The Tufts CTSI Community Health Catalyst Program funds projects undertaken jointly by community-based organizations and researchers from Tufts CTSI partners and collaborators that address pressing and overlooked health issues impacting the well-being of communities. Projects include those that gather preliminary qualitative or quantitative data on a health research question of interest, evaluate a health-focused program, or develop a new health intervention

Proposed projects may be community- or researcher-initiated and must focus on a specific community-identified need. Applicants should articulate the value and impact of the proposed research project to the community and the potential for future work or as a complement to existing efforts. A strong commitment to collaborative work and shared decision-making and an ability to meaningfully engage both parties are essential.

Proposals must designate a representative of a community-based organization with a tax-exempt status and a Principal Investigator (PI) with a primary appointment of position at a Tufts CTSI academic or clinical partner and collaborator institution. Research teams may request up to $15,000 per award. Selected projects will be funded for one year beginning May 1, 2019 and ending April 30, 2020, pending receipt of all necessary institutional and regulatory approvals.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to apply for a Community Health Catalyst award, research teams are required to include a representative of a community-based  organization who will contribute to the development and execution of the project in a substantive, measurable way. These representatives must be affiliated with organizations that have tax exempt status per the Internal Revenue Service.

Request for Applications

Tufts CTSI is pleased to announce the launch of the Tufts CTSI Community Health Catalyst Program. Applications were accepted from December 28, 2018 through February 14, 2019.

Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to discuss their proposed projects with Tufts CTSI during the application development phase. Our experts can assist applicants with meeting all eligibility and funding requirements and guide them through the application submission process. They can also provide methodological and technical support, recommend additional project team members, assist teams with project planning, and help identify and involve relevant stakeholders. To speak to a member of Tufts CTSI, please request an in-person or virtual consultation here.

Applicants are also encouraged to review The Community Members’ Guide to Submitting a Community-Engaged Research Federal Grant Application. Written specifically for community-based organizations, this guide provides information about community-engaged research, community-academic research partnerships, and the community-engaged research application process. To learn more about the guide and access links to additional instructions and resources, please click here.

Key Dates

  • Application submission period begins: December 28, 2018
  • Final application due: February 14, 2019
  • Awards announcement: March 2019
  • Project begins: May 1, 2019
  • Project ends: April 30, 2020
  • Final project report due: July 29, 2020

The Tufts CTSI Community Health Catalyst Program

About Tufts CTSI

Supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) – one of 27 Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Tufts CTSI and more than 50 institutions across the country with Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) impact health by promoting clinical and translational science. Translation, as defined by NCATS, is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations, including, diagnostics, therapeutics, medical procedures, behavioral interventions, and health policy. To learn more about translational science and the translational spectrum for Tufts CTSI, please click here.

About the Community Health Catalyst Program

Tufts CTSI’s mission is to stimulate innovative broadly-engaged team science across the translational research spectrum to improve clinical care and health. To help achieve this mission, Tufts CTSI supports community-focused research projects that help promote the health and well-being of the public through its Community Health Catalyst Program. Launched in 2018, the program offers funding to new, developing, or existing community-researcher partnerships. It focuses on collaborative, community-driven, translational research projects that leverage the diverse expertise and assets of community-based organizations and Tufts CTSI-affiliated academic or clinical institutions – thereby providing insights to help address pressing and overlooked health issues impacting the well-being of communities, especially those that are underrepresented.


Proposals must designate a representative of a community-based organization with a tax exempt status obtained through the Internal Revenue Service (e.g., 501(c)(3) or other) and a Principal Investigator (PI) with a primary appointment or position at a Tufts CTSI-academic or clinical institution. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the PI’s institution will be expected to serve as the “lead” or “prime” on the project. Research teams may include other collaborators both from community-based organizations as well as Tufts CTSI institutions who contribute to the development and execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. A community-based organization with a tax exempt status (may or may not be a Tufts CTSI community partner or collaborator institution), and
  2. A Tufts CTSI academic or medical research institution.

Academic Partners and Collaborators

  • Brandeis University
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northeastern University
  • RAND Corporation
  • The Jackson Laboratory
  • Tufts University

Clinical Partners and Collaborators

  • Baystate Medical Center
  • Lahey Hospital and Medical Center
  • Maine Medical Center
  • New England Baptist Hospital
  • Newton-Wellesley Hospital
  • St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
  • Tufts Medical Center

How to Apply

Application Templates

Prior to submission, applicants should access the online system to download the Community Health Catalyst Program-specific application templates provided by Tufts CTSI. Once the required documents have been completed, they should be uploaded as part of the application.

Required Documents

  • Cover Sheet
  • Research Strategy
    • Project Abstract
    • Project Summary
    • Background and Significance
    • Specific Aims and Research Procedures
    • Leadership Plan
    • Description of Next Steps
    • Bibliography
  • NIH-format Biosketches of Key Personnel
  • Budget and Budget Justification

Budget Guidance

Applicants may only request direct costs that are necessary and reasonable to complete the work described in their applications. These direct costs include, but are not limited to, key personnel and support staff (e.g., student or research assistant) salaries and fringe benefits; consultant services; stipends; participant incentives; translation of consent forms or other project-related materials, and travel, if related to the study. Indirect costs, such as operating expenses, are not allowed and will not be covered.

The budget justification should describe the importance of each budgeted item and/or service. The personnel justification should include the name, role, and effort for every budgeted individual on the project. Subcontracts, if necessary, should be budgeted separately in the research proposal. Subcontract expenses can include any of the allowable costs described in the budget guidance, including personnel and/or other direct costs.

Letters of Support

Applicants may submit up to three letters of support. Any letters should come from individuals who are familiar with the specific proposal, team of investigators, and available resources to be provided by participating institutions. They can reinforce institutional support and communicate enthusiasm for the proposed project. It is strongly recommended to customize each letter to the specific signatory and/or to highlight a different strong point.

Application Review Criteria

Scientific Review

The review process will follow NIH guidelines for peer review, based on criteria listed below.

  1. Relevance – ability to meet NCATS and Tufts CTSI objectives by demonstrating explicit relevance to improved health.
  2. Significance – quality and merit of the proposed research project.
  3. Innovation – potential for impact through development of novel solutions and processes.
  4. Investigators – qualifications of all members of the research team to carry out proposed research.
  5. Environment – availability of resources to support proposed research.
  6. Approach – scientific rigor of the proposed plan to meet proposed objectives and goals.
  7. Future Plans – clear articulation of next steps for future research and the dissemination of project results.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure

All proposals will be deemed proprietary and confidential and will be protected against any unauthorized use and any unauthorized or uncontrolled disclosure beyond Tufts CTSI and the Community Health Catalyst Program Review Committee.


Need further assistance? We are here to help. Please contact us at community@tuftsctsi.org.