RBH Endowment Fund Call for Proposals

The RBH Endowment Fund is now accepting applications for projects for the period July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. 

Application deadline: please submit via the online portal by Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5 pm CT.

Summary of funding opportunity: The RBH Endowment Fund is a new seed funding program at the University of Chicago, executed through the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS), that seeks to accelerate research to advance the connection between oral and systemic health and well-being through the biological and social sciences, clinical care, policy and other academic and professional disciplines throughout the University.

The program will entertain proposals from $5,000 to $50,000 for a 12 month project period that address oral health access and improvement to affect systemic health and well-being. Expected outcomes of funded projects are peer-reviewed publications, sustained research efforts awarded with external funding and expansion of populations interested in oral health as an integral system of overall health and well-being.

The goal of this program is to engage researchers in investigations that consider the role of oral health in a broad range of outcomes with scientific high impact. The following areas are considered high interest:

Oral Microbiome

Systemic Effects of Poor Oral Health

  • Specific health conditions and oral health, e.g., cognitive impairment, cancer, cardiovascular disease

Basic and Translational Science of Oral Health

Undergraduate Research Fellowship Programs

Oral Health, Social Science, Economics and Policy

  • Effects of the dental insurance on dental and overall health
  • Effects of the COVID pandemic on dental care
  • Social isolation, unemployment and other consequences of poor oral health

Oral Health, Systemic Health, Care Provision

  • Presentation of dental emergencies in the Emergency Department and/or hospitalization
  • Critical care and oral health
  • COVID and oral health

Integration with Current Randomized Controlled Trial Studies

  • Medicare population
  • Vitamin D levels and COVID risks among oral health care workers
  • Provision of No-Fee basic dental health care to vulnerable older adults (65+)


A principal investigator must have PI status at UChicago. Physician investigators who are not eligible to be principal investigators, postdoctoral fellows, trainees, residents and graduate students may collaborate with an eligible applicant as part of a study team but may not apply individually.

Review Criteria

  • Projects should advance scientific discovery and insights
  • Proposals should be innovative, using novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, interventions and be broadly applicable
  • Proposals should address an important problem or critical barrier, aiming to improve oral health and well-being
  • The approach – overall strategy, methodology and analyses – should be well reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the project’s specific aims, ensuring a robust and unbiased approach.


  • Proposed budget should not exceed $50K and should have a time frame of 1 year or less
  • Budgets may not include requests for faculty salary
  • Allowable costs include
    • research staff salary
    • supplies
    • use of research cores
    • costs for patient recruitment
    • travel that is specifically required for project execution
  • The University of Chicago does not charge overhead rates on this seed award. If, however, part of the award is used to support staff or other activities at the National Laboratories, it may be subject to federal indirect costs. Budgets are inclusive of any indirect costs.

Evaluation and Reporting

  • The RBH Endowment Fund review committee will apply review criteria to proposal review
  • Final selection will be announced in May 2021
  • Upon completion of the award period, funded PIs will provide a brief written report on the project’s scientific results and a financial accounting of how the funds were used

Application Requirements

  • Investigator(s) Information (Profile information, Biosketch)
  • Abstract (200 words maximum)
  • Research Plan (2 pages maximum, excluding references). Describe why this work is novel and requires this funding support, how the project advances the field, relevance to oral and systemic health and well-being, research timeline and milestones and the specific funding opportunities you will target should the project generate expected outcomes
  • Budget and budget narrative/justification
  • Optional supplementary materials: applicants may upload supplementary materials such as references, diagrams and images.


Please contact Ellen Cohen, Executive Director of the UChicago Center for Health and the Social Sciences, at ecohen1@bsd.uchicago.edu with any questions.