The Medical Education Research and Innovation Challenge (MERIC) aims to promote international educational scholarship and innovation by leveraging the ScholarRx platform, which serves more than 40,000 student and physician learners each year. The MERIC small grants program will support medical education investigators seeking to collaborate with the ScholarRx team to investigate wide-ranging educational challenges. We have allocated $250,000 for distribution in small grants over 5 years.

Funding Priorities

We are seeking three types of scholarly projects:

  1. Program Evaluation: Evaluation of an existing program of learning that addresses clearly defined and meaningful outcomes using a methodologically rigorous evaluation plan. ScholarRx/USMLE-Rx elements (e.g., Rx Bricks, Qmax questions, Flash Facts, Express Videos) must form a substantial element of the program. Learn more about the MERIC Grant Proposal Evaluation here.
  2. Educational Research: Educational research that addresses a significant gap in the medical education literature, is methodologically rigorous, highly generalizable, and uses ScholarRx/USMLE-Rx as a substantial element of study.
  3. Innovation Program: Development of an educational innovation that is novel and addresses a significant gap in the medical education literature. The development plan must be coupled to a methodologically rigorous evaluation plan and use ScholarRx/USMLE-Rx as a substantial element of the innovation.

Learner-centered proposals that capitalize on ScholarRx’s data and infrastructure will receive higher priority. Multi-institutional studies will be viewed favorably and are most appropriate for larger grants, but well-designed adequately powered single institution studies are also acceptable. Projects should have a timeline of 12 to 24 months. Grantees will be required to submit a progress report at one year. All funded projects must disseminate results in a regional or national public scholarly forum.


Projects must utilize ScholarRx/USMLE-Rx products. We encourage student, resident, and faculty investigators, and will give preference to faculty-learner teams and projects that involve learners in research design, execution, or application. Principal investigators not at the doctorate level should consider submitting a letter of support from a doctorate level research sponsor.

Two-Step Submission Process

  1. Letter of Intent (LOI): All investigators must initially submit an LOI, including a cover page and letter:
    • Cover page with the following information:
      • Name of principal investigator(s) with academic title, host institution(s), address(es), phone number(s), and email(s).
      • Title of proposed project.
      • Type of scholarly project: 1) program evaluation; 2) educational research; or 3) innovation program
      • ScholarRx/USMLE-Rx component(s) utilized.
    • Letter limited to 1 page (not including cover page), single-spaced, 11-point font, 1-inch margins, with the following information:
      • Background/rationale (gap in literature), research question, and specific aim(s).
      • Description of proposed educational evaluation/research/innovation, including conceptual framework, basic evaluation/study design including assessment plan, expected sample size, and how ScholarRx/USMLE-Rx components will be used.
      • Budget request (including broad cost categories, need not include detailed itemization, total budget not to exceed $10,000).
      • References (not included in 1-page limit).
  2. Full proposal (invitation only): The MERIC grant committee will review LOIs and anticipates inviting around 10 investigators to submit a full proposal, the details of which can be reviewed here. We plan to fund approximately 3-5 projects per funding cycle. Typical approved budgets range from $2,500 to $5,000. Highly qualified proposals, including multi-institutional studies, may have approved budgets up to $10,000.


A full description of the proposal requirements can be viewed here, and should include:

  • Cover page (title, principal investigator(s), contact information
  • Abstract (limit 400 words)
  • Proposal (limit 5 pages, single spaced)
    • Background/rationale
    • Research question/hypothesis and specific aims
    • Methodology (including full study design, participants/sampling frame if relevant, data collection/management, ScholarRx components/collaboration, and analysis plan)
    • Anticipated outcomes/impact (including plan for dissemination at regional/national level)
    • Timeline (detailed, not to exceed 24 months)
    • Budget (itemized with justification, total expenditures not to exceed $10,000)
    • References (not included in page limit)
  • Personnel (study team biosketches)
  • Human subjects (plan for IRB approval)
  • Letter of support (optional)

An example of a funded MERIC proposal can be viewed here.

Submission Deadline, Review Process and Contact

  • December 1, 2020: LOI submission Due
  • December 31, 2020: Notification of LOI Acceptance
  • Februrary 15, 2021: Grant Proposal Due
  • April 2, 2021: Notification of Projects Awarded

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by the MERIC Small Grants Committee (view the evaluation criteria here).

Progress and Final Reports

Principal investigators must submit a progress report after one year. Progress towards stated objectives and scholarly dissemination will dictate second-year funding for two-year projects. Similarly, at project completion, a final report must be submitted (details to be provided). Unused funds shall be returned to ScholarRx.

Project Dissemination

All projects must be disseminated at regional/national scholarly venues, and all publications, presentations, and/or products must acknowledge the ScholarRx MERIC grant as a sponsor of the work.