Grant Application Submission Process FAQs

These questions address issues associated with the grant application submission process.

General Questions

How do I sign up for the applicant webinar?

Registration is required, and should be done through the soliciation page on the RWJF website.

How do I submit my application?

All applications should be made through No faxes, hard copies or emails will be accepted. Proposals must be submitted through the online portal for consideration.

What is the late submission policy?

To be fair to all applicants, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation strictly enforces the submission deadline. Late proposals will not be accepted.

Where can I find additional resources to help me understand the process?

The Resources section of this website provides more detailed information on PHLR Methods, what we have funded in the past, and other resources for grantees and researchers. Visit for more information.

Additionally, applicants may contact the National Program Office (NPO) at or 215-204-2134 with technical questions about the proposal submission process.

Creating the Proposal

What can grant funds be used for?

Grant funds may be used for project staff salaries, consultant fees, data collection and analysis, meetings, supplies, project-related travel and other direct project expenses, including a limited amount of equipment essential to the project. In keeping with RWJF policy, grant funds may not be used to subsidize individuals for the costs of their health care, to support clinical trials of unapproved drugs or devices, to construct or renovate facilities, for lobbying or as a substitute for funds currently being used to support similar activities.

Can a proposal be submitted that requests less than the maximum award amount?

Yes. Individuals may submit proposals for any amount of funding less than the maximum.

Is in-kind funding allowed?

Although not required, additional in-kind or external funding is welcome and should be described in the proposal.

What is the allowable rate for indirect costs? What is covered under indirect costs?

Indirect costs are overhead expenses incurred by the applicant organization as a result of the project but that are not easily identifiable with a specific project. These are administrative expenses that are related to overall operations and are shared among projects and/or functions. Examples include executive oversight, accounting, grants management, legal expenses, utilities, and facility maintenance.

The Foundation's approved indirect rate is 12% of all RWJF costs (Personnel, Other Direct Costs, and Purchased Services) associated with the project.  However, if the Purchased Services subcategory equals more than 33% of the total of Personnel, Other Direct Costs, and Purchased Services costs requested of RWJF, 4% indirect is allowed on Purchased Services, and 12% indirect is allowed on other budget subcategories. State the amount requested from RWJF and the amounts being provided from other sources.

It’s acceptable to budget less than RWJF’s allowable indirect rate but not more.  No exceptions to RWJF’s indirect rate will be approved so please make certain your organization budgets accordingly.

Do applicants budget for travel and related meetings?

Grantees will be invited to participate in an Annual Meeting hosted by the NPO. Travel and accommodation for two senior personnel will be paid for by the NPO, and should not be included as a separate line item in the applicant's budget. Any additional travel of planned meetings should be included in the applicant's budget. More information about grantee budgeting can be found in the Reporting Requirements section:

Can we budget for undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, or tuition?

Yes, all personnel-related expenses are eligible for inclusion.

From whom should I get letters of support? How detailed should they be?

Letters of support should be obtained from outside partners or collaborators who are key to your research (e.g., your local health department). A letter of support should indicate what the collaborator's role in your research study will be, acknowledging the commitment and scope of work. The letters can be addressed to National Program Office Director Scott Burris, JD.

What information do you require about subcontracts/relationships between institutions, and how should we submit that information?

A fact sheet for subcontracts is a component of the application at and requests the following information: name of contractor, start and end date of agreement, cost of subcontract, workplan/deliverables. A budget and budget narrative for each subcontract should also be prepared and submitted with the proposal.

What format should be used for bio-sketches?

There is no specific required format for the bio-sketches, but the application template gives a detailed list of information that should be provided.

We have more than five collaborators, can we include their bio-sketches?

The bio-sketch template should be used for the principal investigator, co-principal investigator, and up to three additional key team members. You can list all team members in the Work and Dissemination Plan section, but use the bio-sketch section to demonstrate that you have a team with the sophistication and expertise to conduct the research that you have proposed.

When references should be provided, how should these be formatted?

There is no preferred style for references. Please consistently use a standard reference format that includes the full citation (i.e., author(s), year published, title of reference, source of reference, volume, chapter, page numbers, and publisher, as appropriate).

Can we submit an application with one PI and multiple co-PIs?

There is only space in the online system to designate one PI and one co-PI. Please list all other collaborators as senior personnel.

What types of dissemination activities are considered most valuable?

Dissemination begins with the audience. Identify who will be interested in the work, the desired population(s) and the best way to communicate with them. Based on the audiences identified, select multiple dissemination methods. Examples of dissemination methods include peer-reviewed publications, news conferences, websites and policy briefs. We encourage applicants to look at other RWJF programs to see additional examples of creative dissemination. The dissemination plan should address who the audiences are and why the identified communication method was selected to reach them. It is extremely important that the results of research are effectively conveyed to stakeholders, including public health practitioners and policy makers. The NPO will work with grantees to develop a plan for effective dissemination of the study findings to policymakers and public health law practitioners, as well as to the research community.