Testimonials and Awards


"My colleague Christopher Young (University of Cambridge) and I have organized an international, multi-year research project on the global history of sport in the Cold War. We had raised roughly sixty percent of the funding we needed but were having trouble coming up with the rest. I contacted the research office and was responded to by Sharon Franks. When I went to meet her, she explained that she usually worked on science and engineering projects that cost in the millions. She was, nevertheless, eager to help us. Very quickly, she identified the collaborative research program of the National Endowment for the Humanities as our best hope. She told us exactly who to approach and precisely what to say. Writing the grant proposal was an extremely lengthy and difficult process, but Sharon was able to provide extensive and always useful advice. There were a number of bumps along the way, but Sharon helped us through these various mini-crises. We were ultimately successful in winning what was a very difficult competition to win. It is not an exaggeration to say we could not have done this without Sharon. As humanists, we had been used to being second fiddle at UCSD, but your office made us feel very welcome and valued. Big thanks to all, but especially to Sharon." 

Robert Edelman
Professor of Russian History and the History of Sport
History Department
University of California, San Diego



"Working with RAPIDS was a true pleasure and an essential component of success for large, complex grant submissions. Last year, we began a process to organize a $24M multi-institutional grant including 5 UC medical schools. It was not a typical research proposal, instead involved organizing infrastructure, education resources, matching funds, and workflows as well as aligning priorities for innovation across the UCs. Needless to say, this process required meticulous attention to detail and exceptional organizational skills. Sharon Franks provided the leadership that enabled us to write and submit the proposal on time. Coordinating the writing teams, organizing and following up team meetings, keeping the team on track after assignments were made, providing feedback and intellectual content on drafts of each section, organizing faculty within UCSD across multiple VC areas as well as with other UCs was a daunting job and was flawlessly performed. There is no doubt in my mind that our proposal would not have been completed nor would the quality have been as high without her enthusiastic support and leadership." 

Gary S. Firestein, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine
Director, Clinical and Translational Research Institute
UC San Diego Health Sciences



"It was an undertaking of massive proportions: Ten months of intense work, thousands of e-mails, countless team meetings, a nearly 300-page proposal, a two-day site visit, a 60-page response to a site visit report, hundreds of PowerPoint slides, a reverse site visit, 22 corporate partners, more than 30 faculty members and dozens of staff members at 3 US universities and 2 national laboratories, 3 international universities, 10 public middle and high schools, and about $20M at stake. I simply could not have led this huge effort without a whole lot of help. Sharon's contributions were invaluable. She was with us every step of the way providing hands-on help with all manner of tasks – strategic advice, project organization, recruitment of partners, constructive critique, writing and editing, development of the research and education plans. Not only did she perform at the highest possible level professionally and demonstrate unwavering commitment to the project, Sharon consistently interacted with all of us in ways that truly enhanced team spirit. In an ideal world, all PIs of projects this large and complex would have someone as terrific as Sharon on their team." 

Shaochen Chen
Professor of NanoEngineering
Jacobs School of Engineering
University of California, San Diego



"It may not be overstating the case to say that I could not have submitted a proposal of this high quality – or perhaps this proposal at all – without Sharon's help. In fact, one can argue she really "led" this effort. Sharon is amazing, invaluable, a true gem. Working with Sharon, it's clear why faculty and staff all over campus hold her in such high regard." 

Todd Coleman
Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Jacobs School of Engineering
University of California, San Diego



"Development of this multi-faceted proposal was an intense two-month undertaking that involved the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences, faculty, administrators and staff across the Health Sciences and the General Campus. Sharon quickly became an integral part of the team, and her contributions to the project were substantial and much appreciated. Her insightful editorial input helped us produce a compelling and polished proposal package. Her sustained positive energy, effective interactions with team members, and impressive dedication to getting the work done well and on time helped keep the team inspired and on-track. Sharon kept her focus and composure hallmarks of a true professional even under pressure. This proposal would not have come together nearly as well as it did without Sharon's involvement." 

Mounir Soliman, MD, MBA 
Assistant Vice Chancellor & Executive Director
Health Sciences International
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
University of California, San Diego



"Sharon did wonders: from building our Broader Impacts, industry interaction plan to a careful read of the entire proposal and guidance on how to structure it. Thanks so much for your inputs and extensive engagement in helping us prepare the final slide deck [for the reverse site visit]. Suffice to say that your comments had a direct impact on how the final product turned out. Thank you so much for making this happen." 

Rajesh Gupta
Professor and Qualcomm Endowed Chair 
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering
University of California, San Diego



"I have been the principal investigator or co-investigator for on the order of several hundred proposals.  Not all were successful, but many were.  Despite that long history, I am confident in crediting Sharon Franks and RAPIDS as among the most valuable partners I have ever worked with on proposal generation.  The project on which we collaborated was for a multi-million dollar national resource to be funded by the National Science Foundation.  Thanks largely to Sharon's skills as a writer, knowledge of resources, familiarity with NSF, and attention to detail, we wrote what I regard as the strongest proposal I have ever submitted.  Even though the subject of this proposal was entirely new to her, Sharon provided as much or more than one might expect from a fully engaged Co-PI.  UC San Diego is lucky to have this extraordinary resource."

Michael Kalichman, Ph.D.
Director, Research Ethics Program
University of California, San Diego



"During the six weeks I worked with the RPDS team they repeatedly impressed me with their professionalism and can-do attitude. They interacted efficiently, effectively and affably not just with me, but with all of my UCSD and off-campus collaborators. This was a complex multi-institution proposal, and they really came through on editing, budget preparation, completion of required documentation, and all manner of tasks large and small. With an attention to detail second to none, they ensured that all components of the complex application package were complete and compelling, and on time! Their contributions exceeded my expectations, and there is no question that their facilitation enabled us to submit the highest quality proposal possible.  I simply could not have produced a proposal of the complexity, and quality, of this one without them."

Stephen Mayfield
Director, San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology and
John Dove Isaacs Chair of Natural Philosophy
Division of Biological Sciences
University of California, San Diego



"RPDS's outstanding project-management included preparation and implementation of detailed timelines and task-assignments that greatly facilitated the preparation of the complex, nearly 300-page application. Sharon's editorial improvement of the research plan and development of sections pertaining to outreach and dissemination, education and research training, and recruitment and retention to enhance diversity were among the most valuable assistance RPDS provided. Sharon's writing and editing markedly improved the clarity and power of the narrative. Sandi completely transformed a complex 30-page budget and budget justification to ensure accuracy, coherency and alignment with the research plan. Sharon and Sandi, together as the RPDS dynamic duo, are a tremendous asset to UCSD. I hope to have the pleasure of working with them again."

Bernhard Palsson
Galetti Professor
Department of Bioengineering
University of California, San Diego