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-Broad Genome Editing Technologies Fund
Deadline: September 17, 2021 by 5:00PM
Award Amount: There is no cap on individual awards. Approximately $2M will be available annually for grants made through this program

The newly established Harvard-Broad Genome Editing Technologies Fund will support research that improves on existing genome-editing technologies, identifies delivery mechanisms for these technologies, and applies these technologies to the understanding and treatment of rare genetic diseases. As defined by NIH, rare diseases in the United States are those that affect fewer than 200,000 people. Ladder faculty members in FAS and SEAS may request funding to support the cost of a 15-month research project. Single- and multi-investigator projects are welcome.

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study: Exploratory Seminars

Deadline: October 12, 2021

Award Amounts individually determined


The Radcliffe Exploratory Seminar Program provides funding to scholars, practitioners, and artists for collaboration in an interdisciplinary exploration of early-stage ideas. The program encourages intellectual risk taking as participants gather in an intensive seminar setting to explore new fields of research and inquiry. Exploratory seminars offer funding to support one- to two-day, by-invitation-only seminars for 12-20 participants at the Radcliffe Institute. The lead applicant must be either a Harvard ladder faculty member (tenured or tenure-track) from any school or a former or current Radcliffe fellow; co-applicants may apply with lead applicants who meet eligibility requirements.


Applications are currently being accepted for seminars to be held between July 2022 and June 2023. The program welcomes proposals that:

  • explore the viability of early-stage research ideas in any discipline or multiple disciplines
  • invite the perspectives of diverse participants and stakeholders to the discussion
  • integrate senior and junior scholars from institutions in the greater Boston area, across the United States, or around the world
  • demonstrate risk taking and creativity

Radcliffe welcomes proposals relevant to the Institute’s focus areas, which include law, education, justice; youth leadership and civic engagement; and legacies of slavery. Proposals that connect research to law, policy, pressing social issues, and/or seek to actively engage audiences beyond academia are of special interest. Reflecting Radcliffe's unique history, proposals that focus on women, gender, and society or draw on the Schlesinger Library's rich collections are also of special interest.


Radcliffe will be hosting five information sessions in the arts, humanities, life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. If you are interested in attending one of the virtual informational sessions, please sign up under the "Virtual Informational Sessions" tab at the link above.

Deadline: October 13, 2021 by 5:00PM
Award Amount: Up to $75,000
The Dean’s Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship is a targeted program that provides funding in the following categories:
  1. Bridge funding, to allow faculty to continue work on previously funded research, scholarship, or creative activity that does not currently have external funding. Faculty who apply in this category should demonstrate that efforts have been made or will be made to obtain new external funding.
  2. Seed funding, to encourage faculty to launch exciting new scholarship or research directions that might not yet be ready to compete in traditional funding programs.
  3. Enabling subventions, to provide small funds to purchase (or upgrade) critical equipment. Applicants for such funds must have no existing startup funds on which they could draw for this purpose.

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


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

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

NSF Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline for Research Partnership Track: October 19, 2021
FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline: January 5, 2022
Sponsor Deadline: January 12, 2022
Award Amount: Up to $250,000 for 18-24 months for the Technology Translation Track; Up to $550,000 for 36 months for the Research Partnership Track


The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) offers researchers from all disciplines of science and engineering funded by NSF the opportunity to perform translational research and technology development, catalyze partnerships and accelerate the transition of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace for societal benefit.


This solicitation offers two broad tracks:

  • The Technology Translation (PFI-TT) track offers the opportunity to translate prior NSF-funded research results in any field of science or engineering into technological innovations with promising commercial potential and societal impact. Concurrently, students and postdoctoral researchers who participate in PFI-TT projects receive education and leadership training in innovation and entrepreneurship. Successful PFI-TT projects generate technology-driven commercialization outcomes that address societal needs.
  • The Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track seeks to achieve the same goals as the PFI-TT track by supporting instead complex, multi-faceted technology development projects that are typically beyond the scope of a single researcher or institution and require a multi-organizational, interdisciplinary, synergistic collaboration. The PFI-RP track requires the creation and implementation of new multidisciplinary, multi-organization partnerships between academia, industry and other public and private entities to pursue new innovative technology development projects.


The intended outcomes of both PFI-TT and PFI-RP tracks are: a) the commercialization of new intellectual property derived from NSF-funded research outputs; b) the creation of new or broader collaborations with industry (including increased corporate sponsored research); c) the licensing of NSF-funded research outputs to third party corporations or to start-up companies funded by a PFI team; and d) the training of future innovation and entrepreneurship leaders.


Eligibility: All proposals submitted to the PFI program must meet a lineage requirement under one of the following two paths:

  1. NSF-supported research results: The PI or a co-PI must have had an NSF award that ended no more than seven (7) years prior to the full proposal deadline date or be a current NSF award recipient. The proposed technology development project must be derived from the research results and/or discoveries from this underlying NSF award.
  2. NSF-supported customer discovery results through the NSF I-Corps Teams Program: The PI or a co-PI must have been a member of an award under the NSF I-Corps Teams Program. The PI or co-PI must have fully completed the training provided under the I-Corps Team award within the past four (4) years. The customer discovery activities performed under the NSF-funded I-Corps award must be based on the technology that is proposed to be translated within the PFI proposal.


There is no limit to the number of applications to the Technology Translation Track but Harvard is limited to submitting only one application to the Research Partnerships Track. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research will conduct the internal competition to select the Harvard nominee for the Research Partnerships Track. To be considered for the Harvard nomination for the Research Partnerships Track, potential applicants must submit an internal pre-proposal via the link above. Additional information about this opportunity can be found in the NSF RFP.


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.


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

NSF Alan T. Waterman Award

Nomination Deadline: September 20, 2021

Award Amount: $1,000,000


The Alan T. Waterman Award honors an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation. The awardee receives a grant of $1 million over five years for scientific research or advanced study in any field of science, plus a medal and other recognition.


Eligibility criteria include:

  1. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must be 40 years old or younger, OR not more than ten years beyond the receipt of the Ph.D. degree by December 31, 2021.
  2. Candidates should have demonstrated exceptional individual achievements in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality to place them in front of their peers. Criteria include originality, innovation, and significant impact on the field.
  3. Renominations may be submitted via an updated nomination form, or may be resubmitted the year following their original submission from the Alan T. Waterman homepage using the existing nomination and references.
  4. Candidates identified for final review by the selection Committee, and who remain eligible under selection criteria (a) above, will automatically be in considered in the next year’s review cycle.


Nominations consist of the following:

  • Nominee’s contact information
  • Nominee's history and citations.
  • Free-text narrative statement which covers the nominee's qualifications for the Alan T. Waterman Award. The statement should be no more than 3 pages.
  • Nominee’s publications and contributions (limit 1 page).
  • Four reference letters (limit 2 pages) from writers outside of the nominee's home institution. The system will automatically send an email to these reference writers to notify them that their assistance is requested once their contact information is entered. In addition to providing a letter referees will also be asked to answer the following questions:
    • How long have you known the nominee?
    • In what capacity(ies)?
    • What has the nominee accomplished? How has the nominee changed the course of science in his/her field? What is the nominee's potential for future significant contributions?
    • If the nominee worked as part of a team, specify his/her role in the accomplishments and leadership in advancing the field of research.
    • Rank the nominee on the following scale of 1 to 4:
      • The most outstanding person at this career stage I have known in the past 5 years
      • Among the top 10 young scientists I have known in the past 5 years
      • Outstanding
      • Above average
      • Average or below


Recipients of this award include Melanie Wood (Math, 2021) Emily Balskus (CCB, 2020), Robert Wood (SEAS, 2012), and David Charbonneau (Astronomy, 2009).


Institutions may nominate an unlimited number of individuals and there are no restrictions on who may nominate.

Department of Defense FY2022 Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative (MURI)

FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline: September 20, 2021

Sponsor Deadline for Full Proposals: September 27, 2021

Award Amount: Award amounts vary according to topic area and sponsoring DoD agency. Typical annual funding per grant is in the $1.25M to $1.5M range. The project period is generally 5 years.


DoD’s Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative (MURI) supports high-risk basic research in science and engineering at U.S. institutions of higher education that is of potential interest to DoD. The program is focused on multidisciplinary research efforts where more than one traditional discipline interacts to provide rapid advances. Key to the program’s success is the close management of the MURI projects by Service program officers and their active role in providing research guidance.


This program is administered by three DoD agencies, each with a separate MURI solicitation:



The FY 2022 MURI competition is for the topics listed below:



  • Topic 1: Social Network-Transcendent Behavioral Dynamics
  • Topic 2: Microelectronic Test Science Exploiting Latent Energy and Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Topic 3: Cavity Molecular Polaritons
  • Topic 4: Effects of Radiation Damage on Performance of Wide-Bandgap Electronics
  • Topic 5: Understanding Neural Systems Integration for Competent Autonomy in Decision and Control
  • Topic 6: Nonlinear Optical Material Design with Extreme Interband Nonlinearities
  • Topic 7: Synthetic Quantum Matter
  • Topic 8: Composability of Synthetic Biological Circuits



  • Topic 9: Bio-architected Responsive Materials with 3D Nanoscale Order
  • Topic 10: Topological Seeds of Complex Response in Materials
  • Topic 11: Connectivity and Transport in Disordered Hyperuniform Networks
  • Topic 12: Irregular Metamaterial Networks
  • Topic 13: Uncovering the Underlying Neurobiological Mechanisms of Cognitive Fatigue
  • Topic 14: Gut-Neuronal Signaling Through Polymeric Mucin via Chemical Probes and Imaging
  • Topic 15: ELECTROBIOLOGY: Electronic Control of Biological Communication



  • Topic 16: Novel Routes to Majorana Qubits for Topologically-Protected Quantum Information
  • Topic 17: Molecular Doping of Organic Electronic Materials
  • Topic 18: Learning from Hearing
  • Topic 19: Hydrodynamics of Fish Schooling
  • Topic 20: Self-learning for Real-world Perception
  • Topic 21: Fundamental Non-equilibrium Processes in Weakly Ionized Hypersonic Flows
  • Topic 22: Ab Initio Understanding of Detonation Based Combustion in Multiphase Mixtures
  • Topic 23: Bioinspired Design of Energy-Self Sufficient Multi-functional Soft Material Systems
  • Topic 24: Systems-Level Foundations for Agile, Dynamic, and Ad Hoc Human Autonomy Teams
  • Topic 25: Environmental DNA-based Monitoring of the Marine Environment (EDMON)


DoD Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF) Program

Sponsor Deadline for Registration (required): October 12, 2021

Sponsor Deadline for White Papers (required): October 15, 2021

FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline: January 28, 2022

Sponsor Deadline for Full Proposals (if invited): February 4, 2022

Award Amount: Up to $3M for 5 years.


The Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF) program, formerly known as the National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF), is oriented towards bold and ambitious “blue sky” research that may lead to extraordinary outcomes such as revolutionizing entire disciplines, creating entirely new fields, or disrupting accepted theories and perspectives. VBFF supports innovative basic research within academia, as well as opportunities intended to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers for the defense workforce. This FOA seeks distinguished researchers for the purpose of conducting innovative basic research in areas of interest to the DoD and fostering long-term relationships between the VBFF Fellows and the DoD. Fellows and their students are expected to attend VBFF activities scheduled throughout the year. Faculty with tenure at the time of proposal submission, with a record of substantial scientific contributions and the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to conduct the proposed research as the principal investigator (PI), are invited to submit an application. The PI must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.


This program is interested in a broad spectrum of scientific areas, including:


  • Area 1: Applied Mathematics and Computational Science
  • Area 2: Networks and Artificial Intelligence
  • Area 3: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Area 4: Fundamentals of Bioengineering
  • Area 5: Quantum Information Science
  • Area 6: Electronics, Photonics and Quantum Materials
  • Area 7: Engineered Materials and Structures
  • Area 8: Other Fields of Research


Recent recipients include Jennifer Lewis (SEAS, 2021, Programmable Assembly of Functional Human Tissues), Adam Cohen (CCB, 2018, Synthetic Bioelectrical Materials for Sensing, Pattern Formation, and Computation), Marcus Greiner (Physics, 2018, Many-Body Quantum Dynamics with Microscope Control - A New Research Frontier), Phillip Kim (Physics, 2018, Quantum Engineered Van Der Waals Heterostructures for Topological Electronic Structures Towards Novel Device Applications), Michael Brenner (SEAS, 2017, Theory-Driven Biomimetic Design of Novel Optical Metamaterials), Jennifer Lewis (SEAS, 2016, Programmable Architected Materials), and Hongkun Park (CCB and Physics, 2016, Nanostructured Surfaces for Integrated Optoelectronics. Plasmonics, and Quantum Optics), and Mikhail Lukin (Physics, 2015, Quantum Sensing and Metrology: Novel Methods and Applications).

Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program (YIP)

FAS/SEAS/OSP Deadline: October 22, 2021

Sponsor Deadline for Full Proposals: October 29, 2021

Award Amount: Typical awards are $510,000 over a 36-month period of performance. Applicants may request up to $170,000 for each 12-month interval. Additional funding may be requested (under the 36-month period) up to $250,000 to cover equipment costs, testing, ship time, etc. These funds must be included as an option and the applicant MUST discuss any request for additional funding with the Program Officer prior to submission.


The objectives of ONR's Young Investigator Program are to attract outstanding faculty members to the Department of the Navy's Science and Technology (S&T) research program, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers. Proposals addressing research areas (as described in the ONR Science and Technology Department section of ONR's website) which are of interest to ONR Program Officers will be considered. The YIP program seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment, who have received their PhD or equivalent degree on or after January 1, 2014, and who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. The Principal Investigator of a proposal must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident (on the date proposals are due).


Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate Program Officer who is the point of contact for a specific technical area to discuss their research ideas before submitting a proposal. A list of most Program Officers and their contact information can be found at: or at: Brief informal pre-proposals may be submitted to facilitate these discussions but are not required. Such discussions can clarify the content and breadth of the priority research areas and enhance the match between a subsequent proposal and Department of the Navy research needs.


Recent recipients include Stephanie Gil (SEAS, 2021), Na Li (SEAS, 2019), and Jarad Mason (CCB, 2019).


Department of Energy Early Career Research Program

Sponsor Pre-Application Deadline (required): October 21, 2021 by 5:00PM

SEAS/FAS/OSP Deadline: January 12, 2022
Full Proposal Deadline: January 20, 2022 by 5:00PM

Award Amount: $750,000 over 5 years


DOE Office of Science (SC) invites applications for support under the Early Career Research Program in the following program areas: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR); Basic Energy Sciences (BES); Biological and Environmental Research (BER); Fusion Energy Sciences (FES); High Energy Physics (HEP); Nuclear Physics (NP); Isotope R&D and Production (DOE IP); or Accelerator R&D and Production (ARDAP). The purpose of this program is to support the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and to stimulate research careers in the areas supported by SC.


The PI must be an untenured Assistant Professor on the tenure track or an untenured Associate Professor on the tenure track at a U.S. academic institution as of the deadline for the application. No more than 10 years can have passed between the year the PI’s Ph.D. was awarded and 2021. For the present competition, those who received doctorates no earlier than 2011 are eligible. If a PI has multiple doctorates, the discipline of the one they have earned within the 10-year eligibility window should be relevant to the proposed research. Extensions to eligibility will be considered for individuals who have had a major life event requiring an extended absence (three months or longer) from the workplace, including but not limited to active military service, an absence due to personal disability, or an absence covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act.


Recent recipients include Julia Mundy (Physics, 2021), Jarad Mason (CCB, 2020), Cora Dvorkin (Physics, 2019), Stratos Idreos (SEAS, 2019), and Kang Kuen Ni (CCB, 2018).