Funding Spotlight

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Questions about any of the funding opportunities listed below can be addressed to Erin Hale on 617-496-5252 or Susan Gomes on 617-496-9448.

Internal Harvard Opportunities

Limited Submission Opportunities

External Opportunities

Internal Harvard Opportunities

Dean’s Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship
Deadline: October 10, 2018 by 5:00PM
Award Amount: $50,000 maximum
Eligible Applicants: FAS and SEAS assistant, associate and tenured faculty; Professors in Residence and Professors of the Practice are also eligible.

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.

For all categories, applicants should clearly explain in non-specialist language the critical need, make a compelling case for large marginal gain, and justify the need for support from this fund rather than traditional sources.

Climate Change Solutions Fund
Deadline: October 15, 2018
Award Amount: Up to $150,000

The Harvard University Climate Change Solutions Fund supports research and policy initiatives intended to reduce the risks of climate change, hasten the transition from fossil fuel-based energy systems to those that rely on renewable energy sources, to develop methods for diminishing the impact of existing fossil fuel-based energy systems on the climate, to understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change, and to propel scientific, technological, legal, behavioral, policy and artistic innovations needed to accelerate progress toward cleaner energy, improved human health, and a greener world. Applications should propose research that will advance solutions to climate change and its impact. Solutions may include both preparedness and mitigation and strong consideration will be given to projects that demonstrate a clear pathway to application, as well as riskier proposals with the potential to be transformative over time. Proposals that demonstrate imaginative and promising collaboration among faculty and students across different parts of the University will receive special consideration, as will projects that propose using the university campus as a "living laboratory."

Fund for Research on the Foundations of Human Behavior
Deadline: 11:59pm on the last day of February, May, August, and November
Award Amount: Maximum $40,000 for ladder faculty, $5,000 for doctoral students and post-docs
Eligible applicants: Harvard University full time doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and ladder faculty

These research funds support proposals that promise to advance understanding of the social, institutional and biological mechanisms shaping human beliefs and behavior. The funds will be used to support interdisciplinary social science research projects based on innovative experimental or observational designs that make use of sophisticated quantitative methods. The Fund also supports seminars, conferences, and other research-related activities.

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

NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: September 17, 2018 by 12:00PM
Award Amount for Pilots and Feasibility Projects: Up to $300,000 for up to 2 years;
Award Amount for Research in Service to Practice Projects: $300,000-$2,000,000 for 2-5 years
Award Amount for Innovations in Development Projects: $500,000-$3,000,000 for 2-5 years
Award Amount for Broad Implementation Projects: $1,000,000-$3,000,000 for 3-5 years
Award Amount for Literature Reviews, Syntheses, or Meta-analyses Projects: Up to $250,000 for up to 2 years
Award Amount for Conferences: Up to $250,000 for up to 2 years

The Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM in informal environments. The AISL program supports six types of projects: (1) Pilots and Feasibility Studies, (2) Research in Service to Practice, (3) Innovations in Development, (4) Broad Implementation, (5) Literature Reviews, Syntheses, or Meta-Analyses, and (6) Conferences.

NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program
FAS/SEAS Pre-Proposal Deadline: September 27, 2018 by 5:00PM
Award Amount: Up to $4,000,000. Cost sharing of 30% of the total project costs is required.

The Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program serves to increase access to multi-user scientific and engineering instrumentation for research and research training in our nation's institutions of higher education and not-for-profit scientific/engineering research organizations. An MRI award supports the acquisition or development of a multi-user research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs.

This is a limited submission opportunity and Harvard may submit up to three proposals in the “tracks” as defined below, with no more than two submissions in Track 1 and no more than one submission in Track 2.

  • Track 1: Proposals requesting funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,000 and less than $1,000,000. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 may also be accepted for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences.
  • Track 2: Proposals requesting funds from NSF greater than or equal to $1,000,000 up to and including $4,000,000.

National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Program
Harvard Pre-proposal Deadline: October 1, 2018 by 12:00PM
Sponsor Deadline for Letters of Intent: December 6, 2018
Award Amount: up to $3,000,000 for up to 5 years

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that explore ways for graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs to develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers. The program is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs.

Proposals are requested in any interdisciplinary research theme of national priority, with special emphasis on one of six high priority areas (NSF Research Big Ideas):

  • Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR)
  • The Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier (HTF)
  • Navigating the New Arctic (NNA)
  • Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (WOU)
  • The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution (QL)
  • Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype (ROL)

External Opportunities 

NIH Director's Pioneer Award
OSP Deadline: September 7, 2018
Sponsor Deadline: September 14, 2018
Award Amount: $700,000/year for 5 years

The NIH Director's Pioneer Award supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose highly innovative approaches to addressing major challenges in the biomedical or behavioral sciences towards the goal of enhancing human health. Applications proposing research on any topic within the broad mission of NIH are welcome. Emphases are on the qualities of the investigator and the innovativeness and potential impact of the proposed research. Preliminary data and detailed experimental plans are not requested.

To be considered pioneering, the proposed research must reflect substantially different ideas from those being pursued in the investigator's current research program or elsewhere. The Pioneer Award is not intended to expand a current research program into the area of the proposed project. While the research direction may rely on the applicant's prior work and expertise as its foundation, it cannot be an obvious extension or scale-up of a current research enterprise which may be competitive as a new or renewal R01 application. Rather, the proposed project must reflect a fundamental new insight into the potential solution of a problem, which may develop from exceptionally innovative approaches and/or radically unconventional hypotheses.

NIH Director's Transformative Research Award
OSP Deadline: September 14, 2018
Sponsor Deadline: September 21, 2018
Award Amount: Application budgets are not limited but should reflect the needs of the proposed project.

The NIH Director's Transformative Research Award supports individual scientists or groups of scientists proposing groundbreaking, exceptionally innovative, original, and/or unconventional research with the potential to create new scientific paradigms, establish entirely new and improved clinical approaches, or develop transformative technologies. Applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds and in any topic relevant to the broad mission of NIH are welcome. Little or no preliminary data are expected. Projects must clearly demonstrate the potential to produce a major impact in a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research.