The PhRMA Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery provides stipend support for individuals engaged in a multidisciplinary research training program that will create or extend their credentials and provide new skills in drug discovery research.
Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must have a firm commitment from a sponsor/mentor at an accredited U.S. institution. Eligible applicants must 1) hold a PhD degree or appropriate terminal research doctorate in a field of study logically or functionally related to the proposed postdoctoral activities or 2) expect to receive the PhD before activating the award.
Postdoctoral applicants should be within their first five years of postdoctoral studies at the time the award begins. Applicants requesting funds to continue an existing postdoctoral program beyond a fifth year will not be considered.
One of the objectives of this fellowship is to gain new skills in drug discovery research, and therefore an ideal candidate will be conducting their research in a new laboratory and not where their graduate work was performed. While all applications involving drug discovery will be considered, preference will be given to individuals sponsored by a unit with responsibility for drug discovery training and research as part of its core mission.
$60,000 per year, for up to two years
To apply, applicants must submit a letter of intent (LOI), due June 16, 2022. Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by July 22, 2022, and asked to complete a full application.
Important: Please click the buttons at the top of this page (Award Aims, Eligibility, etc.), to learn the full details about this award.
PhRMA Foundation Definition of Drug Discovery
Modern drug therapies utilize a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, including biologics, small molecules, and cell and gene therapies, in a variety of novel therapeutic approaches. Successful drug discovery involves the innovative application and integration of multiple scientific disciplines to create efficacious, safe, and differentiated treatment options for patients.
Projects that focus exclusively on single aspects such as development of assays, target identification, chemical probes, biomarkers, or diagnostics will not be considered for review.
- To provide stipend support for individuals engaged in a multidisciplinary research training program that will create or extend their credentials in drug discovery research.
- To support postdoctoral career development activities that will result in achieving new skills in pharmaceutically relevant areas.
- Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must currently be in a PhD and/or MS degree-granting accredited institution in the United States.
- Applicants must have a firm commitment from a research supervisor or sponsor at their institution.
- Applicants must hold a PhD or appropriate terminal research doctorate in a field related to the proposed postdoctoral activities or expect to receive such a degree before activating the award.
- Applicants must be within their first five years of postdoctoral study at the time of award activation.
- While all applications involving drug discovery research will be considered, preference will be given to individuals sponsored by a unit with responsibility for drug discovery training and research as part of its core mission. If the Drug Discovery mission is not apparent at the sponsoring unit’s website, the sponsor letter must describe how the academic appointment will support the applicant’s career development in drug discovery.
- Applicants who are applying for funds to support postdoctoral work in the laboratory where their graduate work was performed will be given lower preference. One of the objectives of this fellowship is to gain new skills, and therefore an ideal candidate will be conducting their research in a new laboratory and not where their graduate work was performed.
- If multiple applicants are submitting proposed efforts on the same project, the efforts must be separate activities and not duplicative. This pertains to applications in all three categories of our Drug Discovery programs (predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships and faculty starter grants). We will not consider multiple applications for the same or similar efforts on the same project.
- This award is for two years and provides $60,000 in stipend support per year. To receive funding beyond the first 12 months, applicants must provide the PhRMA Foundation with a satisfactory progress report upon completion of the first 10 months of funding.
- Funding is conditional upon award recipient’s continued employment with the institution in the postdoctoral program, which will be assessed on a quarterly basis prior to payment. Payments will be made directly to the institution on behalf of the applicant, with the understanding the institution will administer the funds.
- This award intended solely as a stipend and may not be used otherwise. PhRMA Foundation funds may not be used for tuition, fringe benefits, indirect costs to the university.
- If necessary, the institution may supplement the award to a level that is consistent with other postdoctoral fellowships it currently offers. (Please upload a “Stipend Justification” explaining whether the stipend is to be supplemented and the amount.)
- The award may be activated beginning January 1, 2023, or on the first day of any month thereafter, up to and including August 1, 2023.
- A financial report will be required upon completion of the first 12 months of funding.
- A final progress report and financial report will be required within 60 days of the fellowship’s conclusion.
- 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 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery, applicants must submit a letter of intent, due June 16, 2022, at 11:59 PM EDT. Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by July 22, 2022 and asked to complete a full application.
Logging in to ProposalCentral
Go to the ProposalCentral website at https://proposalcentral.com/. If you are a new user of ProposalCentral, follow the link “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 1-11 or update with current information. Your name, degrees, position/title, academic rank, department, and address will be pulled from this page in ProposalCentral.
Step 1: Letter of Intent (LOI)
To submit an LOI, select the “Grant Opportunities” tab in ProposalCentral and a list of applications will be displayed. Find “PhRMA Foundation” and click the “Apply Now” link next to the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery Program.
Candidates must submit a 600-word LOI describing their research project and its aims. In addition to the LOI, please submit a one-page cover letter answering the following questions:
- Explain how your project fits into the PhRMA Foundation’s definition of Drug Discovery. (The definition can be found in the PROGRAM DESCRIPTION TAB.)
- How will this project advance the field?
- What are the challenges or gaps in the field you are solving?
- How is your project innovative?
The LOI should be written by the applicant on a U.S. letter-sized 8.5” x 11” page with .5” margin and 12-point font. The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description. Citations and figures do not count toward the 600-word LOI limit.
The cover page and LOI (including citations, if any) should be uploaded as separate documents.
Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by July 22, 2022, and asked to complete a full application. Full applications are due September 15, 2022, at 11:59 PM EDT, including letters of support.
Step 2: Application Process (by invitation)
The following items will be required if you are invited to submit a full application.
- Applicant’s Biosketch or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- 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 (U.S. letter size 8.5” x 11” / .5” margin / 12-point font).
- Research Plan
The applicant must prepare a comprehensive statement, not to exceed eight single-spaced pages, of the plans for research, education, and training in drug discovery. Applicants should use a format similar to the format specified for grants submitted to the National Institutes of Health, including a description of the objective(s), the rationale, research design and methodology, and a bibliography of major references (bibliographies are not included in the page limit). The proposal should not be copied directly from a sponsor’s past NIH proposal, but instead should be written by the postdoctoral candidate. Preliminary results, if any, should also be included. A project timeline is suggested. The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description or included in a footnote. Each application will be reviewed closely to assess the quality of the proposed research, as well as the proposed education and training that will be obtained. Therefore, it is essential that documentation be included demonstrating that proper guidance and departmental support will be made available during the project to ensure training in the techniques and principles of drug discovery. The proposal must document the approval of all departments in which the candidate will train via letters from chairs or mentors in these departments, or from appropriate personnel if the proposal includes an experiential rotation in an industrial research laboratory. 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 not be considered for funding.
- Research Impact Questions
Similar to the LOI submission, be sure to answer these four questions in the template provided:
- How does your project fit into the PhRMA Foundation’s definition of Drug Discovery?
- How will this project advance the field?
- What are the challenges or gaps in the field you are solving?
- How is your project innovative?
- Stipend Justification
If your institution is supplementing the award to a level that is consistent with other postdoctoral fellowships that it currently offers, please upload a “Stipend Justification” explaining whether the stipend is being supplemented and at what amount. If not, upload a document stating, “no stipend support.”
- Other Sources of Funding/Funding Explanation
Upload information about other support this project receives. If it does not receive other support, upload a document stating, “No other support has been received or is pending.”Other support includes all financial resources —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.
- Manuscripts/Presentations (optional) – You can upload up to three relevant publications in PDF format.
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:
- Research Supervisor or Sponsor (the person who mentors and authorizes your work in the lab)
- General Reference(s) (1-3) 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. Letters of support should be uploaded before September 15 so you can submit your application by 11:59 PM ET.
We suggest you inform your references in advance of what items should be addressed in their letter of support.
Research Supervisor or Sponsor should include:
- Brief biographical sketch.
- Assessment of the applicant and proposed project.
- Information describing how the department will support the applicant (e.g., funding, space, etc.).
- Information to describe the education of the applicant in Drug Discovery.
- Information on the training program in Drug Discovery research.
- If the applicant does not have a formal background in Drug Discovery, the Sponsor must describe how the applicant will obtain such training as a postdoctoral student (e.g., a class, part of a project, etc.) The mechanism and assessment to establish successful training of the applicant must be made clear.
- Information on the applicant’s current source of financial support for the proposed project and any pending applications for stipend support. If none are pending, this should be stated.
General Reference(s) should include:
- The period of time they have known the applicant and in what capacity.
- Assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and accomplishments in the field. (Are there skills the applicant could further develop?)
- Comment on the applicant’s communication and interpersonal skills, and ability to collaborate with peers on research projects.
- Explanation of how this program will be a productive experience for the applicant and why they should be selected.
REMEMBER to begin your application early so your references have ample time to meet the September 15 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 15, 2022, at 11:59 ET. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Preference is for the applicant to submit a CV. References, where requested, may submitted either CV or NIH style biosketch.
Please note the PhRMA Foundation does not provide written reviews.
Award notification is December 15, 2022.