University of California Drug Discovery Consortium –

Call for Seed Grant Applications


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DDC Call for Letters of Intent


The University of California Drug Discovery Consortium (UC DDC) is a multi-campus effort that has partnered with industry to advance innovative research in drug discovery and development. We aim to identify, support, and accelerate drug discovery research, from basic to translational, with potential to produce great societal impact.

The UCDDC has engaged with multiple industry partners and will be issuing two RFAs in 2021 (due June 14th and June 27th). The partners have different research areas of focus, and the most successful applicants will match their interests with the RFA.

UC DDC SEED Grant Cycle 1 (2021) – LOI due June 14

UC DDC SEED Grant Cycle 2 (2021) – LOI due June 27



The Award: Applicants may apply for up to $50,000 direct costs in grant support for a period of up to 12 months. Successful awards will also include mentoring and project management support. Additionally, contingent upon interest from a UC DDC-aligned industrial sponsor, a higher level of funding may be offered to carry out an expanded version of the project, and substantial follow-on funding and/or collaboration is possible. We anticipate that at least four seed grants will be provided in this cycle.

Eligibility: Faculty in all series and ranks at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, and UC San Francisco are eligible. Postdoctoral scholars, project scientists, and staff researchers are not eligible to serve as principal investigator of a UC DDC seed award unless they have been granted principal investigator status on their campus. Researchers who are UC scientists but not faculty can be listed as co-principal investigators. Any intellectual property arising from the granted research must be negotiable for licensing to an industrial partner.

Requirements: Projects should propose innovative science or technology which can fulfil unmet medical needs. They should be within the stated areas of interest of an industrial sponsor and/or should develop unprecedented basic science with potential for translation into novel medicines or platforms of drug discovery. Areas of scientific focus for this call for proposals are as follows:


Cycle 1 (LOI due June 14)

Drug Discovery Technology: small molecules, antibodies, gene therapy, human organoid models

Cycle 1 (LOI due June 27)

Drug Discovery Technology: novel screening platforms for small molecule drugs and/or (engineered) antibodies; targeting hitherto undruggable targets; tissue-, cell type-, or organelle-specific delivery systems.


Prospective applicants are invited to contact your campus DDC site lead for additional details.

Application and Selection Process: Applicants will submit a non-confidential Letter of Intent form.  Please use the attached LOI form and submit as a single PDF.   The form is also available here.

Please name the file with your institution, your name and 2021Cycle#; e.g., UCXX_Name_2021Cycle#.

Submit completed forms at:



Deadlines: Receipt of nonconfidential application for 2021 seed funding: 11:59 pm June 14th  or June 27th

The Executive Committee of the UC DDC and UCDDC’s industrial partner(s) will jointly review these proposals and invite selected applicants to make an online or in-person presentation (at their home campus) to the industrial sponsor(s) and Executive Committee representatives under a non-disclosure agreement. Project(s) to be funded will be selected by the industrial sponsor(s) in consultation with the UC DDC Executive Committee.



The University of California Drug Discovery Consortium (UC DDC) aims to assist faculty researchers across the University of California to advance the creation of drugs that will address important unmet medical needs.

A key activity of UC DDC is to provide seed funding that will enable faculty members with promising ideas to advance drug discovery or drug development projects. The projects may be a spin-off or progression of the faculty member’s basic science research. Data generated with seed funding from UC DCC is intended to position the faculty member to pursue federal, philanthropic or commercial support to further advance the drug discovery effort. The seed funding can be used to support drug discovery activities of the faculty member and also to access core drug discovery resources at any University of California campus. UC DCC will provide grantees with advice and mentoring on how best to pursue drug discovery and development for their chosen project.

This funding cycle of the UC DCC seed grant program will provide one year of support beginning Fall, 2021. Funding must be spent within 1 year. Grants will only be renewed in exceptional circumstances. Awardees are expected to present at the annual UC DDC Symposium and to provide regular updates of their progress on DDC-funded projects.