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

2020 Call for Proposals

    Release Date: July 1, 2020 | Application Deadline: Wed, 5 Aug 2020

Health is shaped by a complex web of social, economic, and environmental conditions and experiences that extend far beyond the reach of the medical care system. Studies conducted through the Systems for Action (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.

All applicants should make sure that their team includes individuals with relevant expertise in scientific research design, data analysis methodologies, and scientific publication. Applicants from nonacademic settings that do not have an embedded research unit are strongly encouraged to partner with a research institution to provide this expertise.


The need to identify successful system alignment strategies has become increasingly urgent in the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic that causes COVID-19. This pandemic places people with unmet health and social needs at heightened risk of infection and complications, while propagating unmet needs through job losses, school and business closures, occupational risks, and social distancing policies. 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 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.

Eligibility and Selection 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.

Key Dates

  • July 6, 2020 (12 p.m. ET)
    Informational webinar for applicants. Registration is required. Please see the Systems for Action website for registration information:
  • August 5, 2020 (3 p.m. 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

Total Awards

  • Studies should be completed in either a 12-month or a 24-month project period.
  • RWJF will fund up to $100,000 per year.
  • Up to five awards will be funded.  

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
August 05, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET

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Connecting Systems to Build Health Equity During COVID-19

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