The PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grant in Drug Discovery offers financial support to individuals beginning independent research careers at the faculty level 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 currently be in PhD and/or MS degree granting institutions in the United States. Those holding the academic rank of assistant professor (or research assistant professor) within a tenure track (or research track) appointment, or instructor, if eligible to apply for independent research funding by their institution, are eligible to apply for these research starter grants, providing their proposed research is neither directly nor indirectly already being subsidized to any significant degree by an extramural support mechanism. Individuals receiving only intramural funding or start-up funding from their institution are eligible to apply for Research Starter Grant awards.
Applicants will be judged on the scientific merit of the proposed research, degree of financial need and corresponding infrastructure to enable completion of the work.
$100,000 for one year.
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 offer financial assistance to support research efforts to individuals beginning independent research careers in drug discovery at the faculty level.
Eligibility and Requirements
- Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must currently be in PhD and/or MS degree granting institutions in the United States.
- Those holding the academic rank of assistant professor (or research assistant professor) within a tenure track (or research track) appointment, or instructor, if eligible to apply for independent research funding by their institution, are eligible to apply for these research starter grants, providing their proposed research is neither directly nor indirectly already being subsidized to any significant degree by an extramural support mechanism. Individuals receiving only intramural funding or start-up funding from their institution are eligible to apply for Research Starter Grant awards.
- Eligible candidates will not have other substantial sources of research funding. This program is not offered to augment an ongoing research effort. Nor is the grant intended to be used for any direct effort to obtain further extramural funding. Funds must be used to conduct the proposed research.
- Research projects that intend to extend or develop the proprietary value of specific drug products will not be accepted. This exclusion does not preclude research in which specific drug products are used to test hypotheses that have general applicability.
- Applicants will be judged on the scientific merit of the proposed research, degree of financial need and corresponding infrastructure to enable completion of the work.
- The grant provides funding of $100,000 for one year.
- The grant is paid on a quarterly basis to the university on behalf of the applicant, with the understanding that the university will administer the funds.
- The funds have limited restrictions – a characteristic of the program.
- The funds may not be used for salary support of the awardee. Funds may not be used for fringe benefits or indirect costs.
- Funds may be budgeted to include the support of a technician or graduate student at an hourly rate. The funds may not be used to provide tuition, fringe benefits or indirect costs for said personnel.
- Within the $100,000 grant, up to $1,500 per year may be used for travel to professional meetings by the awardee.
- Funds may be used to purchase equipment and/or data to support the research efforts.
- Funding may begin as early as January 1, 2021.
- Unspent funds are to be returned to the PhRMA Foundation upon the grant’s conclusion.
- Funds are not transferrable.
- Any changes to the proposed project must be approved by the PhRMA Foundation.
To apply for a PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grant 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 Research Starter Grant 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. Upload the completed document in Section 6: Letter of Intent.
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. This is an opportunity for you to tell us how your project specifically relates to drug discovery. Applicants who don’t address the clear connection between their project and drug discovery will not be considered.
The letter should not exceed two single-spaced pages (12-point font, one-half margin).
2. Applicants biographical sketch or CV (5-page limit)
3. Project Title (maximum of 200 characters – entered directly into proposalCENTRAL)
4. Project Summary – Abstract (maximum of 2,000 characters – entered directly into proposalCENTRAL)
Besides entering your project summary/abstract, please answer the following three questions (maximum of five sentences per answer):
- What is the innovative component of your project?
- How will this proposal advance the field?
- What are the challenges in the field you are you actually solving?
5. Research Project / Proposal
The applicant must prepare a comprehensive statement, not to exceed eight single-spaced pages (12-point font; one-half inch margin), including objectives and specific aims, background, significance, and rationale. Preliminary studies, as well as results (if available), should be included. The proposal should detail the research design and methodology.
Is the department you are in PhD granting? Clearly identify other principals involved as collaborators in the project, the amount of time they will commit, and the amount of time you will commit. List by titles the funded research projects of each principal, the portion of time committed, and the amount and source of funds for these projects. Identify the amount of intramural support available for the proposed project, and other research efforts by budget categories and amounts. If the school makes the services of a technician available to the candidate, note this. Identify the part of the proposal that will be directly initiated or expedited by the Foundation’s funds.
Applicants should use a format similar to the format specified for grants submitted to the National Institutes of Health. A bibliography of major references should be provided but will not be included in the page limit. The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description.
The Advisory Committee that reviews each application places considerable emphasis on the quality of the research and training proposal. In describing the research and training plan, it is essential to document that guidance and departmental support will be available in order to ensure proper training in the techniques and principles of the specified area.
Please provide a budget and list any other funding this project receives. If further justification is needed, please upload a budget justification.
7. Career Publications
Up to three publications should be uploaded.
You are required to submit contact information for the following personnel:
- Department Chair (a.k.a. program director, center director, institute director, etc.)
- Collaborator (if applicable)
- General Reference(s) (1-3) who are familiar with you and your scientific career. This can include additional collaborators.
Once you add their name 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:
- Assessment of the applicant and proposed project
- The department’s mission in relation to drug discovery research
- Information as to the mechanisms by which the department supports drug discovery research
Collaborator should provide:
- The collaborator should provide a letter of support including their biosketch, acknowledging their support and enthusiasm for the project.
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 notifications will be December 15, 2020.
Letters of intent are due May 15, 2020.