CITRIS Seed Funding program invites proposals for pandemic and disaster preparedness projects

citris logo

CITRIS and the Banatao Institute at UC Santa Cruz is inviting UCSC researchers to apply for research support through its Campus Seed Funding program. For 2020, the program will fund projects focused on providing solutions to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and disaster preparedness.

The UC Santa Cruz Campus Seed Funding program, which is separate from the broader CITRIS Core Seed Funding initiative, focuses on strengthening interdisciplinary connections on the Santa Cruz campus. The program will fund early-stage research that furthers the CITRIS and the Banatao Institute mission and has strong promise of securing external funding.

The program ordinarily requires projects to include at least two principal investigators from different UC Santa Cruz campus divisions. While that is still strongly encouraged for 2020, projects with a single PI will be accepted this year in order to streamline the process and encourage responses in this unprecedented time.

Pandemic and disaster preparedness proposals may address, but are not limited to, the following areas of research.

Broader Impacts

  • Education innovation: Zoom has become the ad-hoc replacement for most instruction. What technologies and new approaches can make remote education more effective? How do we ensure access to all students?

  • Future of work: Again, Zoom is the new office for many, yet many essential workers, from meat packers to farmworkers to grocery clerks, have been placed at greater risk, revealing glaring inequities in our workforce. How can we innovate to support both workers able to work virtually and those who cannot? What kinds of innovations, including in digital informatics and robotics, can help?

  • Community Building: Vulnerable populations across many demographic lines are inordinately impacted by social isolation. What tools and strategies can we use to better direct resources and support?

  • Food Supply: Perishable products like dairy, eggs, and produce are being composted at industrial scale, while lines at food banks stretch for miles in some states. How can we track and redirect these resources?

  • Technology-enabled policy responses to address disinformation and misinformation, privacy concerns and surveillance, or communication network analysis to identify the flow and effect of COVID-19-related information.

Detection & Surveillance

  • Novel analytics on the threat, vulnerabilities, and spread of COVID-19.

  • Innovations to identify and support populations vulnerable to COVID-19 using digital health or machine intelligence, including but not limited to older adults, those with underlying health conditions, and homeless persons.

Treatment Innovations

  • Enhanced telehealth methodologies to support healthcare professionals in the diagnosis and care of patients with COVID-19.

  • Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning (AI/ML) predictive analytics to support diagnosis, care and treatment of persons with COVID-19.

  • Technology-enabled strategies to support care processes for the healthcare workforce serving persons with COVID-19.

  • Innovations in personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the healthcare workforce.

  • Use of robotics in healthcare settings to reduce risk to human care providers or otherwise complement their work.

  • Development of decision-support methodologies, tracking systems, visualizations, or dashboards for use by clinicians and/or policymakers.

The submission deadline is June 22, 2020. A campus information session will be held via Zoom for all interested parties on Thursday, May 21, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. To attend, RSVP at

For more information, contact Michael Matkin, assistant director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute at UC Santa Cruz, at

CITRIS and the Banatao Institute create information technology solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. Established in 2001, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) leverages the interdisciplinary research strengths of four UC campuses—Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Davis and Merced—to advance UC’s mission and the innovative spirit of California. The institute was created to shorten the pipeline between world-class laboratory research and the development of cutting-edge applications, platforms, companies, and even new industries.