defined? Will the research process allow academic researchers to learn more about the community or school and will community/school members learn about the academic research process? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the co-principal investigators and other co-investigators (if any)? Do the investigators demonstrate access to the research population of interest?
  • Environment, Facilities, and Resource Availability: Will the community or school locations in which the research will occur contribute to the probability of success? Does the proposed pilot project utilize unique features of the community, school, institutions, or organizations involved in the research and/or utilize useful collaborative arrangements to resource the project? Is there evidence of academic institutional support and community- or school-based organizational support?

  • Community Assets: Are community-level assets, strengths, and access channels well-described, appropriate for the study design and research question(s), and likely to contribute to the success of the pilot work? Is the project likely to contribute to strengthening existing community assets for tobacco control? Is there evidence of credibility of the partnering community-based organization within the community of interest, a track record of success in delivering services or programs in the community, and representation by a specific priority population within the organization?


  • Budget: Appropriateness of the budget request for the project, scientific or budgetary overlap and degree to which out-of-state contracts or collaborations are essential for the project

  • Protection of human subjects from research risk: If human subjects are involved, protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed

  • Inclusion of women, minorities and children in research: If human subjects are involved, the adequacy of plans to include subjects of both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups) and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of human subjects will be evaluated.

  • Care and use of vertebrate animals in research: If vertebrate animals are involved in the project, plans for their care and use will be assessed.


A letter of intent is not required nor available for the CPPRA grant type. You’re encouraged to contact Norval Hickman, PhD, MPH with questions about applying for the CPPRA.

Fiscal Year 2020-2021 TRDRP’s 2020 cycle
Direct access to application materials in Smart Simple Beginning October 24, 2019
Due date for applications March 5, 2020, 12p PDT
Applicants notified June 2020
Award start date July 1, 2020


Contact Information for Inquiries
Norval J. Hickman III, PhD, MPH
Social-Behavioral Sciences Program Officer
Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program
University of California Office of the President
Phone: 510-987-9032