Program details

The program typically admits 2-4 Visiting Professors each year. Because of the small number of participants, the six-week summer program at CAPS is specifically tailored to the needs of those attending. Each Visiting Professor attends three consecutive summer programs at CAPS.

What you can expect during each summer

  • Participants will attend approximately 2-4 seminars per week. The seminars cover many aspects of the research/grant writing process, which are addressed in the context of the projects being developed by program participants. For more details, please see the description of Summer Program Seminars.
  • Each week participants complete a writing assignment. The writing assignment is a section of their NIH grant proposal (i.e., specific aims, significance, approach).
  • Each week participants are expected to read other participant’s writing assignments and provide written comments. Program faculty also read each participant’s written products.
  • First year participants will also develop a concept document for their Applied Research Experience.
  • At the end of the summer, a peer review is conducted for each participant’s grant proposal in a process that mimics the NIH peer review process. A program faculty, fellow Visiting Professor, and outside reviewer with expertise specific to the grant proposal’s topic will read and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the grant proposal. The reviewers also provide written feedback. Other participants are also expected to read their peers grant proposals and provide verbal feedback.
  • Depending on their progress, program participants may spend the second summer revising their original proposals from Year 1, or developing a second proposal to submit for NIH funding.
  • Through the seminars, weekly assignments, and reading each other’s work, participants gain an in-depth knowledge of each other’s research programs.

Program faculty also read each Visiting Professor’s written products, as well as lead seminars, offer mentorship, and provide consultation throughout the summer program. The structure of the summer program enables VPs and program faculty to develop collaborative relationships and provide valuable and meaningful input that improves VPs’ likelihood of receiving a favorable review at NIH. Information about the research interests of the program faculty members is available here.

Funding for the Applied Research Experience

We expect to fund each researcher for up to $20,000 to conduct an Applied Research Experience (ARE) before the second summer. This ARE should facilitate completion of an R-level grant via the analysis of data and research skills acquisition. 

Please note: Starting with the summer of 2020, the Applied Research Experience takes the place of the CAPS-funded pilot study, a feature of the VP program for many years. Many past program participants used their pilot study support to collect formative data to inform their NIH grant proposal. The funding mechanism supporting the VP program no longer permits the use of program funds to support collecting data from human subjects. For more information about activities that may be supported under the ARE, please review the application requirements.  

Stipend and travel support

Participants are appointed as UCSF Faculty during each summer program, and receive a stipend totaling $15,000. The stipend is taxable income and is paid in two installments, one after the first half of the summer program and the second at the end of the summer program. The stipend serves to help cover living expenses, including lodging, food, and local transportation. In addition to the stipend, the program offers up to $1,000 for round-trip airfare and travel costs to and from San Francisco each summer.

Other professional support

The Visiting Professors program also supports the dissemination of the research conducted by participants related to their participation in the program. The program provides funding of up to $2,000 for attending a scientific conference to present the findings of their Applied Research Experience. In the time during the academic year between summer programs, program faculty from UCSF have ongoing contact with the participants to support their progress toward completing the ARE, analyzing and interpreting data, and preparing NIH grant proposals and manuscripts.


Participants are responsible for locating and paying for their housing in San Francisco. Campus Life Services at UCSF offers housing resources, including short-term lodging, and there are a number of online listing services for short-term housing in the Bay Area (e.g.,


Visiting Professors are likely to have important commitments to their families and may wish to bring family members along to San Francisco during the summer program. Participants may wish to visit UCSF’s Family Services Webpage, which contains a Child Care Referral Service and other resources. A few Visiting Professors have successfully used their services in the past and have been satisfied with the quality of the referrals.