• Family Medicine Discovers Rapid Cycle Scientific Discovery and Innovation: FMD RapSDI

    Family Medicine Discovers Rapid Cycle Scientific Discovery and Innovation (FMD RapSDI) is a signature program funded by the AAFP Foundation in collaboration with the AAFP National Research Network (AAFP NRN). FMD RapSDI seeks to build research capacity for family medicine scientific discovery and innovation by funding practicing family physicians to generate new evidence and innovative models for “what works” in real-world primary care settings.

    FMD RapSDI program calls for applications to support short-term innovative and high-impact projects. No previous research experience is required. Physicians selected as FMD RapSDI Scholars will serve as Principal Investigators for their projects and will receive support and mentorship from AAFP NRN Staff to develop and refine a research protocol, perform project activities, and conduct data analysis. Scholars have the opportunity to participate in one or more research conferences/meetings and author a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Two practicing family physicians will be selected as 2020 FMD RapSDI scholars. Each scholar will receive a $40,000 grant for project associated costs and/or to offset time/salary required to conduct research.The AAFP Foundation does not provide grant funds for indirect or overhead costs, including facility and administration costs.

    Meet the 2020 Scholars

    The AAFP National Research Network is proud to introduce the inaugural FMD RapSDI Scholars, Lauren Ciszak, MD and Vijay Singh, MD, MPH, MS, FAAFP. Following a competitive application process, Ciszak and Singh were selected to receive funding and support to address clinical questions and discover what works in a real-world setting through innovative research in primary care.

    Ciszak will begin work on her project titled Medically Tailored Meal Kits as a Means of Decreasing ED Visits and Hospitalizations in Primary Care Patient with Chronic Disease, and Singh will begin his project titled Adapting Evidence-Based Male Intimate Partner Violence Perpetuation Interventions for use by Family Medicine Clinics and Patients. 

    Learn more about the first scholars selected for the program in this news article or apply for RapSDI Cycle 2


    Application submissions are divided into two competitive rounds. Successful applicants from Round 1 will be invited to apply for Round 2.  
    All complete Round 1 submissions will be reviewed, and notifications with decisions sent in November/December 2020. If invited to submit a Round 2 application, selected applicants will be matched with an AAFP NRN staff member and/or outside research mentor - if the applicant has not identified a mentor - to develop a research plan and budget.

    Round 2 applications will be due March 15, 2021.


    To be eligible to apply, the applicants must be:

    • AAFP Member
    • Practicing family physician
    • Any stage of career, post-residency
    • Willing to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) of proposed project over 15-18-month timeline
    • Preference will be given to qualified applicants with no/little previous research experience.

    Proposed projects must meet the following requirements:

    • Topic or clinic-inspired question should be relevant to family medicine, and generalizable or scalable.
    • Project scope feasible to achieve in less than 18 months and within available budget ($40,000).

    Key Dates

    • The application period for 2021 FMD RapSDI Scholars opens July 1
    • July 1, 2020 | Round 1 application period opens
    • Aug. 23, 2020 | Round 1 application period closes at 5:00 p.m. CT
    • Nov./Dec. 2020 | Round 1 decision letters sent to applicants
    • March 1, 2021 | Round 2 application due
    • May 2021 | Two scholars selected and notified
    • June 1, 2021 | Expected project start date


    The Cycle Two application for the Family Medicine Discovers RapSDI program will be open until Aug. 23, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CT.


    The AAFP NRN is seeking volunteer peer reviewers and mentors for FMD RapSDI.  

    Peer Reviewers

    Peer Reviewers will review applications and provide constructive comments for improvement. Timeframe for review is November 5 – 20, 2020. Each reviewer will review a maximum of 10 applications. The expected time commitment for application reviews is approximately six to eight hours.


    Mentors will assist RapSDI scholars in developing a research proposal, protocol, and budget, as well as in identifying professional development opportunities in line with Scholar goals.

    Mentorship Application: Time commitment will be from December 2019 – March 2020. Contact us at nrn@aafp.org.

    Scholar Project Mentorship: Time commitment will be dependent on project performance period. Each project will be 12-18 months in duration. Contact us at nrn@aafp.org.

    Scholar Deliverables

    • Complete project/intervention as outlined in proposal submitted during round 2 application.
    • Prepare brief quarterly reports due August and November 2020, and February 2021
    • Write a final report, which may be in the form of a manuscript for a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
    • Present a research poster or presentation on project results at an appropriate meeting or conference in 2021.
    • Allow AAFP to feature Scholar and project in promotions for FMD RapSDI
    • Participate in 1-3 professional development activities as appropriate for Scholar’s career goals

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Can I propose more than one topic or idea? An applicant can submit multiple topics, but each idea/topic must be submitted in a separate application. The personal statement in each application should match the idea/topic.
    • Do I need to be an AAFP member to apply? Applicants must be an AAFP member. A membership number is required to submit application. Click here to join.
    • If I am graduating from residency in June 2020, am I eligible to apply for this round of FMD RapSDI? No, you must be a practicing family physician in order to apply to the first round. You are eligible to apply in 2020.
    • Do I need to identify a research mentor in Round 1? No, you do not need to identify a research mentor in Round 1. Application reviewers will not see responses to this question during the Round 1 selection phase. This question is included in the application to help the FMD RapSDI assemble a mentorship team for the four candidates that advance to Round 2. If you do not have someone to serve as a research mentor, the FMD RapSDI team will help identify researcher(s) to assist you in developing an application based on topic and/or methods.
    • What is expected of my research mentor? A research mentor will be asked to help refine and develop your research question, protocol, instruments, and budget. They will be asked to have regular meetings with you to discuss your research plan. They may also be asked to connect with FMD RapSDI staff on a monthly basis during the Round 2 application phase.

    For more information, please email nrn@aafp.org.