The 2021 application cycle is closed. Please check back in December 2021 for information on the 2022 application cycle.
The PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grant in Translational Medicine offers financial support to individuals beginning independent research careers in translational medicine at the faculty level.
Application deadline: February 1, 2021 @ 11:59 PM EST (Application submission and reference letters of support are due by the deadline. The application portal will open in late December.)
Award notification: April 15, 2021
Important: Please click on topics in blue, above, to learn the full details about this award.
To offer financial support to individuals beginning independent research careers in translational medicine at the faculty level.
Translational medicine is a discipline focused on bridging discoveries in experimental and computational research to their application in clinical practice. To be successful, this requires working with clinicians to first identify critical unmet clinical needs. Examples of research may include molecular and cellular biology, pathophysiology, systems biology, bioinformatics, modeling and simulation, and other quantitative sciences that connect basic biological concepts to unmet medical needs. Clinical observation should serve as the basis for hypothesis generation to further basic research and to efficiently advance research results to improve care and management of patients.
The goal of the PhRMA Foundation’s Translational Medicine Program is to promote the development of an integrative approach towards clinical needs in diagnosis, treatment and prevention using both experimental and computational methods. The Foundation believes that, towards this goal, it is critical that researchers collaborate with clinicians to identify critical unmet clinical needs. This can lead to an enhanced understanding of human biological and disease processes but requires a strong translational component that is bi-directional, i.e., starting from bedside to bench. This program will support such approaches to Translational Medicine.
Translational Medicine awards will advance training and support career development of scientists engaged in research that significantly addresses specific clinician-defined problems and integrates innovative technologies with advanced biological, chemical, and pharmacological sciences and engineering methodologies in areas that include:
- Genetics (Molecular, Pharmaco-, Population, Medical)
- Genomics (Functional, Structural, Toxico-, Pharmaco-, Comparative)
- Systems (Biology and Pharmacology)
- Pathways and Networks
- Integrative Biology
- Modeling and Simulation
- Target Identification and Validation
- Biomarker Discovery and Validation
- Vaccine Development
- Molecular Epidemiology
- Disease Modeling
- Emphasis will be placed on identification of clinician-defined unmet clinical needs and the development of new experimental and computational approaches and technologies that facilitate the translation of research results into the elucidation and understanding of human biological and disease processes that focus on producing results that can improve patient care and management.
- Preferences will be given to those applicants whose research identifies unmet clinical needs and combines novel experimental and computational methods together with actual clinical validation.
- For applications to be considered, the proposal must contain evidence of collaboration across the clinical/non-clinical interface and not solely apply experimental and computational methodologies to data generation and analysis without clinical validation.
- The use of model systems that do not involve human specimens, data or patients must be justified in terms of their relationship to human biology and disease, specifying both limitations and advantages, and the results of such studies are required to involve clinical testing in humans in support of the model.
Applicants will be judged on the scientific merits of the proposed research and fit within the scope and goals of the program.
ELIGIBILITY & REQUIREMENTS
- Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) 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.
- Applicants must be based at a U.S. university or research institution in the United States.
- Eligible candidates will not have other substantial sources of research funding. 
- If other funding becomes available during the grant, the PhRMA Foundation must be notified.
- Individuals receiving only intramural funding or start-up funding from their institution are eligible to apply for this award.
- Applicants must be sponsored by the department or unit in which the proposed research is to be undertaken.
- This program is not intended for individuals in postdoctoral training. However, those enrolled in postdoctoral training programs scheduled to conclude by the start of the funding, i.e. July 1, 2021 through December 1, 2021, who will hold an academic appointment by that time, may apply.
 Exceptions require written support from the department chair stating this funding would promote the instructor into a regular tenure or research track appointment, with the opportunity for promotion within the track.
 This program is not offered to augment an ongoing research effort. Funds must be used to conduct the proposed research.
- The PhRMA Foundation Research Grant in Translational Medicine provides funding of $100,000 for one year.
- The grant is paid on a quarterly basis to the university/research institution on behalf of the applicant, with the understanding that the university/research institution 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.
- The funds may not be used for fringe benefits or indirect costs.
- The support of technical assistance may include the hourly wages of a technician or graduate student stipend; however, the funds may not be used to provide fringe benefits, indirect costs or tuition assistance for the personnel.
- Within the $100,000 grant, up to $1,500 per year may be used for travel to professional meetings by the awardee.
- The funds may be used to purchase equipment and/or data to support the research efforts.
- These funds are not transferable.
- Funding may begin as early as July 1, 2021 or as late as December 1, 2021.
- Unspent funds are to be returned to the PhRMA Foundation upon the grant’s conclusion.
- Any changes to the proposed project must be approved by the PhRMA Foundation.
Research Starter Grant in Translational Medicine
Application deadline for all materials (applications and letters of support) is February 1, 2021 @ 11:59 PM EST.
To start an application, go to the proposalCENTRAL website at https://proposalcentral.com/. If you are a new user of proposalCENTRAL, follow the “CREATE AN ACCOUNT 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 an application, 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 Translational Medicine to create your Application.
We look forward to receiving your application. Items needed:
- General Registration Information
- Extended Letter
We want to know our applicants. This is an opportunity for you to tell us who you are. Include a synopsis of your career, your professional interests, and your desired career path.
The letter should not exceed two single-spaced pages (U.S. letter size 8.5” x 11” / 12-point font / .5” margin).
- Project/Research Title
Your title should not exceed 200 characters (including spaces).
- Project/Research Abstract
Your abstract should not exceed 1,000 characters (including spaces).
- Project/Research Plan
Upload a comprehensive yet concise statement, written by the applicant, not to exceed eight single-spaced pages.
This should include an introductory page outlining how this project addresses the following questions:
- 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 addressing?
- How are human subjects / data / specimens involved in the study as opposed to laboratory models?
The remaining seven pages of your plan should include: objectives and specific aims, background, significance, and rationale. Preliminary studies, as well as results (if available), should be included. Detail the research design and methodology. 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 (bibliographies are not included in the page limit). The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description.
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 PhRMA Foundation’s funds.
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 to ensure proper training in the techniques and principles of the specified area.
Required type specifications: U.S. letter size 8.5” x 11” / .5” margin / 12-point font (figures may be provided in a smaller font). Submissions that do not meet the specified guidelines for proposal preparation will be considered non-responsive and will not be considered for funding.
Upload your budget explaining:
- How the funds will be used.
- Whether the project receives other funding.
- Other Support
Upload other support you may receive. If you do not receive other support, upload a document stating “No other support has been received or is pending.”
Other support includes all financial resources, whether Federal, non-Federal, commercial or institutional, available in direct support of an individual’s research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and/or institutional awards. Training awards, prizes, or gifts do not need to be included.
- Project Number
- Principal Investigator
- Source of Support
- Title of the project (or sub-project)
- Start / End Dates (if Pending, date of notification)
- Your Role
- Is the funding for research or stipend support or combination, in which case, how is it split
- Explain any overlap with your proposed project
- Career Publications
Upload up to three relevant authored articles should be uploaded.
Please note that the system will not accept your application unless the letters of support from your references have been successfully uploaded.
You are required to submit contact information for the following personnel (minimum of 3 and maximum of 5 references)
- Department Chair (a.k.a. program director, center director, institute director, etc.)
- Collaborator(s) if any
- General Reference(s) who are familiar with you and your scientific career
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.
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.)
- Describe explicitly the support the department will provide to the applicant (e.g. funding, space, etc.) and include how the department supports translational medicine.
- Describe the applicant’s education in the discipline.
- Assessment of the applicant and proposed research.
- Include information on the applicant’s current source of support and any pending applications for other stipend support. If none are pending, please state this.
- If your department has a training grant, please note if it is limited to a specific area and the area on which the grant focuses. Indicate how many graduate students are in the department and how many are supported by the training grant.
Collaborator(s) (if applicable)
- Collaborators need to acknowledge their commitment, participation, and enthusiasm in the project.
- They should include their biosketch (Remind them to combine their letter and biosketch into a single PDF. The link only accepts one attachment.)
Up to Three Other Individuals Familiar with Your Scientific Career
- 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 February 1st deadline.
It is your responsibility to see 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 February 1, 2021 @ 11:59 EST. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Submissions that do not meet the specified guidelines for proposal preparation will be considered non-responsive and will not be considered for funding.
Applicants will be judged on the scientific merits of the proposed research and fit within the scope and goals of the program.
Award notification is April 15, 2021.
The PhRMA Foundation will not provide written reviews.
Click HERE for 2021 Translational Medicine brochure.
Application and letters of support are due by the application deadline of February 1, 2021 @ 11:59 EST.