2014 Awards
Research Starter Grants
Health Outcomes > Research Starter Grants


The purpose of the PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grants is to offer financial support to individuals beginning their independent research careers at the faculty level. The program provides a research grant of $100,000 for one year. This program supports individuals beginning independent research careers in academia who do not have other substantial sources of research funding.

This program is not offered as a means to augment substantially funded research efforts. It is intended to offer support for researchers who are starting their independent research efforts.

Health Outcomes

Outcomes research spans a broad spectrum of issues from studies evaluating the effectiveness of a particular pharmaceutical intervention to the impact of reimbursement policies on the outcomes of care. It also ranges from the development and use of tools to perform patient-based assessments to analyses of the best way to disseminate the results of outcomes research to providers or consumers to encourage behavior change.

Outcomes research incorporates a variety of research methods from various disciplines. The application of outcomes research principles in evaluating the design, delivery, and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals includes the following general areas:

Burden of disease
Cost Consequences Analysis
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
Cost Utility Analysis
Health Outcomes Research
Health Related Quality of Life
Patient satisfaction
Patient preferences
Patient reported Outcomes
Psychometric Evaluation of Questionnaires (e.g. reliability, validity etc.)
Research methods
Symptom Measures


Pharmacoeconomics involves evaluation of the behavior of individuals, organizations, and markets relevant to the use of pharmaceutical products, services, and programs. The discipline frequently focuses on the cost (inputs) and consequence (outcomes) of the use of pharmaceuticals.

Patient Reported Outcomes

Patient Reported Outcomes deals with the value assigned to duration of life as modified by the impairment of physical, social, and psychological functional states, perceptions, and opportunities that are influenced by disease, injury, treatment, or policy. In this context, the field is also known as health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

The "starter" aspect of the program strives to assist those individuals who are establishing careers as independent investigators in the field of health outcomes. The program is not offered as a means to augment an ongoing research effort nor is the grant intended to be used for any direct effort to obtain further extramural funding. The funds are to be used to conduct the proposed research.

The funds have limited restrictions - a characteristic of the program. However, in an effort to gain the maximum usefulness, some guidelines are in order. The primary purpose of the funding is to support the research efforts of the grantee.

Funds may be used in the following manner:
1. To purchase data or equipment that will support the proposed research efforts.
2. A percentage of the funds may be used for salary (not to exceed 25% of salary coverage) if the review committee determines this level of support is justified given the applicant's current position, current funding level and the proposed research plan.
3. To support technical assistance (The support of technical assistance may include the hourly wages of a technician; however the funds may not be used to provide fringe benefits or indirect costs for the technician).
4. No more than $1,500 a year may be used for travel to professional meetings by the grantee.
5. The program provides no other subsidies, (tuition, fringe benefits, indirect institutional costs, etc.).
The submitted line item budget must reflect how the funds will be used based on the guidelines listed above.

Applications should be submitted through the foundation website by February 1, 2015. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline date.

Applications, however good, which do not meet the aims of the program will be disapproved.


Those holding the academic rank of instructor or assistant professor and investigators at the doctoral level with equivalent positions are eligible to apply for these research starter grants, providing their proposed research is neither directly nor indirectly subsidized to any significant degree by an extramural support mechanism. The program is not intended for those in postdoctoral training programs. Applicants must be sponsored by the department or unit within which the proposed research is to be undertaken. The grant is made to the university on behalf of the applicant and with the understanding that the university will administer the funds. Schools of medicine, pharmacy, public health, nursing, dentistry and schools of other areas where appropriate are eligible for this award.

This award is granted in part based on need. If an individual currently has or is guaranteed substantial funding, they should not apply.

Applications must be submitted by an accredited school in the U.S., and all applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Applicants will be judged on the scientific worthiness of the proposed research, and on the degree of need. If support is obtained after the application has been submitted, the Foundation must be so informed.

Before an individual is eligible to apply for a PhRMA Foundation award, the applicant must first have a firm commitment from a U.S. university.

These grants will begin on July 1, 2015 for a period of 1 year. 

Research Starter Grant Application Components

1. General Registration Information
2. Applicant CV or bio sketch
3. Extended Letter
This letter is an opportunity to tell us who you are and to detail your plans for your future. Include a synopsis of your career, tell us your interests and describe your desired future career path. Your letter should not exceed 2 pages of size 12 font.
4. Research Plan
The applicant must prepare a comprehensive yet concise statement, not to exceed eight single-spaced pages of size 12 font. This narrative should include objectives and specific aims, background, significance, and rationale. Preliminary studies, if available, should be included. Detail the research design and methodology. Applicants are requested to use a format similar to that specified for the submission of grants to the National Institutes of Health. A bibliography of major references should be provided and is not included in the 8 page limit. The use of human subjects should be addressed in the research plan. Preliminary results, if any, should also be included.  Acronyms should be put in a footnote on the first page or they should be spelled in full the first time it is used.
Other principals involved in the project as collaborators and the amount of time devoted to the project by the applicant and other principals should be identified. List by titles the funded research projects of each principal, the fraction of time committed, and the amount and source of funds for these projects.
Identify the amount of intramural support presently available to the candidate for the proposed project and other research efforts by budget categories and amounts. If the school makes available the services of a technician to the candidate, note this. Identify that part of the proposal that is to be directly initiated or expedited by the Foundation's funds.
The Advisory Committee which 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 proper guidance and departmental support will be available to insure training in the techniques and principles of the area.
Submission of this plan is assurance that the research proposal has been written primarily by the applicant.
5. Research Abstract
An abstract of approximately 200 words concerning the proposed research plan.
6. Budget
Provide a budget and list any other funding this project receives.
7. Department Chair’s information including an email address. A letter of recommendation.
8. Sponsor’s information including an email address and a biosketch. A letter of recommendation.
9. Information and letters of reference from up to 3 individuals familiar with your scientific career.
10. Reprints
Copies of relevant articles published by the applicant.




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