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Systems for Action: Supplemental Research on COVID-19 Response and Recovery

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Public Entities for Research on
Aligning Health and Social Systems During COVID-19

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/05/20 3:00 PM ET


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Grants to USA and Territories nonprofits and public entities for continuing research studies about health and social systems alignment during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Funding is intended for salaries, data collection, meetings, travel, supplies, consultant fees, and other project expenses. Studies must test mechanisms for aligning systems that involve all three sectors of medical care, public health, and social services, and should propose methods for evaluating whether and how these three systems change in response to the system alignment mechanism under study.

Systems for Action (S4A) is a research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that helps to build the evidence base for a Culture of Health by rigorously testing new ways of connecting the nation’s fragmented medical, social, and public health systems. Studies conducted through the S4A program test innovative mechanisms for aligning delivery and financing systems for medical, social, and public health services, with a focus on the effects of these mechanisms on health and health equity. S4A uses a wide research lens that includes and extends beyond medical care and public health to incorporate social service systems such as housing; transportation; education; employment; food and nutrition assistance; child and family support; criminal and juvenile justice; and economic and community development.

Research studies supported through S4A must: (1) focus on solutions to high-priority system alignment problems that involve medical, social, and public health services; (2) test the effectiveness of these solutions using rigorous scientific methods; and (3) engage stakeholders from medical, social, and public health systems in the design and conduct of the research so that findings can be readily used in practice. Studies funded through the S4A program must test a specific system alignment mechanism that engages all three of the sectors referenced in this call—medical care, public health, and social services. 

This call for proposals (CFP) will provide supplemental research funding to teams that are already engaged in the study of a promising system alignment mechanism, with the objective of learning how this mechanism performs in addressing health and social needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible teams must have an active or recently completed research study (within 12 months of application submission) that can be extended through the use of supplemental research funding.

This CFP is appropriate for studying an existing system alignment mechanism implemented prior to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, and about which some pre-COVID evidence has already been created by the applicant. Studies funded under this CFP will make use of existing data and established research procedures and relationships to produce new evidence about the system alignment mechanism on an accelerated time frame of 12 to 24 months. Studies may examine adaptations made to an existing system alignment mechanism to respond to new needs, opportunities, and constraints created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 190962

Number of Grants:

Up to five awards will be funded.

Estimated Size of Grant:

RWJF will fund up to $100,000 per year.

Term of Contract:

Studies should be completed in either a 12-month or a 24-month project period.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or nonfunctionally integrated Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation from applicant organizations.

Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.

Awards will be made to organizations, not to individuals. Multi-organizational consortia are encouraged to apply if a single eligible organization is designated as the primary applicant responsible for maintaining consortium agreements with other participating organizations. The primary applicant organization must have a demonstrated history of successfully managing funds awarded by foundation or government sources.

This CFP is not appropriate for applicants seeking to test a new system alignment mechanism that has not been previously implemented and studied. The S4A program anticipates releasing a second CFP later in 2020 that will be appropriate for studying newly developed system alignment mechanisms that require larger awards and longer timeframes for research and that do not necessarily focus on COVID-19.

In keeping with RWJF policy, funds may not be used to support clinical trials of unapproved drugs or devices, to construct or renovate facilities, for lobbying, for political activities, or as a substitute for funds currently being used to support similar activities.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A webinar for applicants will be held on July 6, 2020 at 12 PM ET, and registration is required.

Register online:

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
- July 6, 2020 (12 PM ET): Informational webinar for applicants. Registration is required.
- July 20, 2020 (3 PM ET): Deadline for receipt of one-page LOI via email
- August 5, 2020 (3 PM ET): Deadline for receipt of full proposals via RWJF online system
- September 15, 2020: Applicant finalists notified of funding recommendations
- November 1, 2020: Grants initiated

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is not required to submit a proposal, but it ensures that the program office is able to recruit reviewers with appropriate subject matter expertise to review your application thoroughly.

All proposals must be submitted via the RWJF online system. All applicants should log in to the system and familiarize themselves with online submission requirements well before the final submission deadline. Staff may not be able to assist all applicants in the final 24 hours before the submission deadline.

General FAQs:

Program-Specific FAQs:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit LOI online at or via email to

Apply online:

Systems for Action National Coordinating Center
Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy
Colorado School of Public Health | Anschutz Medical Campus
13001 E. 17th Place, Mail Stop B119
Aurora, CO 80045
Phone (303) 724- 6145

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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