Funding Spotlight

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Questions about any of the funding opportunities listed below can be addressed to Erin Hale or Susan Gomes on 617-496-9448.

Internal Opportunities

Limited Submission Opportunities

External Opportunities

Internal Opportunities

Harvard Office of Technology Development Physical Sciences and Engineering Accelerator

Pre-Proposal Deadline: November 1, 2021 by 6 PM

Full Proposal Deadline (if invited): December 17, 2021 by 6 PM

Award Amount: $50,000-$100,000


The Office of Technology Development (OTD) is now accepting pre-proposals for the Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Accelerator. The PSE Accelerator is designed to support Harvard's innovative physical science research by extending preliminary observations, establishing a solid proof of concept, scaling up a product or process, and generating (or enhancing) intellectual property positions. This program provides critical financial support, guidance, and resources to enable focused development of early-stage technologies with commercial potential. Proposals need to be directed towards one or more aspects of the applied sciences, physical sciences, computer software or engineering.


The intent of the PSE Accelerator is to advance research projects towards one of the following value-creating inflection points:

  • Formation of a startup company
  • Licensing the technology to an established company
  • Securing follow-on industrial funding to support continued research and development

In this RFP, the OTD is especially seeking projects with strong potential to launch a start-up company. Such projects, while faculty-led, will benefit from having a postdoc or final-year PhD student working on the project who is interested in being a founding member of the startup team. Consideration will also be given to projects with other development goals such as licensing the technology to an existing company, or securing follow-on industrial funding for continued R&D. Questions may be directed to Alan Gordon in the Office of Technology Development at


Harvard Catalyst Translational Innovator Program Pilot Funding: The Five Senses: Input & Response

Deadline: November 10, 2021 by 5 PM

Award Amount: Up to $50,000

Eligibility: Any faculty member who holds a Harvard University appointment as assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, irrespective of degree or institutional affiliation, is eligible to serve as the PI. Investigators who hold appointments such as lecturer, instructor, or research scientist/associate are eligible to apply with approval and support of their department chair.


To foster cross-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration, Harvard Catalyst makes available seed funding in the form of pilot grants and prizes. This funding opportunity will sponsor investigations on any aspect of human sensory systems or systems enabling sensory perception in human health or disease. Although traditional sensory systems (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) gather, organize, and integrate external stimuli, proposals for internal sensory systems (vestibular, spatial orientation, pain, and others) would also be welcome. Proposals can address but are not limited to sense functionality, injury, disease states, treatment, mitigation, social and societal impacts, or public policy. Proposals describing the formation of interdisciplinary teams to address multi-sensory integration projects would also be welcome. This RFA is intended to offer applicants opportunities to conduct important translational research across a wide range of topics. Proposals addressing healthcare disparities and/or health equity or focus on or actively recruit underserved, understudied, or special populations, and impacts across the lifespan are encouraged.


A mini-symposium to learn more about this opportunity will be held October 19, 2021 11:30AM-1:00PM via Zoom. Register here by October 18 to attend.

Motsepe Presidential Research Accelerator Fund for Africa

Deadline: November 12, 2021 (updated deadline)

Award Amount: Up to $100,000 in direct costs for one or two years. A total of $350,000 is available in funding for the current cycle, and it is anticipated that 4-7 grants will be awarded.


The primary purpose of the Motsepe Presidential Research Accelerator Fund for Africa is to support faculty-led and student-driven research projects that focus on advancing key challenges and opportunities facing Africa, including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • emerging technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • climate change and its effect on health, agriculture, water, and/or sanitation
  • renewable energy and its benefit to infrastructure and/or society
  • health
  • aging
  • materials science
  • governance and policies needed for an entrepreneurial economy

Activities the Fund may support include but are not limited to research; associated travel costs; and the publication and dissemination of findings. Special consideration will also be given to projects that propose multidisciplinary collaboration between Harvard faculty across more than one school and Africa-based academics.


Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs: The Middle East Initiative: Faculty Research Grants

Deadline: November 14, 2021

Award Amount: Unspecified


The Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs funds research for projects that target major policy issues affecting the Middle East and North Africa. The Middle East Initiative is now accepting research proposals for the 2022 Emirates Leadership Initiative (ELI) and Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) Faculty Research Grant Cycle. The ELI will consider proposals on issues of critical importance to the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab World with priority given to those focused on the following topics: Improving Governance; Building Peace; Revitalizing the State; Broadening Financial and Labor Markets; Governing Technology; and Adapting to the Environment. The Kuwait program will consider proposals primarily on Kuwait and GCC countries with priority given to those focused on the following topics: Education Reform; Economic Development; Political Reform; Energy Policy; and Science, Technology, and Innovation. Please see attached document for more information.


For each program, there are two categories of research proposals:

  1. Major Research Projects may be for one- and two-year grants to support research by Harvard faculty members. Funding can be applied toward research assistance, travel, summer salary, workshops, and course buy-out.
  2. Exploratory Research Projects are intended to support travel to Kuwait or to the UAE to participate in academic seminars and conferences, develop research projects with local scholars and institutions, and share the results of Harvard faculty research with local audiences.

Submit all application materials, and any inquiries, to MEI’s Associate Director, Alison Hillegeist

Harvard China Fund Faculty Grant Program

Deadline: varies; see below
Award Amount: varies; see below

As a major internal funder of Harvard research related to China, the Harvard China Fund administers the Harvard China Faculty Grant Program to advance the research goals of Harvard faculty and improve the education of Harvard students, in collaboration with Chinese partners. Proposals are welcome from all fields. The Harvard China Fund will offer three categories of funding for faculty in FY22:

  1. Conference Grants ($50,000; deadline to apply is November 17, 2021)
  2. Research Grants ($50,000; deadline to apply is November 17, 2021)
  3. Grants for Disruptions Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic (deadline: November 30, 2021):
    • Research Assistant Employment Grants (up to $5,000): Faculty may apply to hire an RA in the U.S. or abroad and must have someone in mind whom they would like to hire.
    • Small Grants for Other Academic Activities (up to $10,000): These small grants will be awarded to cover the costs for academic needs that have arisen due to COVID-related disruptions. They might include honoraria for manuscript readers, subscriptions, and other academic activities or needs.

Proposed projects must align with Harvard University’s current travel guidance and other COVID-related policies as needed. Questions about this opportunity may be directed to Julia Cai at

Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator
Pre-Proposal Deadlines: December 17, 2021 (Development and Pilot applications)
Award Amount: $100,000 for 1 year for Pilot grants; $300,000 for 2 years for Development grants

The Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator at Harvard University provides essential gap funding, development support, and business expertise to help faculty investigators achieve the full potential of their work. The Accelerator seeks to support innovative, investigator-initiated research, and to develop preliminary observations into robust intellectual property positions. Its primary goal is to advance technologies to the point where an industry partnership can commence. Proposals are welcomed from Harvard principal investigators with early-stage research in a range of life science areas, including therapeutics, diagnostics, drug delivery technologies, medical devices/instruments, and enabling technologies for drug discovery. Pilot Grants are intended to support proof-of-concept activities that (if successful) would establish a basis for a subsequent Development Grant proposal. Development Grants are expected to generate partnerable technology within the proposed timeframe.

Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD) staff will work with applicants to develop a pre-proposal. Only one pre-proposal per applicant will be accepted per cycle. Based on recommendations from the Accelerator Advisory Committee and OTD, a subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Questions about this opportunity may be directed to Anu Natarajan ( or


Limited Submission Opportunities
For upcoming competitions, see our list of annually recurring limited submission opportunities

Moore Inventor Fellows Program

Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: October 26, 2021

Sponsor Deadline (if nominated): December 13, 2021

Award Amount: $200,000 per year for 3 years plus $25,000 per year to the institution to cover costs associated with administering the grant.

Eligible Applicants: Applicants must be no more than 10 years past receiving the terminal advanced degree in their field (M.S., Ph.D. or M.D.). If awarded, fellows are expected to devote at least 25% of their own time to the pursuit of their invention.


The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's Moore Inventor Fellows program seeks to identify outstanding inventors and innovators who harness science and technology to enhance the conduct of scientific research, strengthen environmental conservation, or improve the experience and outcomes of patient care. The foundation aims to support inventions at an early stage that could lead to proof-of-concept work on an invention or advance an existing prototype that tackles an important problem.


Each institution will be required to contribute $50,000 in annual direct support of the inventor’s work. This could include support for undergraduate or graduate students, equipment, supplies, and other needs that will enable the fellow to make progress on their work. Direct salary support is acceptable provided it includes a proportionate release of time from teaching or other duties. Funds that were designated for the fellow’s use before the fellow was awarded a Moore Inventor Fellowship (such as start-up funds) do not qualify. A clear statement of the proposed institutional support is required as part of the nomination.


Recent recipients include Prineha Narang (SEAS, 2018).


Harvard University, as single institution, is limited to submitting two proposals to this opportunity. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is facilitating the internal application and review process for applicants. To be considered for one of the two Harvard nominations, potential applicants must first submit a pre-proposal using the link above. More information on the award can be found on the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation website.


NSF Ethical and Responsible Research (ER2) Program

Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: November 15, 2021
FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline: February 14, 2022
Sponsor Deadline (if nominated): February 22, 2022
Award Amount: $600,000 maximum for 5-year awards; $400,000 maximum for 3-year awards


The Ethical and Responsible Research (ER2) program accepts proposals for innovative research projects that contribute to understanding what it takes to foster ethical STEM research in all STEM fields, including within interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and international contexts. ER2 research projects will use basic research to produce knowledge about what constitutes or promotes responsible or irresponsible conduct of research, and how to best instill this knowledge into researchers and educators at all career stages. Projects can include qualitative and/or quantitative approaches, and mixed methods approaches are encouraged. Successful proposals typically have a comparative dimension, either between or within institutional settings that differ along these or among other factors, and they specify plans for developing interventions that promote the effectiveness of identified factors.


This year the solicitation will also provide support for two new funding categories:

  1. Conference proposals designed to bring together researchers and students to foster new ER2 research and the development of new ethical standards for STEM research. ER2 conference support is typically around $30,000 in direct costs. While conference proposals may be submitted at any time, they should generally be submitted a year in advance of the proposed event. 
  2. Project Incubation proposals that provide funds for STEM researchers and administrators from multiple organizations to collaborate to develop and submit a full ER2 STANDARD Grant. Proposers must span at least two organizations. Those who intend to submit a proposal must consult with a cognizant NSF Program Officer before submitting to ascertain the suitability of the envisioned activity. Project Incubation proposals provide only one year of support, and support is typically around $60,000 in direct costs.

This is a limited submission opportunity and Harvard may put forward only one nominee to submit a proposal. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research will conduct the internal competition to select the Harvard nominee. To be considered for the Harvard nomination, potential applicants must submit an internal pre-proposal via the link above. Please note ER2 conference proposals are not subject to this limitation. Additional information about this opportunity can be found in the NSF RFP.

Brain Research Foundation Seed Grant Program

Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: November 22, 2021

Sponsor Letter of Intent Deadline (if nominated): January 4, 2022

Award Amount: $80,000 for 2 years


The Brain Research Foundation's Annual Seed Grant Program provides start-up funding for new research projects in the field of neuroscience that will likely lead to extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other public and private funding entities. The objective of the BRF Seed Grant Program is to support new and innovative projects, especially those of junior faculty, who are working in new research directions. To be eligible, the PI must be a full-time Assistant or Associate Professor studying brain function. This includes molecular and clinical neuroscience as well as studies of neural, sensory, motor, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning in health and disease. Additional information about this grant program is available on the Brain Research Foundation website.


Harvard University is limited to submitting one proposal to this opportunity. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is facilitating the internal application and review process for applicants. To be considered for the Harvard nomination, potential applicants must first submit a pre-proposal via the link above.

Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program

Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: November 22, 2021

FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline (if nominated): January 26, 2022

Sponsor Deadline (if nominated): February 2, 2022

Award Amount: $100,000 over five years

Eligible Applicants: Applicants must hold a full-time, tenure-track academic appointment, and are normally expected to have been appointed no earlier than mid-year 2016.


The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program provides discretionary funding to support the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences. The Foundation seeks Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars who demonstrate leadership in research and education. Applicants should describe their dedication and contributions to education in the chemical sciences, particularly with respect to undergraduates.


Recipients include Christina Woo (CCB, 2020) "Chemical Control of Cellular Signaling", Kang Kuen Ni (CCB, 2018) "Ultracold Molecules for Chemistry and Physics", Emily Balskus (CCB, 2015) "Discovering and Manipulating the Chemistry of Human Gut Microbes", Theodore Betley (CCB, 2013) "Correlation of Electronic Structure to Reactivity in Organometallic Catalysis and Small Molecule Activation", and Adam Cohen (CCB, 2012) "New Tools to Study Molecules and Cells."


This is a limited submission opportunity and only one nomination may be put forward from Harvard University. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is facilitating the internal application process. To be considered for the Harvard nomination, potential applicants must submit an internal pre-proposal via the link above.



External Funding

University Space Research Association (USRA) University Consortium Research Opportunity

Sponsor Deadline for Letters of Intent (required): October 27, 2021

FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline: December 6, 2021

Sponsor Deadline for Full Proposals: December 13, 2021

Award Amount: Up to $350,000 for up to 2 years


The U.S. Space Force (USSF) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) established the University Consortium Research Opportunity to engage students and postdoctoral fellows in space-based research and development to increase the number and diversity of future space professionals. This is a new approach to tap into university research and innovation to solve critical USSF technical problems. It allows for building the capacity for space research and innovation at institutes of higher education, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other designated Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The USSF and the University Consortium Research Opportunity will fund university teams committed to developing new and innovative solutions to research problems and/or maturing their existing product or service. 


The University Consortium Research Opportunity will focus on specific topic areas aimed at addressing the mission needs of the USSF: 

  1. Leveraging Microgravity for Military/Commercial Applications & Products; 
  2. On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing; 
  3. Quantum Sensing for Location and EM Field Detection; 
  4. Rapid Initial Orbit Determination; 
  5. Rocket Cargo Technology for Agile Global Logistics; and 
  6. Smart Sensing and Machine Learning for Ground Based Remote Sensing of Satellites.


University Principal Investigators (PIs) will serve as mentors to participating students and postdoctoral fellows. Selected PIs will be required to allocate a portion of their total annual budget towards student and postdoctoral fellows stipend support and travel associated with program events on-site at Kirtland Air Force Base. Principal Investigators and Co-Principal Investigators must be U.S. citizens.


DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA)

Sponsor Deadline for Executive Summaries (strongly encouraged): November 4, 2021

FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline: January 18, 2022

Sponsor Deadline for Full Proposals: January 25, 2022

Award Amount: Each award will include a 24-month base period (maximum of $500,000; PIs may request up to $250,000 per year) and a 12-month option period (maximum of $500,000). This option period, referred to as the “Director’s Fellowship,” will be reserved for a limited number of awardees who demonstrate exceptional YFA project performance over the 24-month base period


DARPA’s Young Faculty Award (YFA) program aims to identify and engage rising stars in junior research positions in academia and equivalent positions at non-profit research institutions, particularly those without prior DARPA funding, to expose them to Department of Defense (DoD) needs and DARPA’s mission to create and prevent technological surprise. The YFA program will provide high-impact funding to elite researchers early in their careers to develop innovative new research that enables transformative DoD capabilities. Participation is open to individuals who are U.S. Citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and foreign nationals who are: current tenure-track assistant/associate professors; current tenured faculty within 3 years of their Tenure date; or an equivalent at a non-profit research institution within 12 years of the receipt of their Ph.D. Recipients of non-YFA DARPA awards are eligible to propose. Submissions to young investigator programs sponsored by other agencies are not restricted.


This research announcement solicits single PI proposals for research and development in the following specific topic areas (TAs) of interest:


  1. Modulation of Brown Adipose Tissue for Arctic Resilience
  2. Engineered Cellular Symbiosis (ECS)
  3. Hierarchical Control of Biomaterial Structure, Function, and Organization for Injury Repair
  4. Metabolic Engineering Enabling Rare Chemistries
  5. Strongly Correlated Material Systems and Sensors
  6. Benchmarking Power Requirements for Electromagnetic Non-reciprocity
  7. Autonomous Manufacturing and Repair for Austere Environments
  8. Neuromorphic Metamaterials
  9. Computational Theory of Information Control
  10. Threat Modeling of the Influence Platform Ecosystem
  11. Patch Process Leapfrogging
  12. Computational Theory of Insecurity
  13. Effective Assurance for 5G Technologies
  14. Adaptive Conventions for Human-Machine Partnership
  15. Embodied Physical Intelligence
  16. Physics of Charge Trapping in Bulk Dielectrics
  17. In-Situ Characterization of Additively Manufactured Materials in Complex Structures
  18. Self-Assembled Transistor Fabrication to Support Manufacturing as a Technology Differentiator
  19. Highly-reliable and Bandwidth-scalable Electrical Interconnects
  20. Intelligent Sensor Management for Undersea Environmental Characterization
  21. Distributed Machine Learning over Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs)
  22. Trust Architectures to Enable Space Infrastructure as a Service
  23. Scaling Challenges in Metal Additive Manufacturing
  24. Platform Design Optimization Leveraging Power Beaming
  25. Integrated Perception Learning and Control for Autonomous Robots


Each submission (executive summary or full proposal) must specify ONE and only one TA for the submission. At the executive summary phase, proposing PIs are limited to one executive summary per TA. At the full proposal phase, proposing PIs are limited to submitting only one full proposal to only one topic under this RA.