Funding Spotlight

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

Internal Harvard Opportunities

Limited Submission Opportunities

External Opportunities

Internal Harvard Opportunities

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

Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research
FAS Pre-Proposal Deadline: May 10, 2017 by 5:00PM
Award Amount: $300,000 over 3 years
Target Faculty: Faculty appointed to first independent faculty position on or between July 1, 2015 and December 1, 2017.  If an applicant has been on medical or family leave, or if research was interrupted for other reasons, this period of absence does not count towards eligibility.

The Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research supports promising junior faculty who are beginning to establish their own independent laboratories and research programs.  The mission of the program is to launch the careers of newly independent biomedical researchers with the ultimate goal of achieving medical breakthroughs.  Applications focus on all fields of biomedical science and may also be submitted by investigators in physics, chemistry and engineering.

Brain Research Foundation Scientific Innovations Award
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: May 15, 2017 by 11:30PM
Sponsor LOI Deadline (if nominated): June 29, 2017
Award Amount: $150,000 over two years
Eligible Applicants: Full-time professors or associate professors working in the area of studies of brain function in health and disease. Current major NIH or other peer-reviewed funding is preferred but evidence of such funding in the past three years is essential.

Brain Research Foundation (BRF) Annual Scientific Innovations Award supports innovative discovery science in both basic and clinical neuroscience. This funding mechanism is designed to support creative, cutting edge research in well-established research laboratories, under the direction of established investigators.  This funding opportunity is for projects that may be too innovative and speculative for traditional funding sources but still have a high likelihood of producing important findings in a very short timeframe.

NIH Director’s Early Independence Award
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: July 10, 2017
Sponsor Deadline (if nominated): September 22, 2017

Award Amount: $250,000/year for five years plus applicable F&A
Eligible Applicants:
 Date of terminal doctoral degree or completion of clinical residency of the PI must be between June 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018. At the application deadline, the PI must not have served as a post-doctoral fellow following a previous doctoral degree for more than twelve months and must not yet have research independence.

The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award Program supports exceptional investigators who wish to pursue independent research directly after completion of their terminal doctoral/research degree or clinical residency, thereby forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period and accelerating their entry into an independent research career. Though most newly graduated doctoral-level researchers would benefit by post-doctoral training, a small number of outstanding junior investigators would benefit instead by launching directly into an independent research career. For these select investigators, who have established a record of scientific innovation and research productivity and who have demonstrated unusual leadership, drive, and maturity, post-doctoral training would unnecessarily delay their entry into performing independent research. By the end of the award period, the Early Independence investigator is expected to be competitive for continued funding of his/her research program and for a permanent research-oriented position.

Searle Scholars Program
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: July 17, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: September 29, 2017
Award Amount: $300,000 per year for three years
Eligible Faculty: Applicants should have begun their appointment as an independent investigator at the assistant professor level on or after July 1, 2016.

The Searle Scholars Program is a limited submission award program which makes grants to selected academic and research institutions to support the independent research of outstanding early-career scientists who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track appointment.  Applicants for the 2018 competition are expected to be pursuing independent research careers in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and related areas in chemistry, medicine, and the biological sciences. The Searle Scholars Program Scientific Advisory Board is primarily interested in the potential of applicants to make innovative and high-impact contributions to research over an extended period of time.

External Opportunities

NIH Shared Instrumentation Program
NIH High End Instrumentation Grant Program
OSP Deadline: May 23, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: May 31, 2017

Award Amount: $50,000-$600,000 for Shared Instrumentation Program; $600,001-$2,000,000 for High End Instrumentation Proram
Target Applicants: Groups of three or more
PIs on active, distinct NIH research awards

The objective of these two NIH Instrumentation Grant Programs is to make available to institutions expensive research instruments that can only be justified on a shared-use basis and that are needed for NIH-supported projects in basic, translational or clinical areas of biomedical/behavioral research.  The program provides funds to purchase or upgrade a single item of expensive, specialized, commercially available instrument or an integrated instrumentation system.  While there is no restriction on the number of applications an institution can submit for these opportunities, there are restrictions on applications submitted for similar equipment from the same institution.  In order to determine if there are any overlapping requests, potential applicants from FAS and SEAS are asked to submit a brief statement of intent to Erin Cromack at

Air Force Young Investigator Research Program (YIP)
OSP Deadline: May 24, 2017
Sponsor Deadline for Full Proposals: June 1, 2017
Award Amount: Typical awards will be funded at $150,000 per year for 3 years. Exceptional proposals may be considered individually for higher funding levels and/or a longer duration.   

The Air Force Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) supports scientists and engineers demonstrating exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The program's objective is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering; enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators; and increase opportunities for the young investigator to recognize the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering. AFOSR seeks unclassified proposals from qualified and responsible applicants in the research areas of interest identified in the most recent Broad Agency Announcement titled "Research Interests of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.”  These areas of interest include: Engineering and Complex Systems; Information and Networks; Physical Sciences; and Chemistry and Biological Sciences.

The principal investigator must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident by October 1, 2017, employed on a full-time basis, and hold a permanent position. All PIs and co-PIs must meet all general eligibility requirements and one of the following criteria:(1) Received a Ph.D. or equivalent degree on April 1, 2012 or later; or, (2) Received a Ph.D. or equivalent degree between April 1, 2010 and April 1, 2012, be presently in a tenure-track position, and have served as a tenure-track faculty member for no more than two years prior to April 1, 2017. Examples of other interim appointments after receiving Ph.D. include: post-doctoral or research associate positions, serve as active duty service member for the U.S. Armed Forces, or maternity/paternity leave. 

Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP)
OSP Deadline: June 30, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: July 7, 2017
Award Amount: $50,000-$1,500,000 for 1 year 

DURIP is designed to improve the capabilities of U.S. institutions of higher education to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense, by providing funds for the acquisition of research equipment.  This announcement seeks proposals to purchase instrumentation in support of research in areas of interest to the DoD, including areas of research supported by the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.  The research areas of interest to the administering agencies and application information are available at the link above.

NIH Director’s Pioneer Award
OSP Deadline: August 25, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: September 1, 2017
Award Amount: $700,000/year for five years plus applicable F&A 

The Pioneer Award supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering and possibly transforming approaches to addressing major biomedical or behavioral challenges that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact on enhancing health, lengthening life, and reducing illness and disability. To be considered pioneering, the proposed research must reflect ideas substantially different from those being pursued in the investigator’s research program or being pursued elsewhere. While the research direction may have as its foundation the applicant’s prior work and expertise, it cannot be an obvious extension or scale up of a current research enterprise which could be anticipated to 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 derive from the development of exceptionally innovative approaches and/or from the posing of radically unconventional hypotheses. Pioneer awardees are required to commit the major portion (at least 51%) of their research effort to activities supported by the Pioneer Award research project in the first three years of the project period. Effort expended toward teaching, administrative, or clinical duties should not be included in this calculation. Awardees will be allowed to reduce effort to 33% and 25% in the fourth and fifth years, respectively.

NIH Director’s New Innovator Award
OSP Deadline: August 31, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: September 8, 2017
Award Amount: $300,000/year for five years plus applicable F&A
Eligible Applicants: Applicants must meet the definition of an Early Stage Investigator (ESI) at the time of application. An ESI is a new investigator (defined as a PD/PI who has not competed successfully for a significant NIH independent research award) who is within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent).  

The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2) supports a small number of early stage investigators of exceptional creativity who propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential to produce a major impact on broad, important problems in biomedical and behavioral research.  It is designed specifically to support unusually creative investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career when they may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant application. The emphasis is on innovation and creativity; preliminary data are not required, but may be included. No detailed, annual budget is requested in the application. The review process emphasizes the individual’s creativity, the innovativeness of the research approaches, and the potential of the project, if successful, to have a significant impact on an important biomedical or behavioral research problem.

NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award
OSP Deadline: September 8, 2017
Sponsor Deadline: September 15, 2017
Award Amount: Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. Maximum project duration is five years. 

The goal of the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award is to provide support for collaborative investigative teams or individual scientists who propose unusually innovative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact in a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research. To be considered transformative, projects must have the potential to create or overturn fundamental scientific paradigms through the use of novel approaches, to transform the way research is conducted through the development of novel tools or technologies, or to lead to major improvements in health through the development of highly innovative therapies, diagnostic tools, or preventive strategies. Consistent with this focus, applications supported under the Transformative Research Award will reflect ideas substantially different from mainstream concepts. Little or no preliminary data are expected.