The Qualcomm Institute (QI), the UCSD Division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), invites proposals for funding of projects under the third round of the Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities (CSRO) program. CSRO aims to support high-impact, one-year projects to begin July 1, 2014, in specific areas of interest identified in UC San Diego’s strategic research initiatives and the QI Strategic Plan.

Supported efforts are expected to be distinctive and have a clearly articulated potential for leading to future extramural funding for larger-scale projects or center efforts, and/or result in creative products that directly recognize QI leadership in the field. Interdisciplinary projects are preferred. QI is using gifts and grantfunds from industry partners, notably Qualcomm, Inc., and other private sources to underwrite the CSRO program.Additional funds may come from affiliated research centers at UC San Diego.

  • Center for Wireless Communications (CWC), which has broad interests to support research in robust wireless communication, multimedia communication and systems, devices for next-generation communication, wireless health, and more;
  • Information Theory and Applications Center (ITA), which has expressed interest in areas including communication and social networks, inference in noisy and large data, and coding for cloud computing and storage;
  • Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), which is interested in projects that relate to optics and photonics in data centers, multicore computing/processing, and sensing;
  • Moxie Center, the Jacobs School of Engineering’s newly-established incubator, which aims to promote entrepreneurial projects and experiences for engineering undergraduates; and
  • I3@Calit2, a soon-to-be-announced research initiative in Calit2 funded by the Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI), which is interested in Wireless HD Interface projects as well as power semiconductor technology for renewable energy.


Only QI Academic Participants who are eligible to serve as an independent Principal Investigator (PI) for an extramural award may submit a proposal (more information can be found in the PI Eligibility Section below, including a mechanism for becoming an Academic Participant in the institute). All proposals must be submitted electronically through the CSRO Proposal Upload form.

  • CSRO goals: An overview of the principles and goals of the CSRO program can be found under the “About” tab. It is crucial that potential projects mesh with these CSRO principles; this also serves as one of the main evaluation criteria during review.
  • Note: Proposals should not request continued support for research projects previously funded by the CSRO program. Any such proposal will not be considered for funding. In addition, CSRO does not seek to provide emergency or bridge funding to existing research projects.
  • CSRO focus areas: Researchers should submit proposals that address areas of strategic emphasis at the campus or institute level. These include:

  • UC San Diego Strategic Plan’s newly-outlined research initiatives that are planned for rollout in summer 2014. The research initiatives include:
  • Understanding and Protecting the Planet;
  • Exploring the Basis of Human Knowledge and Creativity;
  • Enriching Human Life and Society; and
  • Understanding Cultures and Addressing Inequities.
  • For the 2014-15 round, CSRO will encourage proposals related to robotics, in light of campus plans to develop a Robotics Institute with particular emphasis on the emerging consumer market for robotic systems; as well as proposals related to the campus brain initiative, led by the UCSD’s new Center for Brain Activity Mapping, in which QI is a partner.

  • As in previous rounds, CSRO projects should also be consistent with Calit2’s “Path Forward” strategy adopted by the institute in 2011, most of which are consistent with the areas advanced in the UC San Diego Strategic Plan. Applicants will be requested in the proposal upload form to identify one or more related enabling technology (wireless, photonics, cyberinfrastructure, and/or nano-MEMS), as well as one or more application thrusts (culture, energy, environment and/or health). Proposers are urged to visit for more information on current QI research interests, as well as a news release about the range of projects selected in the 2012 round.

  • CSRO will also welcome proposals that may be relevant to various campus research efforts in which the Qualcomm Institute is involved. These include, most notably:
  • Center for Networked Systems (CNS);
  • Center for Wireless Communications (CWC);
  • Food and Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21);
  • Blum Cross-Border Initiative; and the
  • Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination.

  • Nature of support: CSROs are typically awarded as cash and/or in-kind support or CSRO Fellowships for graduate student researchers.
  • In most cases, CSROs are awarded on average as 50% cash, 50% in-kind support, but individual proposals may be weighted more heavily in cash, or vice versa. In-kind support refers to QI services and facilities, including specialized equipment, engineering staff, R&D development, etc. Applicants should note specific QI services, facilities, or resources required by the proposed research project. For an overview of what is available, arranged by area (including contact information), as well as the internal UCSD recharge rates (where applicable), download the CSRO Guide to Qualcomm Institute Facilities, Services and Resources at UC San Diego. In the Proposal Upload form, PIs will be asked to indicate with which QI functional area they will be interfacing to provide these services (if applicable). It is required that the PI reach out to the contact person in the functional area(s) prior to submitting the proposal, to ensure that the proposal is prepared in collaboration with them, and that the functional area has the necessary capabilities to support the proposed project.

  • Where appropriate, the CSRO program may fund part or all of a one-year CSRO Fellowship for a graduate student researcher. CSRO Fellowships can be split to support two GSRs for six-month periods each. Proposals must be consistent with the goals of developing new research or technology development projects, and CSRO Fellowships will not be awarded as part of a continuing research project.
  • Types of projects: It is desired that this participation uses as much as possible QI’s existing resources and services. Funding will provide access to specific QI resources that are not easily available elsewhere and are critical to engaging and enabling researchers. These include access to equipment such as photonics; circuits; digital systems prototyping and computing capabilities; visualization capabilities; communications support (writing, editing, Web development); and audio-visual support. Specifically, CSRO encourages the following types of proposals:
  • New research project

  • New technology development project

  • Grant writing support: The goal is explicitly to support PIs to put together larger grant- writing efforts such as large multi-PI/multi-university or center proposals. Funding can cover PI’s time, travel associated with team creation, support for workshops, and in-house grant writing support. CSRO proposals of this nature are encouraged in the 2014 round of funding. The goal is to target large follow-up efforts. The CSRO proposal should detail which program will be targeted, its deadlines, the funding level, and all relevant information. Note that this support is different from seed funding, as it specifically targets the grant writing itself rather than obtaining initial results.


  • Proposal format: Proposals should be 3 to 5 pages. Included in this page count is the proposal body as well as a budget table (both are explained further below).

  • Proposal body: Researchers should submit proposals that fit within the goals and focus of the CSRO solicitation, as described in the section “Overview” above. Specific elements that should be included are:
  • Research Description, Technical Details, and Work Plan: Describe the proposed project and a quarterly work plan with goals and milestones.

  • Innovative Claims: Briefly describe the state of the art and what sets the proposed effort apart. Why is this effort relevant now?

  • Key Outcomes and Success Measures: Describe specific metrics you would use to measure progress and successful execution of the proposed effort. This is an important part of the proposal, and must be described using measures that are as quantitative as possible.

  • Follow-up Opportunities: Identify specific funding solicitations and/or programs that could be the target of a follow-up proposal to federal and other extramural funding agencies based on CSRO-funded work. Outline any specific reasons why the proposed CSRO project would enhance the PI’s ability to go after follow-on funding from NSF, NIH, or other grant-making institutions.

  • Project Budget Table: List expense categories and amounts; do not include any institutional overheads. For more details on the budget, see the separate “Budget Requirements” section below.

  • Identify QI Resources: CSROs are typically awarded in two parts: cash, and in-kind, for use of QI facilities, services and resources. If QI resources are used, the relevant functional area will need to be indicated in the Proposal Upload form. Note that manager of the selected functional area must be consulted before proposal submission.


Proposers may seek a mix of cash and in-kind support for projects budgeted up to $50,000.

  • CSRO Fellowships: Where appropriate, the CSRO program may fund part or all of a one-year fellowship for a graduate student researcher. Fellowship amounts vary according to levels mandated by the CSRO Fellow’s home division or department. CSRO Fellowships can be split to support two GSRs for six-month periods.

  • No Overhead: All awards will consist of unrestricted gift funds that do not carry institutional overheads.

  • Matching Requirements: There are no matching requirements for the 2014 round of CSRO proposals.

  • Budget Table: Budgets should contain a table with basic information on costs for personnel as well as planned use of in-kind services (based on hourly or other rates spelled out in the CSRO Guide to Qualcomm Institute Facilities, Services and Resources at UC San Diego). Note: Final budgets for funded projects must be prepared by QI financial support staff, and modified as required by campus and QI rules and procedures. 


All proposals will be evaluated under a peer-review process on the following criteria (in no specific order). The final decision will take into account the following considerations:

  • • Satisfying the goals and principles of the CSRO program, including the technical merits, relevance to the strategic objectives, realism and relevance to QI

  • • Promoting a balance between allocations across the research initiative thrusts, the disciplines (functional areas) within QI, as well as the different proposal types (grant writing, research, technology development).


Applicants must be (a) affiliated with the Qualcomm Institute and listed as an Academic Participant on the Calit2 website. If you are not already affiliated with QI, you are invited to submit a CSRO Investigator Agreement, at which point you will be considered an Academic Participant who is eligible to apply for support under the CSRO program IF (b) you are eligible to serve as an independent Principal Investigator (PI) for an extramural award. Most faculty and research scientist appointments, plus some other classifications, are qualified to be Principal Investigators, and the eligibility requirement will be strictly enforced. Interested investigators who are unsure about their eligibility for CSRO support should contact Nancy Lee, QI’s business office manager, for assistance in determining PI status.


The deadline for submitting a complete proposal under CSRO guidelines is April 30, 2014. The target start date for projects selected for CSRO funding is July 1, 2014.