The PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery provides support for students in advanced stages of training and thesis research in drug discovery research.
To apply, applicants must submit a letter of intent, due May 15, 2020. Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by July 1, 2020 and asked to complete a full application.
Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must be full-time, in-residence students. Eligible candidates will have completed most of their pre-thesis requirements (at least two years of study) and be engaged in thesis research as PhD candidates by the time the award is activated.
$25,000 per year, up to two years.
Important: Please click the buttons at the top of this page (Award Aims, Eligibility, etc.), to learn the full details about this award.
Drug Discovery is the process through which potential new medicines are identified. It involves integration of a range of scientific disciplines, including innovative and unique biology, chemistry and pharmacology.
Modern drug discovery has extended beyond traditional small molecules to embrace a variety of novel therapeutic approaches, including peptides, oligonucleotides, antibodies, proteins, stem cells and CAR-T cells.
The evolving process of drug discovery should include innovative culture-based and animal-based efforts that embrace new cutting-edge technology, including target-specific structural and computational drug-based design and the use of genomics.
- To encourage progress in drug discovery research through the provision of well-trained investigators.
- To support students in advanced stages of training and thesis research in drug discovery research, including basic pharmaceutics, biopharmaceutics, pharmaceutical technology and pharmaceutical biotechnology.
Eligibility & Requirements
- Students just starting graduate school should not apply.
- Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must attend a U.S. university as full-time, in-residence students.
- The department chair or graduate officer is expected to verify the applicant’s doctoral candidacy.
- Eligible candidates will have completed most of their pre-thesis requirements (at least two years of coursework) and be engaged in thesis research as PhD candidates by the time the award is activated.
- Predoctoral Fellowships are designed for students who expect to complete their PhD requirements in two years or less from the time the fellowship begins.
- Award activation can begin as early as January 1, 2021 or as late as August 1, 2021.
- An individual may not simultaneously hold or interrupt any other fellowship providing stipend support while the PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is active.
- Fellows are expected to devote full time (including summers) to their research.
- The awards may not be used to supplement funds from other fellowships, traineeships, or assistantships, unless necessary to make stipend levels compliant with institutional policy. The goal of the program is to assist in the candidate’s Predoctoral training. Predoctoral Fellowships should not be seen as a way to fund a research project.
- This award provides $25,000 in stipend support year for 12, 18 or 24 months. In order to be eligible for funding beyond 12 months, applicants must provide the Foundation with a satisfactory progress report upon completion of the first ten months of funding. In addition, applicants must provide a letter from their thesis adviser, confirming that satisfactory progress is being made.
- Payments will be made directly to the university on a quarterly basis.
- Up to $1,000 per year may be used for incidentals directly associated with thesis research preparation (i.e. secretarial help, artwork, books, etc.)
- The program provides no other subsidies (i.e. travel, tuition, fringe benefits, etc.)
- PhRMA Foundation funds may not be used for indirect costs to the university.
- Awards may be activated beginning January 1, 2021 or on the first day of any month thereafter, up to and including August 1, 2021.
- An individual may not simultaneously hold or interrupt any other fellowship providing stipend support while the PhRMA Foundation fellowship is active.
- A financial report will be required upon completion of the first twelve months of funding.
- A final progress report and financial report will be required at the conclusion of the fellowship.
- Unspent funds are to be returned to the PhRMA Foundation.
- These funds are non-transferable.
- Any changes to the proposed project must be approved by the PhRMA Foundation.
To apply for a PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery, applicants must submit a letter of intent, due May 15, 2020 @ 11:59 PM EST. Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by July 1, 2020 and asked to complete a full application.
To start a Letter of Intent, go to the proposalCENTRAL website at https://proposalcentral.com/. If you are a new user of proposalCENTRAL, follow the “CREATE ONE NOW” link under “Need an Account?” and complete the registration process. If you are already a registered user, login at https://proposalcentral.com/ with your username and password. If you have forgotten your password, click the “Forgot your Password?” link.
Once you are logged in, please click the “Professional Profile” tab at the top and complete steps 1-10 or update with current information. Your name, degrees, Position/Title, Academic Rank, Department and address will be pulled from this page in proposalCENTRAL.
To start a Letter of Intent, select the “Grant Opportunities” tab and a list of applications will be displayed. Find “PhRMA Foundation” and click the Apply Now link next to the Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery Program to create your Letter of Intent.
Letter of Intent
The letter of intent, written by the applicant, should not exceed one single-spaced page (12-point font and one-half inch margin). It should be written in a style and format that is similar to the NIH specific aim page (project synopsis to include how the project is novel, innovative, cutting-edge across disciplines, and showing how the impact of the project may move science forward, etc.) The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description.
Projects that integrate cutting-edge scientific drug discovery approaches will be favored.
Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by July 1, 2020 and asked to complete a full application. Full applications are due September 1, 2020 @ 11:59 PM EDT, including letters of support.
Full Application Components
1. Extended Letter
We want to know our applicants. Include a synopsis of your career, your professional interests, and your desired career path. The letter should not exceed two single-spaced pages (12-point font, one-half inch margin).
2. Applicant’s biographical sketch or CV (5-page limit)
3. Project Title (maximum of 200 characters – entered directly into proposalCENTRAL)
4. Project Summary / Abstract (maximum of 1200 characters – entered directly into proposalCENTRAL)
5. Thesis Project Description
Applicants’ detailed description of their thesis project should include objectives, rationale, methods of approach, preliminary results (if any exist), and a bibliography of major references. The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description. This description (excluding bibliography and aims) should not exceed six single-spaced pages (12-point font; one-half inch margin). The description should be written by the applicant and submission of this document will serve as verification it has been written by the student.
Applicants are required to upload their academic transcripts and GRE/MCAT results (if applicable).
You are required to submit contact information for the following personnel:
- Department Chair (a.k.a. program director, center director, institute director, etc.)
- Thesis Adviser
- General Reference(s) (1-3) who are familiar with you and your scientific career
Once you add your references’ names and contact information to your application, an auto-generated email will be forwarded to them. The email will include instructions as to what they should address in their letter of support and it will provide a personalized hyperlink where they should upload their letter. Letters of support should be uploaded before September 1, 2020.
Please note that the system will not accept your application unless the letters of support from your references have been successfully uploaded.
We suggest you inform your references in advance of what items should be addressed in their letter of support. See below:
Department Chair (a.k.a. program director, center director, institute director, etc.) should provide:
- Contact information and department’s mission statement
- Assessment of applicant and proposed research, and confirmation that the department provides training in drug discovery. See the section titled “Background Information” to read our definition of drug discovery.
If the Department Chair is also the applicant’s Thesis Adviser, these items need to be addressed in the letter of support. When this is the case, the Department Chair/Thesis Adviser will receive two emails with an individual link, which they can use to upload their letter of support. Their letter should be uploaded twice using each link.
Thesis Adviser should provide:
- Contact information and a brief biographical sketch
- Assessment of the applicant and proposed research
- Information on the training program
- Thesis Adviser’s history of training / mentoring and a description of the facilities
- Additional financial support that will be available to the candidate
- How many trainees will be supervised during the candidate’s training period
- List of research support, including current and pending grants, total amounts and duration. Because the fellowship grants no research funds, this information is necessary in order to enable further perspective on evaluating the resources available for thesis research.
- Information to demonstrate the department’s focus on the discipline, and specifically state that the department is responsible for the training at the institution.
General Reference(s) should provide:
- Contact information
- Assessment of the applicant
- General references who are connected to an applicant’s project should explain their roles and responsibilities regarding the project.
REMEMBER to begin your application early so your references have ample time to meet the September 1 deadline.
It is your responsibility that these letters are uploaded. The application portal will permit you to review your application and the status of your letters of support before your final submission. Be sure to check it frequently and do not wait until the last minute.
The application portal will not permit the application to be submitted until the letters of support have been uploaded.
Application deadline is September 1, 2020 @ 11:59 EDT. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Please note the PhRMA Foundation does not provide written reviews.
Award notification is December 15, 2020.
Letters of intent are due May 15, 2020.