Yes. A Q&A session was held on Thursday May 13. This FAQ page has been updated with all questions that were asked during this question. If you have further questions please contact
No! The Database is a pro bono resource available to all non-commercial researchers. You can move forward with your research project regardless of funding awards.
Funding is available for up to $250,000 for a year, with most expected to fall between $50-$100K.
Even if you already are using the Database, you will need to submit a new submission form via the submission hub. It is understandable and acceptable if the submission looks similar to your original proposal. If you are already using the Database, please make sure to indicate in your proposal why you now need funding to support or expand your research.
Grant proposals will be evaluated based on a combination of 1) alignment of the proposal with the stated areas of research focus described in the request for applications; 2) originality of the hypothesis and approach; 3) quality of the proposed method and research team; 4) the likelihood results will have impact on the pandemic and future research; 5) the resource need(s) demonstrated by research groups. Of note, we deeply value equity and wish to ensure broad representation of traditionally underrepresented research groups and universities.
For the grant itself, the amount that can go towards indirect costs is capped at 10 percent. The grants cannot be used to cover equipment or faculty (or equivalent) salaries. PI and senior staff salaries *are discouraged* as part of the budget, however we understand that they may be necessary for certain teams. If you choose to include PI and senior staff salaries please provide justification. Trainees / RAs salaries *can* be included and are encouraged.
Please reach out to
Although there is no ballpark figure of funding requests that we expect, we do believe that there is no dollar amount that is too small to consider. We expect most submissions to request approximately $100,000, however, this will vary per proposal. No one research group can request more than $250,000.
Yes. We strongly encourage the use of figures in your submission form if you would like.
No. Unless there is a grave concern surrounding one of the aims of the proposal, you are still competitive for receiving funding if you have at least one aim that fits the purpose of this program.
Yes, smaller institutions will still be competitive regardless of the number of applications the program receives. Advanced graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, fellows, and young academic research faculty are encouraged to apply for this grant. This being said, we do have to ensure that at least one person on the grant has the academic background needed to successfully carry out the study proposal. All in all, being from a small institution will not hurt your chances of receiving the grant, and you are strongly encouraged to apply.
Refresh rates for each of the datasets can be found here:
No. All data in the database is structured. Some fields within datasets may have an option for open text, leaving the data in those columns a bit unstructured. However, the overall format of the data is structured.
After your study is approved by the Scientific Steering Committee, you will be granted access to the database within two or three weeks.
Information on what types of data the database consists of can be found here: Of note, the database contains information on a population living in the United States, including inpatient and outpatient, confirmed COVID-positive cases and negative COVID tests. We also have data extending back into 2018 and 2019 in order to provide researchers with an adequate baseline and control group. Additionally, we do have lab data.
No, there are no publication restrictions tied back to the funding. It is important to note that researchers must notify the database of any publications, as agreed to in the Data Use Agreement. Along these lines, the grant program is committed to an open science model, meaning that proposals that cannot openly share their results will not be reviewed.
No. Only the grant application is needed. We encourage you to reach out prior to submission if there is a conflict of interest.
Yes. However, all researchers must be aware that the database is strictly for non-commercial research; we have very strict Data Use Agreements with our data source partners to this effect. Several data sources do not approve research unless it is conducted under the auspices of an academic or strictly non-profit organization. Additionally, all data sources have the right to decline a study proposal at any time. If you have any concerns regarding this matter, please contact the researcher support team at
Unfortunately, no. Only researchers that have a reviewed and accepted proposal will be allowed to see the actual data. However, data dictionaries have been provided to help give a surface level overview of what types of data are in the database. Reviewers understand that researchers have not seen the actual data prior to proposal submission.
Yes. However, we do ask that each proposal be distinct. Additionally, please keep in mind that only three researchers per proposal can be provisioned onto our data workspace.
Yes, you will need to submit a generalized itemized budget when applying for the grant program. The submission form contains the following question: “Generally, what are you planning to use the funds for? Please include a rough itemized list as well as why you need these funds. (Note that there is a limit of 10% on indirect costs, to be included in the grant total if applicable).” If you are selected to receive funds there will be additional requests for itemized records of spending as funds are distributed. Submission form is here:
Yes! We encourage you to apply even if you have an ongoing study. This proposal can be a new study or a continuation of your study, with explanation of how the additional funding will improve your research. We ask that you fill out a new submission form (can copy and paste from previous application) along with the new Research Accelerator Program specific pages. Submission form is here:
Yes, the study submission form is the template for the proposal. You can find the submission form here. Please note that there are additional sections at the end of the document that need to be completed if (and only if) you would like to apply for the Research Accelerator Program.
Studies whose proposal obviously do not fit the purpose and scope of the COVID-19 Research Database will be screened out before the official review process. Any study that shows relevance to the purpose of the database and is proposing the use of real-world COVID-19 data will be passed on to reviewers.
All submissions will be initially reviewed by the head of the Scientific Steering Committee for overall relevance and scientific rigor. From there, two reviewers (out of nine) will be assigned to each proposal. Reviewers will read submissions and rate these submissions on a variety of criteria. From there, the committee will pull a list of high potential grants and ultimately choose grantees. Decisions on the grants will be announced June 9th, 2021.
Absolutely! Study proposals that are not ultimately rewarded funds will still be reviewed for scientific rigour and relevance. If your proposal is deemed fit for use of the database, the database will be provided to you at no cost.
Although data purchases are an allowable item, we suggest focusing on the currently available data in the database. The current data sources have come together to provide an extremely rich dataset. Exports of outside data are allowed, even encouraged. However, the holder of said data does need to agree to make these data public within the database. If you have further questions concerning importing data into the analytics environment please contact You can also learn more about our bring your own data policy here:
The money for this grant program ultimately comes from the Gates foundation, but the money is distributed through the Health Cost Care Institute.
At this time there are no limitations as to what the budget can be used for. That being said, the funds should not be used to supplement the income of a principal investigator or senior staff, but rather be used to hire research assistants, postdoctoral researchers, individuals who can code, or cover other niche data management costs that ultimately will enhance the research project.

No, all of the data is provided to the research community free of charge.

The patient level data provided in the database includes claims, consumer, some lab data, and electronic health record data. Unfortunately, at this time there is no genomic data available. It is important to note here that there are publicly available datasets for genomic data, and with our Bring Your Own Data policy we are more than happy to help you bring that data into the database.

Ultimately, this will take a bit of work to figure out whether or not variables are COVID-related. Real world data by nature is a bit messy, and therefore, may take some time to parse apart. The data dictionaries are a perfect place to start in order to determine if a variable is COVID-related.

Some data sources will provide zip code. However, all zip codes have been shortened to their first three digits (e.g., 92618 to 926) in compliance with HIPPA standards.

The process is exactly the same, except there are a few additional pages in the application form specifically aimed at applying for the grant. You will need to submit a new application with the additional information, but the first section of your application can be identical to your previous submission.

At this time we do not have a list of continuing research project in order to protect researcher privacy. However, we are working on some solutions that will allow you to see groups that are conducting similar work, with their permission.

We do have patient level vaccine administration data. However, this data is not comprehensive as we only have vaccines that are reported in claims data rather than at mass vaccination sites or records in an immunization information system. Additionally, testing within public sites will not be in the database.

Within each dataset there will be some sort of patient identifier that could be used to track a patient longitudinally. Additionally, if using the Common Data Schema, Datavant tokens can be used to track a patient longitudinally and across datasets. 

The data dictionaries are only available after registration. After you register and are approved, you can see the data dictionaries here.

We suggest that budget items for grant funding focus around funding post-doctoral researchers, junior faculty, research assistants, technical help, and data management, among other things. This is ultimately up to the discretion of the researcher submitting the proposal, but we would like to ensure that the money is not going towards a principal investigator salary from a well-funded institution.
When initially registering to the database we only need a general overview of what your research plans may entail.
The only source information we can provide is what company the data comes from. Unfortunately, more granular information about data contributors or sources is proprietary information and therefore is not readily available.
Conceptually, the funding offered by this grant program is for one year. However, groups who can complete their studies in less than one year are preferred, as the mission of the Research Accelerator program is to promote research concerning the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible.