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$30,000 a year for up to 2 years

The PhRMA Foundation’s Predoctoral Fellowship in Translational Medicine supports promising students (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) in advanced stages of training and thesis research in translational medicine.

Letter of Intent Deadline: May 1, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET

Key Dates

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March 15, 2024

Application Portal Opens for Letters of Intent

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May 1, 2024 @ 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET

Letter of Intent Deadline

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July 1, 2024

Invitation to Submit Full Application for Select Candidates

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Aug. 29, 2024 @ 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET

Full Application Deadline

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Dec. 15, 2024

Award Winner Notification

Translational medicine is a scientific discipline focused on turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into medicines, diagnostics, or other interventions that improve human health. Translational medicine fosters a patient-focused research cycle that stretches from the lab bench to the patient bedside and back to the lab again. This includes adapting hypothesis-driven basic research discoveries in cells, tissues, and animals for application in humans and then taking the knowledge of what did and didn’t work in the clinic back to the bench. 

Given the breadth of the discipline, the PhRMA Foundation’s Translational Medicine Program focuses specifically on novel research that uses the “bedside to bench” approach to address unmet needs in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. The Foundation seeks research proposals that focus on identifying unmet clinical needs and developing new diagnostic, experimental, and computational approaches and technologies to improve patient care and management. 

Applicants are encouraged to work with clinical collaborators to identify unmet clinical needs. Plans to corroborate results from model systems need to include methods to validate findings in human samples, subjects, or patients and be documented in the proposal.  

Proposals should integrate innovative technologies, with advanced biological, chemical, diagnostic, and pharmacological sciences and engineering methodologies in areas that include but not are limited to: 

  • Genetics and Epigenetics (Molecular, Pharmaco-, Population, Medical) 
  • Omics (Functional, Structural, Toxico-, Pharmaco-, Comparative) 
  • Systems (Biology and Pharmacology) 
  • Pathways and Networks 
  • Integrative Biology 
  • Modeling and Simulation 
  • Target Identification and Validation 
  • Biomarker Identification and Validation 
  • Molecular Epidemiology 
  • Imaging 
  • Disease Modeling 

Studies where the only human data is from a pre-existing biobank are non-responsive. 

Note:Please ensure you are applying to the correct PhRMA Foundation program. If your project does not align with the goals of the Translational Medicine program, as outlined above, please review the PhRMA Foundation’s Drug Discovery and Drug Delivery programs to see whether your project fits into one of those programs. For research on health outcomes and health technology assessment, please apply to our Value Assessment and Health Outcomes Research program (opening in Q4 2024). Contact the PhRMA Foundation ( with your project description if you need further clarification. 

  • Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must attend an accredited U.S. university as full-time, in-residence students.
  • Individuals just beginning graduate school should not apply. Applicants must 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. Award activation can begin as early as January 1, 2025, or as late as August 1, 2025.
  • Applicants should expect to complete their PhD requirements in two years or less from the time funding begins. The thesis advisor’s letter of support must verify the applicant’s doctoral candidacy.
  • Applicants who expect to complete their PhD before December 31, 2025, are not eligible. 
  • Applicants enrolled in MD/PhD programs should not be engaged in required clinical coursework or clerkships while the fellowship is active. Fellows are expected to devote full time (including summers) to their research.
  • Predoctoral fellowships should not be seen as a way to fund the principal investigator’s currently funded research project.
  • Only one predoctoral applicant per lab may apply for this award. If multiple applicants apply, they will automatically be ineligible. Potential applicants and their thesis advisors and/or lab managers should decide who should apply.
  • The Foundation will not consider multiple applications for similar efforts on the same project. For instance, if a predoc, postdoc, and faculty member from the same lab are all submitting applications for proposed efforts on the same project, the efforts must be separate activities and not duplicative.
  • The PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in Translational Medicine provides $30,000 in stipend support per year for 12, 18, or 24 months.
  • To receive funding beyond the first 12 months, awardees must provide the PhRMA Foundation with a satisfactory progress report upon completion of the first 10 months of funding. In addition, awardees must provide a letter from their thesis advisor, confirming that satisfactory progress is being made.
  • Funding is conditional upon the awardee’s continued enrollment with the university, which will be assessed on a quarterly basis prior to payment. The awardee is required to notify the PhRMA Foundation if they leave the university or if they defend early.
  • Payments will be made directly to the university on behalf of the awardee, with the understanding that the university will administer the funds.
  • This award is intended solely as a stipend and may not be used otherwise. Funds may not be used for tuition, fringe benefits, or indirect costs to the university. 
  • Within the yearly award amount of $30,000, up to $1,000 (maximum) per year may be used for incidentals directly associated with thesis research preparation or travel to a scientific conference in the United States.
  • An individual may not simultaneously hold another funding mechanism providing stipend support while the PhRMA Foundation predoctoral fellowship is active. If necessary, the university may supplement the award to a level that is consistent with other predoctoral fellowships it currently offers.
  • Funding may begin as early as January 1, 2025, or on the first day of any month thereafter, up to and including August 1, 2025. 
  • A financial report (separate from the 10-month progress 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.
  • Any changes to the proposed project must be approved by the PhRMA Foundation.
  • These funds are non-transferable.

The applicant must have primary responsibility for the writing and the preparation of the application, understanding the mentor/thesis advisor will play a significant part in providing guidance to the applicant.

This is a two-step process. Step one is submitting a letter of intent (LOI) by May 1, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET. If your LOI is accepted, you will be notified by July 1, 2024, that you should proceed to the second step of submitting a full application, due August 29, 2024.

To start a letter of intent, go to the ProposalCentral website at If you are a new user of ProposalCentral, follow the link “Create an Account” and complete the registration process. If you are already a registered user, login 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 your 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 Predoctoral Fellowship in Translational Medicine.

Candidates must submit a 600-word LOI describing their research project and its aims. In addition to the LOI, please answer the following questions using the Research Impact Questions template provided:

  • Explain how your project fits into the PhRMA Foundation’s Translational Medicine Program (see program description).
  • What are the challenges or gaps in the field are you solving?
  • How is your project innovative?
  • How will the completion of your project bring value to society?
  • How are human subjects/data/specimens involved in the study as opposed to laboratory models?

The LOI should be written by the applicant on U.S. letter-sized 8.5” x 11” paper with .5” margin and 11-point font. The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description. Citations, figures, and legends do not count toward the 600-word LOI limit.

LOIs are due by May 1, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by July 1, 2024, and asked to complete a full application. Full applications are due August 29, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET, including letters of support.

Step 2: Full Application (by invitation)

The following components will be required if you are invited to submit a full application.

1. Applicant’s Biosketch (NIH format)

2. Extended Letter (personal statement)

This is an opportunity 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” / .5” margin / 11-point font).

3. Research Plan

Applicants must prepare a comprehensive yet concise research plan. This should be written by the applicant and not copied from another’s project. Applicants should use a format similar to that for National Institutes of Health grants.

The research plan should include a specific aims page (one-page limit), followed by your research strategy (not to exceed six pages) that describes the rationale, significance, research design and methodology, and preliminary results (if any exist). A bibliography of major references should also be included (bibliographies are not included in the page limit).

Required type specifications: U.S. letter size 8.5” x 11” / .5” margin / 11-point font (figures may be provided in a smaller font). The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description. Submissions that do not meet the specified guidelines for proposal preparation will not be considered.

4. Research Impact Questions

Please reupload your responses to the Research Impact Questions from the LOI stage using the provided template. You may make adjustments to your responses if you choose.

5. Stipend Justification

If your institution is supplementing the award to a level that is consistent with other predoctoral 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.”

6. Other Sources of Funding/Funding Explanation

Upload information about other support this project receives. If no 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.

7. Manuscripts/Presentations (optional)

You can upload up to three relevant publications in PDF format.

8. References

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.

  • Thesis advisor
  • 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 sent to them with instructions on what they should address in their letter of support and a personalized hyperlink where they should upload their letter. Letters of support should be uploaded before August 29 so you can submit your application before 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET.

We suggest you inform your references in advance of what items should be addressed in their letter of support.

Thesis advisor should include:

  • Their brief biosketch or CV.
  • Assessment of the applicant and proposed research, and confirmation of their doctoral candidacy. If it is pending, please note the anticipated date of doctoral candidacy.
  • Information on additional financial support that will be available to the applicant.
  • 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.
  • Thesis advisor’s history of training/mentoring and a description of the facilities.
  • The number of trainees that will be supervised during the candidate’s training period.
  • A detailed training plan that should be combined into one PDF with their letter of support.

General reference(s) should include:

  • The period of time they have known the applicant and in what capacity.
  • 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.
  • If involved in the applicant’s project, an explanation of their roles and responsibilities regarding the project.

REMEMBER to begin your application early so your references have ample time to meet the August 29 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 August 29, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Award notification is December 15, 2024.