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

Star Family Challenge for Promising Scientific Research
Deadline: February 28, 2018
Award Amount: $20,000-$200,000

The Star Family Challenge for Promising Scientific Research provides seed funding to interdisciplinary high-risk, high-impact projects in the natural or social sciences. Early stage projects which are unlikely to receive funding from traditional grant-making agencies are encouraged. Award recipients will present and discuss their projects with a range of scholars in multiple disciplines at a Challenge event on April 9, 2018, prior to receipt of funding.

Servier-Harvard Research Alliance
Deadline: March 5, 2018
Award Amount: $750,000/year for up to 3 years total costs (direct and indirect)
Eligible Applicants: Anyone with PI rights whose employer is Harvard University and who has an obligation to assign intellectual property rights to Harvard is eligible to apply. Postdocs and research scientists who are interested in applying should discuss with their PI and apply jointly.

Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) is pleased to announce the establishment of a strategic research alliance between Harvard University and Servier ( This alliance will support collaborative, PI-initiated projects aimed at developing innovative therapeutics (including small molecule, peptides, and antibodies), identifying new biological mechanisms & targets, and developing novel drug delivery/targeting approaches across disease areas of mutual interest. This Request for Proposals (RFP) is seeking proposals for innovative sponsored research projects in the following areas of excellence:

  1. Cardiovascular Disease: including physiopathological and regenerative approaches.
  2. Metabolic Disease: including beta cell function and end-organ protection, metabolic inflexibility, microbiome, and inflammation.
  3. Oncology: including apoptosis and Immuno-Oncology, protein target degradation, new vectorization technologies, and epigenetics.
  4. Immuno-Inflammatory Disease: including cytokine and immune regulatory molecules, immuno-inflammation biology, and physiopathology of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
  5. Neurodegenerative Disease: including proteinopathies, neuroinflammation, proteostasis and clearance.
  6. Novel Therapeutic Modalities and Drug Vectorization: including RNA targeting using small molecules and nanotechnology therapeutic modalities.
  7. Novel Structural Biology and Computational Biology Approaches

For additional information on the opportunity, including a more detailed RFP and application template, please contact your Director of Business Development at OTD or email Jessica Goodman, Director of Corporate Alliances (

Harvard Data Science Initiative Competitive Research Fund
Deadline: March 6, 2018 by 5:00PM
Award Amount: Up to $100,000
Eligible Applicants: Individuals who hold a faculty appointment at a Harvard school and who have principal investigator rights at that school

The goal of the Data Science Initiative Competitive Research Fund is to support research that advances data science at Harvard in new ways. In 2018, funds will be used to support planning grants within and across each of five themes:

  1. Data-Driven Scientific Discovery (includes discovery of new materials, drug and gene discovery, environment, astronomy, neuroscience)
  2. Markets and Networks (includes networks and influence, innovation and crowds, digital economy, jobs, fairness, privacy, accountability, crowdsourcing)
  3. Personalized Health (includes precision medicine, precision public health, medical informatics, diagnostics, personal devices)
  4. Evidence-Based Policy (includes equality of opportunity, healthcare economics, democracy and governance, climate change -- resilience and mitigation)
  5. Advanced Methodologies (includes causal inference, deep learning, visualization, Monte Carlo methods, experimental design, interpretability, non-parametric Bayesian, high-dimensional inference, robust machine learning, control of false discovery, human-in-the-loop, reinforcement learning, data systems, reproducibility, data sharing)

This call invites innovative ideas for projects that will be foundational to longer-term research programs in any of the five themes listed above. Projects that span two or more themes are also encouraged.

Dean’s Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship
Deadline: March 8, 2018 by 5:00PM
Award Amount: Up to $50,000
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.

Harvard Initiative for Learning & Teaching Spark Grants for Collaboration, Research, and Engagement
Deadline: March 21, 2018
Award Amount: Up to $15,000
Eligible Applicants: Harvard University benefits-eligible faculty, staff, and postdoctoral researchers are eligible to apply for funding, individually or as groups.

Grants are designed to help "spark" promising teaching and learning projects from idea to reality and position innovations for future success. Funding can be used in various ways; for example, to pay for a research assistant, hire a graduate student with academic technology expertise, or convene collaborative groups. Through Spark Grants, awardees will receive resources, feedback, and community support to help them develop their ideas into prototypes, pilots, and small-scale innovations. HILT will also strive to support any future scaling-up of Spark Grant projects by increasing their visibility and connecting awardees and project outcomes with others in the broader Harvard community. In general, grant proposals should align with HILT's mission to catalyze innovation and excellence in teaching and learning at Harvard University.

The Milton Fund
Deadline: April 3, 2018
Award Amount: Up to $50,000
Eligible Applicants: Applications are invited from individuals who hold a junior faculty appointment. This includes Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Junior Fellows of the Harvard Society of Fellows.

The Milton Fund supports research projects in the fields of medicine, geography, history and science that promote the physical and material welfare and prosperity of the human race, investigate and determine the value and importance of any discovery or invention, or assist in the discovery and perfecting of any special means of alleviating or curing human disease. Funds awarded through the Milton Fund support research to explore new ideas, to act as the catalyst between ideas and more definitive directions, and to consider new methods of approaching solutions.

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

Ono Pharma Foundation Breakthrough Science Initiative Award
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline (for Chemical Biology proposals only): January 24, 2018 by 10:00AM
Sponsor LOI Deadline: February 28, 2018
Award Amount: $900,000 over three years

The Ono Initiative supports scientist Principal Investigators with creative ideas in selected scientific research fields with the mission of seeking discoveries/solutions and development of high impact science. The goals of the Ono Initiative are to identify and help develop innovative research proposals and results that could lead to the development of breakthrough treatment solutions for patients, support academic research and the career development of promising young and established scientists, and build strong relationships within potential partner institutions to identify early research projects aligned within the strategic areas of interest of Ono. Through this call the foundation will be considering proposals for scientific research projects in Chemical Biology and Oligonucleotide Medicine Research.

There is no limit to the number of applications that may be submitted in Oligonucleotide Medicine Research, but Harvard is limited to nominating just two candidates in Chemical Biology Research. Prospective applicants in Chemical Biology Research are asked to submit an internal pre-proposal online here by January 24, 2018. Applicants in Oligonucleotide Medicine Research may submit directly to the foundation.

NIH Instrumentation Grant Programs
FAS/SEAS Statement of Intent Deadline: March 5, 2018 by 5:00PM
Sponsor Deadline: May 31, 2018
Award Amount: Up to $2,000,000
Target Applicants:
Groups of three or more PIs on active, distinct NIH research awards

The objective of the 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 and bio-behavioral research. The program provides funds to purchase or upgrade a single item of expensive, state-of-the-art, specialized, commercially available instrument or an integrated instrumentation system. Open funding announcements include the Shared Instrumentation Grant Program ($50,000-$600,000), High End Instrumentation Grant Program ($600,001-$2,000,000), and Shared Instrumentation for Animal Research Grant Program ($50,000-$750,000).

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 within Harvard, potential applicants from FAS and SEAS are asked to submit a brief statement of intent to Erin Hale at no later than March 5, 2018.

The statement of intent should include the following:

  • PI Name
  • Brief description of the proposed instrument (one brief paragraph)
  • Major User group (three or more investigators who are Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) on three distinct active NIH research grants)
  • Proposed location of the instrument, if funded

Pew Biomedical Scholars Program
Harvard Preproposal Deadline: March 19, 2018
Award Amount: $75,000/year for four years
Eligible faculty: Assistant Professors appointed on or after July 7, 2015 and still in the Assistant Professor position at the sponsor deadline (anticipated late October, 2018) who have been awarded a doctorate in biomedical sciences, medicine, or a related field.

The Pew Scholars Program is designed to support young investigators of outstanding promise in basic and clinical sciences relevant to the advancement of human health. The award is intended to provide assured support, during their earlier years, for junior members of the faculty as they establish their laboratories. The awarded funds may be used at the discretion of the Pew scholar for personnel, equipment, supplies, or travel directly related to the scholar's research and as to best advance his or her research and career. Strong proposals will demonstrate particularly creative and innovative approaches. Candidates whose work is based on biomedical principles, but brings in concepts and theories from more diverse fields, are encouraged to apply.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund: Quantitative and Statistical Thinking in the Life Sciences
Harvard Pre-Proposal Deadline: March 20, 2018 by 12:00PM
Award Amount: $150,000 direct costs only. This award does not allow for indirect costs and thus falls short of the 15% overhead required by FAS/SEAS policy. Please discuss with your grants administrator before preparing an application.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund announces a one-time award program providing support for faculty time spent on developing improved approaches to training graduate students for a more quantitative and statistically-informed approach to thinking and a more model-driven approach to doing research in the biomedical and related life sciences. These grants will support faculty effort and relevant administrative support for up to two years of work on curricular development, and/or pulling together elements from multiple departments, and/or course and workshop development, as well as other efforts focused on building or substantially restructuring didactic elements of graduate training.

External Opportunities

NSF Dear Colleague: RAISE on Enabling Quantum Leap: Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems
Sponsor Deadline for White Papers: February 16, 2018
Award Amount: Up to $1,000,000 over up to 5 years

This Dear Colleague Letter aims to encourage researchers to submit interdisciplinary research projects that must include at least three complementary components represented by researchers with expertise in the areas of physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science, engineering, and computer/computational science, which are more broadly represented by the NSF Directorates for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Engineering (ENG), and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). The innovative proposals must focus on quantum functionality by assessing aspects relevant to both fundamental and application concepts, and must result in experimental demonstrations of transformative advances towards quantum systems and/or proof-of-concept validations.