Mission Statement

The Office of Research Program Development (RPD) was established in 1993 to foster multidisciplinary biomedical and health services research at the University of Pennsylvania. In this role, RPD:

  • Provides project management to Principal Investigators (PI’s) in the  coordination and development of large and complex grant proposals across all research fields
  • Provides funding opportunities and administrative oversight for multidisciplinary research retreats
  • Identifies availability of contract opportunities and provides staff support for preparation of federal contract applications
  • Provides guidance to faculty and staff concerning proposal submission and oversees the preparation of competitive proposals, including writing and editorial assistance
  • Serves as a resource for the Perelman School of Medicine regarding state and federal submission guidelines and policies that impact research funding and the research enterprise
  • Facilitates the identification of funding sources for department chairs and individual PI’s in response to the funding opportunities landscape  and new research directions of  the federal government, foundations and  professional societies
  • Provides guidance regarding the development and implementation of new research institutes and centers
  • Facilitates and coordinates preliminary meetings to discuss new research initiatives or opportunities

In addition to these functions, the Office of Research Program Development is responsible for maintaining the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Research website; SOM research electronic signage boards and web calendar, administration of the Perelman School of Medicine's Awards of Excellence; coordination of the School's limited application process; and administrative oversight of the grant writing seminar.

RPD assistance is intended to supplement, not supplant departmental, institute and/or center resources. RPD tailors services to the specific needs and requirements of individual departments and investigators.



Multidisciplinary Proposals

Research Program Development (RPD) assists Perelman School of Medicine faculty with the preparation and submission of large multidisciplinary grant and contract submissions,  such as Research Program Projects and Centers (P awards), Cooperative Agreements (U awards) and NIH and other federal grant and contract submissions (DARPA, DOD, PCORI, etc.).

To request RPD assistance, please call (215) 898-0132 or email RPD@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Services Offered by RPD include:

  • Professional administrative expertise and advice on organizing and preparing proposals
  • Technical and project management support for proposal development and submission, including working in ASSIST (NIH's electronic submission gateway for multi-project grant applications) to create and develop applications, complete form pages and upload attachments
  • Writing and editorial assistance from a dedicated grant writer and scientific editor
  • Coordinating and establishing links throughout the University and programs in other schools
  • Preparation of administrative components, including requesting and formatting biographical sketches and other administrative components
  • Assistance with drafting and routing with letters of intent and letters of support
  • Information about institutional support available for research projects
  • Production assistance with all aspects of the paper submission and PDF creation, for those mechanisms not yet transitioned to electronic submission

Departmental Responsibilities:

  • Prepares departmental and composite budgets, budget justification pages and checklist page
  • Provides clerical support for preparation of administrative and scientific components
  • Coordinates proposal preparation and submission in conjunction with RPD


Federal Contract Applications

RPD assists Perelman School of Medicine faculty with the preparation of responses to NIH and other Federal agencies, which are released as Requests for Proposals (RFP) or Broad Agency Annoucements (BAA).

To request RPD assistance, please call (215) 898-0132 or email RPD@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Services Offered by RPD:

  • Provides administrative expertise and advice on organizing and preparing proposals
  • Assists in reviewing proposed budgets for responsiveness to guidelines
  • Provides writing and editorial assistance from a dedicated grant writer and scientific editor
  • Assembles administrative components, such as past performance, travel policies, etc.
  • Identifies small businesses that can provide the necessary services or products required by the contract
  • Develops the Small Business Subcontracting Plan based upon the final budget
  • Coordinates all production related activities; duplicates, packages and mails proposal
  • Assists with Final Proposal Revisions (FPR) , Best and Final Offers (BAFO) and helps respond to NIH inquiries

Departmental Responsibilities:

  • Prepares departmental and composite budgets and budget justifications
  • Provides clerical support for administrative and scientific components
  • Oversees and coordinates submission in conjunction with RPD



Multidisciplinary Research Retreats

The Perelman School of Medicine supports multidisciplinary research retreats through RPD, with the goal of generating an increased number of multidisciplinary proposals and awards.

Timeline: A solicitation announcement with instructions and PSOM research retreat guidelines will be distributed annually in the fall and again mid-year, if funds become available. Depending upon the number of applicants and the quality of the proposals, retreat funds will be awarded in amounts up to $8,000.

Application: Requests that include a plan for submitting a multidisciplinary proposal for extramural funding will be given priority. The request for retreat assistance should include the following:

  • PI must be a faculty member
  • Applicant name, title and mailing address
  • Retreat title and topic
  • List of faculty co-investigators
  • Targeted audience, including departments, schools, Universities
  • Proposed budget
  • Anticipated number of attendees
  • Retreat date
  • Description of the potential for funding and type of project (P01, P30, etc.)

Services Offered by RPD:

  • Provides expertise in retreat organization
  • Coordinates planning meetings and schedules
  • Schedules facilities and audiovisual aids
  • Develops and distributes invitations/announcements
  • Prepares and prints abstract book
  • Staffs retreat events
  • Provides advance and onsite registration
  • Supplies pins, name badges and other administrative items

Departmental Responsibilities: The departmental business administrator administers the funds provided by RPD. The business administrator returns any unspent funds to RPD within 30 days following the retreat.

Principal Investigator Responsibilities: The principal investigator provides oversight and direction throughout the planning phase. The PI will be expected to prepare a brief progress report at the conclusion of the retreat with emphasis on the specific grants submitted as a result of the retreat funds.

Questions related to retreats should be directed to Tammy Gowans.



Digital Signage and Research Web Calendar

RPD manages requests for the PSOM research electronic signage boards, as well as the PSOM research web calendar.

General: To request RPD assistance with digital signage, please submit the information as you would like it to appear on the digital signage board. Please review the signage standards developed by the Space Planning & Operations Media Technology and Production group.

 The flyer should include the following:

  • Sponsor (department/center/institute)
  • Speaker's name and affiliation
  • The title of the talk/program/conference
  • Event date and time
  • Event location
  • All files should be sent as image files (e.g., JPG, TIF, etc.)

Requests for digital signage should be sent to Tammy Gowans.  Please note that events can be posted to the digital signage board no earlier than two weeks prior to the date of the event.


General: To have events placed on the PSOM research web calendar, please email Tammy Gowans with the following information:

  • Sponsor (department/center/institute)
  • Speaker's name and affiliation
  • Title of the talk/program/conference
  • Event date and time
  • Event location




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