The Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities (CSRO) program provides one-year awards of cash and in-kind support via a peer-reviewed process established by the Qualcomm Institute (QI), previously called the UC San Diego division of Calit2. QI hopes to encourage high-impact research by faculty and research scientists who are already affiliated with the institute at UC San Diego, or who would like to be affiliated going forward. (For specifics related to the 2014 program, read the Call for Proposals.)


The goal of the CSRO program is to engage researchers systematically in targeted areas with one-year, non-renewable programs that provide the researchers with the ability to utilize QI cash and in-kind resources in a manner that enables advancing QI goals as outlined in its Strategic Plan. We emphasize that this program is not a mini-grant program; it is designed to provide seed funding that may leverage much larger activities and put QI-affiliated researchers in a better position to apply for large-scale support from federal and other funding sources. The potential for later add-on funding from federal and other sources is a key component to this initiative, as such later support could prove instrumental in moving CSRO-funded projects forward to the next stage of scientific progress.

Ideally, CSRO funding will reward new, innovative ideas or collaborations with QI, or will help kick-start new projects. CSRO does not seek to provide emergency or bridge funding to existing research projects.

Projects should focus on their overall benefit to QI and should not simply make use of the institute’s resources. Key thoughts to consider include:

  • What research or programs will add the most value to QI going forward?
  • How does the proposed project bring in new ideas or collaborators to QI?
  • How is this project novel yet still complementary to the application thrusts, research initiatives, and technology-enabling areas emphasized by QI and the campus community?


The 2014 CSRO program committee is chaired by Dr. Curt Schurgers, who is now QI’s functional manager overseeing the institute’s wireless, prototyping and circuits labs.

a. Subject to availability of funds, a Call for Proposal is issued with targeted technical areas in which proposals are sought along with description of the QI infrastructural (technical staff, research resources) facilities that would be available for a given call. It is anticipated that members of QI’s Divisional Council will actively encourage specific projects from the campus community to ensure responsiveness to QI’s strategic goals;

b. A proposal should identify the activity to be pursued (an experiment, a grant writing effort, a collaborative proposal, seed project) and specific QI resources (cash and in-kind) to be used in the project (see the CSRO Guide to Qualcomm Institute Facilities, Services and Resources at UC San Diego for information on available in-kind resources that may be awarded along with cash for a CSRO grant);

c. The proposal should identify the resulting outcome and success measures, as well as the timeframe over which the success can be measured. Preference will be given to projects that can identify quantitative measures of success.

d. The proposals will be evaluated by the CSRO Program Committee, for recommendations to the QI director. The committee may use outside reviewers for proposals as needed. The decisions will be communicated by the QI director.

e. An award may consist of support for faculty member summer/faculty salary exchange (FSE), access to equipment and/or staff engineer, other services, and/or cash support, and cannot exceed $50,000.

f. The bulk of the program support will be in the form of access to well-defined periods of time with specific staff engineers and other resources at QI, in addition to cash allotments. Requests that seek to spend CSRO grant funds on equipment or people resources outside of QI must be well justified;

g. The CSRO program chair will report to the Executive Council and Research Infrastructure committee on the project progress and results halfway through the 12-month project year, and at its conclusion; and

h. Final budgets for funded projects must be prepared by QI financial support staff, and modified as required by campus and QI rules and procedures.