Promising Partnerships

Request for proposals

Application deadline is extended to May 15

Award type

Community collaboration grant

Funds available up to


Application deadline

May 15, 2020, 3:00 PM EST

Maximum project period

6 months

Boston BRI…DGE (Building Research Infrastructure…Developing Genuine Engagement) is a community-engaged partnered research program of the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc. (CCHERS). In January 2019, Boston BRI…DGE received its second Engagement Award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)® to support capacity of patients and community members to become fully engaged in research partnerships and governance. 

Community-based organizations often struggle to build a significant research portfolio and tap into large funding sources. This may occur because of difficulty forming equitable relationships with researchers, the lack of preliminary data, and unfamiliarity with research oversight regulations. CCHERS’ current PCORI® Engagement Award presents an opportunity for Boston BRI…DGE to tackle these challenges by providing pilot grant funding and educational support for community-based organizations interested in advancing their community-initiated research partnerships with academia. We call this initiative the Promising Partnerships.

The Promising Partnerships is the Boston BRI…DGE’s pilot grant funding to accelerate partnerships between community-based organizations and academic community-oriented researchers. Through a competitive award process, selected grantees will receive seed funding and training support to foster a community-academic collaboration and perform preliminary work that will likely lead to a competitive research proposal for larger grant applications at the completion of the project period. Some examples of the larger funding resources are PCORI, National Institute of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH), and public health philanthropies or foundations.

Scope of funding

The Boston BRI…DGE Promising Partnerships offers seed funding in support of community-academic collaborations seeking to develop research proposals for larger grant submissions in the future. The resulting research proposals must focus on addressing health disparities, achieving health equity, or helping patients, families, and communities make better-informed decisions about their health and healthcare.

The resulting research proposals should utilize research approaches or methods that ensure equitable partnerships between community members and academic researchers. Examples of these approaches are, but not limited to, comparative effectiveness research (CER), patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), community-based participatory research (CBPR), and community-engaged research (CEnR).

Award amount

A total award of S25,000 is available for 5 selected applicants. Each awardee will receive up to $5,000 of funding that must be expended within the award period (August 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021). This is a one-time award. Awardees of this cycle of Promising Partnerships are not eligible to apply for the next cycle.

The pilot grant may only be used for building relationships and activities related to developing research plans and/or preliminary data collection or analysis. The pilot grant should neither be used for the salary of researchers nor project staff from the community. 

Key dates

Release of RFP

Application deadline

Award announcement

Award begins

Final report deadline*

*For awardees

March 1

May 15, 3:00 PM EST

July 22-24

August 1

January 31, 2021

Who can apply?

The following are eligible to apply:

  • Community-based organizations

  • Patient advocacy and support groups

  • Patient-Powered Research Network (PPRN) groups

  • Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs)


Researchers working with community partners or looking to strengthen partnerships with the communities are also encouraged to apply. In order to be eligible, the applying entity must be based in Massachusetts and possess a 501(c)3 status. An organization without a 501(c)3 status must be affiliated with a 501(c)3 organization as a fiscal conduit. In this case, the fiscal conduit becomes the applying entity. Individuals and for-profit businesses are not eligible.


Application instructions

The application is due Friday, May 15, 2020 by 3:00 PM EST. Please note the following application instructions:

  • A complete application must include items 1-6 listed in the Application Components box below.

  • Please use the Application Form and templates for the Abstract, Narrative, Biosketch, and Budget provided.

  • The Abstract and Narrative must be written in 11-point Calibri font with 1” margins and 1.5 lines spacing.

    • The Abstract should not exceed 500 words.

    • The Narrative should not exceed 4 pages and should address the items listed under the Narrative subheading in the Application Components box.

  • All documents should be submitted as a single PDF or Microsoft Word documentName your document with “Promising Partnerships_[name of the applying entity]”, for example: “Promising Partnerships_Organization ABCD”.

  • Email the document as an attachment to by Friday, May 15, 2020, 3:00 PM EST. The name of your document must also be your email subject line, i.e. “Promising Partnerships_[name of the applying entity]”.

1. Application Form

Click here to download the Application Form. 

2. Abstract

In no more than 500 words, please provide a concise description of (1) the significance of the issue that your partnership wants to address, (2) potential impact of the resulting research, (3) outcomes your partnership hopes to accomplish within this seed funding period, (4) who will be engaged in the partnership and the role they will play, and (5) plans for seeking further funding. The abstract should be suitable for a general audience. Please use this template.

3. Narrative

The narrative should not exceed 4 pages and should be written in 11-point Calibri font with 1” margins and 1.5 lines spacing. It should address the following items:

  • Issue of interest: 

    • Describe the significance of the issue

    • Describe the burden to the community

  • Nature of partnership: 

    • Identify the project lead(s), partners, and their roles

    • Identify the fiduciary entity and their relationship to the project lead(s) 

    • Identify past funding experience (if any)

    • Identify experience with partnerships and strengths brought to partnerships

  • Engagement plan: 

    • Identify staff or community members who will be engaged in the partnership

    • Identify strategies to ensure/strengthen equitable partnerships

    • Project activities within the pilot grant period:

    • Describe how the research plan will be developed

    • Describe plans for preliminary data collection or analysis

  • Outcomes: 

    • Identify what the partnership hopes to accomplish

    • Identify the partnership’s next goals

    • Identify potential grant applications


Click here to download the Narrative template.

4. Biosketch

Please provide the biosketch of the project lead and all individuals listed on the Application Form. Applicants may use this template or, if applicable, use existing NIH or PCORI biosketch.

5. Budget

The pilot grant may only be used for building relationships and activities related to developing research plans and/or preliminary data collection or analysis. These activities must be done within the 6-month of the funding period, i.e. August 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021. The pilot grant should neither be used for the salary of researchers nor project staff from the community. The Budget template is available here.

6. Letters of support

Please include signed letters of support (LOS) from partners/collaborators involved in your partnership. Electronic signatures are acceptable. The LOS should indicate the collaborator’s commitment to the project, specific roles in the project, and support for the partnership. Enclose the letters of support with the other above mentioned components as the last attachments.

Application Components

All documents should be submitted as

a single PDF or Microsoft Word document


by Friday, May 15, 2020, 3:00 PM EST.

Have questions? 



Post-award requirement

  • A final report due by January 31, 2021 that includes:

    • Lessons learned:  What works, what matters, what’s different  

    • A research plan

    • A list of potential funders to pursue

    • Goals after the Promising Partnerships funding

  • Mandatory participation in the BRI…DGE Learning Community training series held between September – November 2020 (dates to be determined).

Tel: 617-373-7240

Fax: 617-373-8797


360 Huntington Avenue
222 YMC
Boston, Massachusetts 02115


© 2015 by Gemma McFarland.