Find and apply for funding

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Find and apply for funding

Summary and quick links

Funding sources
School of Medicine and institutional programs
Private funding sources
Foundation funding opportunities by subject
Commonwealth of Virginia programs
Federal funding sources
Search engines for funding opportunities
Programs with limited numbers of nominees per institution
Funding and other resources for individual postdoctoral fellows
Medical student research programs
SOM awards for education and research (link to Faculty Development)

General information on eligibility for and sources of funding
Eligibility as PI on grant and contract proposals
Types of research awards (grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, clinical trials agreements)
Industry-academia collaborations

Developing your proposal
Whom to notify, and when, during proposal development
Developing and submitting a proposal for funding
Help with proposal development
Video: tips for applicants (NIH site)
Resources for proposal development and writing
Timeline for proposal development
English language writing support for non-native speakers

Current NIH page limitations for grant proposals

NIH resource:  find funded projects with similar goals and objectives to yours
"Boilerplate" documents and information for inclusion in grant proposals
--- SOM core facilities
--- Core facilities handbook 2013
--- Center for Comparative Medicine (description)
--- Sample data-sharing plans (NIH site)
--- Tool for the development of NSF data management plans (from the University of California)
--- Intellectual property management plans site (NIH site)
--- Model organism sharing plans (NIH site)
--- NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy (NEW 8/7/14; guidance for developing GWAS data-sharing plans)
--- UVA institutional information for proposals
--- Federal rate agreement (F&A and fringe benefits rates)
Proposal preparation and submission checklist
Help with electronic submissions
Internal pre-review of grant proposals: a best-practices document
Descriptions of NIH study sections (NIH Center for Scientific Review)
The NIH application cover letter
NIH "All About Grants Podcast"
Help with other NIH-required sections (animals, research subjects, resource sharing plans, etc.)
Clinical research-specific topics:
--- Assistance with developing clinical study budgets (Clinical Trials Office)
--- Developing NIH clinical research proposals (NHLBI site)
--- Navigating UVA regulatory compliance requirements

Application approvals, submission, and review
The proposal approval process at UVA
Hints for successfully negotiating the UVA approval process
Electronic submission of federal proposals
NIH limits on resubmission of proposals
Video of an NIH mock study section (NIH site)
Contracts and clinical trials agreements


School of Medicine and institutional programs

SOM reviewers of internal grant programs, 2014

Bridge funding (VPR with co-support by SOM and department), also known as interim support, may be obtained to support a previously-funded project that is not re-funded at competitive renewal. Awards of up to $100,000 are co-supported by the VPR, SOM, and the PI's Department/Center in a 2:1:1 ratio. Before applying, review the VPR program guidelines and application form and the SOM implementation of this program. Proposals are due at the Office for Research on March 5, July 5, or November 5.  Over the past five years, ~65% of proposals to this program were funded; of the requests that received bridge awards, 100% have been re-funded by NIH.

Shared equipment/Equipment Trust Fund (SOM). The Dean's Office annually solicits requests from faculty for shared equipment. Requests for proposals are sent to all faculty in early March and require the continued availability of Commonwealth of Virginia Equipment Trust Fund monies. The 2016 solicitation (see application form) deadline is March 31, 2015. Contact:  Dr. Steven Wasserman. The following equipment has been purchased or co-purchased recently for groups of investigators.  They are available for use by others, as available.

Umesh Deshmukh (Medicine):  Cellometer automated cell counter
Carol Gilchrist (Medicine):  Typhoon Trio variable image analyzer
Kyle Hoehn (Pharmacology):  Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer
Alexander Klibanov (Medicine):  Pulsed tunable laser
Todd Stukenberg (Biochemistry):  AKTAmicro for liquid chromatography
Vic Laubach (Surgery):  FastPrep-24 tissue homogenizer
Dan Engel (Microbiology):  Automated liquid handler
Max Wintermark (Radiology):  MR-guided therapy/imaging probe system for 7T MRI
Howard Goodkin (Neurology):  rodent EEG monitoring system
Jiang He (Radiology):  qNano detection system

The Research and Development Program (SOM) provides a limited number of small ($10K - $30K) research awards as seed money for new projects, development of new methods or reagents, or to enter a new area of research.  The most recent deadline was December 1, 2014.  See application form and instructions.

SOM Department and Center funding programs. Pilot or feasibility grants are available to members of the following programs:

Cancer Center (see below)
UVA Children's Hospital (Contact Dr. Karen Fairchild: 924-5496,
Center for Global Health

LaunchPad Fund for Biomedical Innovation in Diabetes (SOM) supports collaborative, translational research projects that propose innovative and viable solutions to curing, treating or diagnosing diabetes.  The program seeks research projects holding exceptional promise for achieving translational outcomes (such as clinical testing, creation of meaningful, licensable IP, or formation of a start-up company).  At least one investigator from each submitting team of faculty must be full-time, tenure-track faculty at professorial rank (assistant, associate, full) with a primary appointment in the School of Medicine or School of Nursing. Current deadline (see request for proposals):  extended to April 6, 2015.  Program contact: Dr. Greg Fralish (982-6829;

Thelma R. Swortzel Collaborative Research Award (SOM).  This program, initiated in 2004, provides support for innovative research collaborations in the areas of ear, eye, heart, or cancer. Its goal is to support collaborative research that is translational, addresses unmet clinical needs, and leads to improvements in health care.  Most recent deadline (see previous RFP):  May 16, 2014.  Program contact: Dr. Steven Wasserman (243-7088).  Recent awardees:

  • 2011: Jamieson Bourque (Medicine), Bijoy Kundu (Radiology) - Non-invasive detection of early metabolic remodeling in left ventricular hypertrophy
  • 2012:  Stephen Culp (Urology), Shayn Peirce-Cottler (BME) - TNF and NFkB signaling in targeted therapy resistance in renal cell carcinoma.
  • 2013:  Paula Fracasso (Medicine), Anindya Dutta (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics), and Gina Petroni (Public Health Sciences) - Tip60 as a predictor of relapse-free survival in breast cancer.
  • 2014:  Jeffrey Saucerman (BME), Zhen Yan (Medicine) - MitoTimer reporter in human fibroblasts for diagnosis of mitochondrial diseases.

Annette Lightner Research Award in Rheumatology, Autoimmune Diseases, and Arthritis
. This program supports medical research in rheumatology, autoimmune diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis (with particular interest in dermatomyositis).  Research on diabetes will not be funded by this program. Most recent deadline (see previous RFP):  June 6, 2014. Program contact: Dr. Steven Wasserman. The most recent awardees were:

  • 2012:  Brant Isakson (Molecular Physiology) - Loss of pannexin-mediated contraction of lymph vessels during rheumatoid arthritis.
  • 2013:  Owen Pornillos (Molecular Physiology) - Muscle RING finger 1 protein and muscle wasting:  structural characterization and inhibitor development
  • 2014:  Kenneth Tung (Pathology/Carter Center) - T-cell mechanism of lupus nephritis: study on genetically related autoimmune orchitis


Henry Rose Carter Research Award in Malaria or Public Health (SOM). This program, whose competitions are conducted intermittently, provides support for innovative research related to malaria or other public health problems. Proposals must have a clear link to human populations. Most recent deadline (see previous RFP):  July 31, 2013. Due its modest endowment, this award is offered every 2 - 4 years.  Program contact: Dr. Steven Wasserman.  The recent awardees were:

  • 2011: Joel Hockensmith (Biochemistry) - ADAADi: Novel antimalarials with broad implications for treatment of protozoans
  • 2013:  Christopher Moore (Medicine/ID) - Prevalence of non-Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Southwestern Uganda using PCR analysis of blood slides: a community epidemiology study


Distinguished Research Career Development Award (VPR). These awards intend to demonstrate the University’s support and commitment to outstanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) research by recognizing our most promising newly tenured faculty by funding a new opportunity or accelerating ongoing innovative research by the awardee.  Awards of $50,000 are to be spent over 2 years on equipment, personnel, or supplies.  Funds may not be used for the awardee’s salary.

Eligibility: STEM research faculty, within 3 years post-promotion to tenure, are eligible for a Distinguished Research Career Development Award.  Any unit (College, School, Department, PhD Program) or tenured faculty member can nominate the candidate. The nomination will remain active through the applicant’s 3rd post-tenure year. A faculty member can receive the award only once.

The proposed research must have potential to make significant impact and enhance the scholarly profile of the awardee and the University of Virginia.  Note:  This program is temporarily on-hold. Please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research if you have questions.

Distinguished Research Award (VPR). These awards intend to demonstrate the University’s support and commitment to outstanding science, technology, engineering and math research by recognizing our most promising and creative new full professors. The award will fund a significant, new research opportunity for the Awardee. The VPR anticipates 1-3 awards annually, corresponding to ~15% of the annual professorial promotion pool.  The award of $150,000 over 3 years to be spent on equipment, personnel, or supplies.  Funds may not be used for the awardee’s salary.

Eligibility: STEM research faculty, within 4 years of their promotion to full professor, are eligible for the Distinguished Research Award.  Any unit (College, School, Department, PhD Program) or full professor can nominate the candidate. The nomination will remain active through the applicant’s 4th year subsequent to promotion to professor. A faculty member can receive the Award only once.  Note:  This program is temporarily on-hold. Please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research if you have questions.

Academy of Distinguished Educators grants in undergraduate medical education research (SOM). These awards are designed to stimulate medical education research by SOM faculty. Quantitative and qualitative research projects are appropriate, as are meta-analyses of the medical education research literature.

Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership (Biomedical Engineering). The Coulter Foundation award supports collaborative research projects that address unmet clinical needs and lead to improvements in health care and commercial products. The program requires that one collborating investigator be on BME faculty, the other a clinician. Examples of desirable outcomes include improved diagnosis and treatment of disease through inventions and patents, commercial products, commercial partnerships, licenses and start-up companies. Awarded project teams benefit from the participation of a Project Director and board of advisors. Both short-term and long-term projects are eligible. The current cycle ( see announcement) had a pre-proposal deadline of April 18, 2014.  Program contact: David Chen.

Ivy Biomedical Innovation Fund. The Biomedical Innovation Fund was created by The Ivy Foundation to support biomedical innovation and translational research projects at the University of Virginia. The program expects to make 4-7 awards averaging $50,000 - $75,000 each for 12 months, although the award size is flexible and will be commensurate with the project stage and goals and may range from $30,000 to $100,000. To generate especially novel and compelling ideas, we encourage projects that involve faculty co-investigators from multiple departments, schools, or specialties at UVA. Proposals also are welcomed from individual investigators or teams from single departments that are appropriate for a given innovation project.  See the most recent RFP (deadline:  September 30, 2013) for additional details on the program.

UVA Cancer Center - American Cancer Society Institutional Award program. Supports the development of newly independent investigators to conduct cancer research including basic, translational and psychosocial and behavioral research, and cancer care in the economically disadvantaged. PI eligibility: may be U.S. citizens or noncitizen nationals of the U.S. or have been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence; must be within 6 years of their first independent research or faculty appointment. Senior investigators, postdoctoral fellows, and investigators currently supported with national research awards are not eligible. However, investigators whose initial grant was not renewed and are still at level of assistant professor and within 6 years of their first appointment may apply. Awards of up to $30,000 are made. Program contact: Dr. Timothy Bender.  See application and instructions for the program.  Most recent deadline:  December 16, 2013.

UVA Cancer Center - funding for basic, translational, and clinical pilot research projects. The Cancer Center announced a program to support new initiatives and infrastructure in basic, translational, and clinical cancer research.  Cancer Center members of any rank (Full Members or Associate Members) are eligible to apply.  New and second year renewal applications will be accepted.  Support typically is in the range of $20-50,000 for one year, renewable for a second year, based on a review of progress. Higher funding levels (up to $100,000/year) would be appropriate in selected circumstances:

  • Multi-investigator proposals.
  • Clinical trials.
  • Instrumentation or infrastructure.
  • Proposals in targeted areas where dedicated funds are available: lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer.

Because a major goal of this initiative is to provide seed funds that will lead to external grant support, it is appropriate to apply for funding of research that has been peer-reviewed but was scored near the pay line.  In those circumstances, provide all critiques/summary statements and scores and an explicit description of how the proposed research improve a subsequent application.  Letters of Intent (LOIs) were due most recently on December 21, 2012.  LOI format:  no more than one page in length; and NIH-style biosketch of all the principal investigators on the project, submitted as a single PDF to both Michael Weber ( and Dina Gould Halme (

Full application format:  abstract of no more than 250 words; narrative no more than five pages in length; budget, budget justification, biosketch, complete Other Support information (PHS 398 format); "lay description" of the research project of approximately 150-250 words.

Private funding sources

The Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust provides one-year pilot funding up to $100,000 for studies that encourage the development of innovative interdisciplinary strategies that integrate computational and quantitative scientific methodologies across a broad range of scientific disciplines.  Medical school faculty may not serve as PI, but may serve as co-investigators on Jeffress grants.  (Supported areas for the PI include astronomy, biosciences, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, material science, mathematics, and physics.)  Most recent submission deadline:  January 14, 2014.

The Health System Development Office has subscribed to The Foundation Directory Online, which contains funding opportunities from thousands of foundations. Searching requires the assistance of a librarian. Please speak with Dr. Steven Wasserman (, 924-8789) to request a search.

Other private funding sources can be found using search engines such as the Foundation Center, SPIN, or GrantsNet.

Commonwealth of Virginia funding sources

Commonwealth Health Research Board. The CHRB funds "research to advance the understanding of biological systems, to improve the treatment and control of human disease, and to improve human health services and the delivery of human health care." Awards of up to $200,000 ($100,000 per year) may be funded. Program guidelines usually are released in August, with concept papers due at the end of September. Investigators whose pre-proposals that are accepted will be asked to submit full proposals the following February. Final decisions are made in May. There is a limit of 15 applications per institution. Please notify Dr. Jeffrey Plank (Associate VP for Research) of your desire to submit a CHRB proposal. Most recent CHRB awards to UVA faculty:

  • Stuart Berr (Radiology):  Development of biomarkers that target tumor associated macrophages.


Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation. The VTSF was created after the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between 46 state Attorneys General and the four largest U.S. tobacco manufacturers. The Commonwealth of Virginia allocated 10% of these funds to the VTSF, which awards collaborative grants for research on and prevention of tobacco use.

Federal funding sources

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds investigator-initiated research projects, coordinated program projects, multi-center basic, clinical, and translational research projects, training grants, research contracts, and other programs. The following links are useful in negotiating the funding opportunities at NIH Institutes and Centers:

  • NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) is the central site for information on NIH grant funding opportunities, application procedures, and research policies.
  • NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts contains grant and contract funding opportunities and notices affecting research. The site offers a search engine, e-mail
    delivery of the Guide
    , and a list of currently active Program Announcements, Requests for Proposals, and Requests for Applications (RFAs).
  • is the federal government's repository for finding and applying for most grants and contracts.
  • NIH Shared Instrumentation Grants (SIGs) are awarded by the National Center for Research Resources. Proposed equipment ($100,000 to $600,000) must be used by no fewer than three NIH-funded investigators, who together will utilize at least 75% of available use time. Applications are due in March. The High-End Instrumentation Grant Program funds items costing $750,000 to $2,000,000.
  • NIH training and career development programs (F-, T-, and K-series awards) support students, fellows, and junior to senior faculty, fostering the development of skills as independent investigators or a change in one's area of research.
    • Individual National Research Service Awards fund postdoctoral training (F32) and senior fellowships (F33). The latter support individuals with at least 7 years of relevant research or professional experience since receiving their doctoral degree, who have established an independent research career, and who are seeking support for retraining or additional career development. F30 (for minority students) and F31 awards (for students with disabilities) support pre-doctoral studies.
    • Career Development Awards provide multi-year support for faculty in various stages of their careers. NIH provides a Career Award Wizard that helps investigators select among the various career development opportunities. Not all NIH Institutes support each career development program: please contact the appropriate individual at your target Institute before applying. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has published a model K08 proposal on its web site. The Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) provides up to two years of postdoctoral support followed by up to three years of early faculty support, with the aim of bringing the recipient to the point of the submission of competitive grant proposals to support his/her research career.
    • Institutional National Research Service Awards (T-series) provide short- and long-term support for pre- or post-doctoral trainees in a defined didactic or research-based program. The Graduate Programs Office can provide data required in such applications.
  • NIH small business opportunities. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program represents a defined percentage of each federal agency's extramural research budget; the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program is somewhat smaller. See our guidance document on SBIR and STTR awards.

  • NIH loan repayment program. This program is designed to attract health professionals into clinical research by providing up to $35K annually in repayment of educational loans for individuals who expend at least 50% effort for two years. For additional information, consult NIH web sites providing general information and eligibility requirements.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awards grants and contracts to expand and improve primary health care for medically underserved people, health services for people with HIV/AIDS, maternal/child health, health professions training and education, rural health, telemedicine, and organ donation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awards grants and contracts in public health, epidemiology, immunization, and related areas.

National Science Foundation awards grants and contracts in science and engineering, accounting for about 20 percent of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

Department of Defense. The Army ( U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity) publishes annual Broad Agency Announcement and Program Assistance Announcements (PAAs), funding grants and contracts. Certain areas are funded under Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, including ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis, and bone marrow failure. The Navy (Office of Naval Research) offers University Research Initiative programs that include remote sensing, human performance, vaccines, etc. DOD maintains a forms web site.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently has funded UVA projects in the areas of regenerative medicine, protein crystallography, and cell culture.

The Department of Homeland Security provides funding for a wide variety of projects such as threat detection, development of community preparedness models, and so on.

Search engines for research opportunities

SPIN: InfoEd International's database of federal and private funding sources allows users to store complex searches for later use.  Recommendations:  use its Advanced Search function; use drop-down lists when offered, rather than typing in search terms.

Foundation Center: Not-for-profit sponsors and requests for proposals.  This subscription service requires assistance by the Foundation and Corporate Relations Office (Health System Development).  Please contact Dr. Steven Wasserman ( in the Office for Research if you wish to have a search conducted. Search for federal grant and contract opportunities.

FedBizOpps : Information on federal government contracts.

GrantsNet (from the AAAS): Search for funding opportunities for training in the sciences (e.g., postdocs) and for undergraduate science education.

Funding and other resources for individual postdoctoral fellows

Three general resources for postdoctoral fellows:

  • UVA Postdoctoral Office (Vice President for Research & Graduate Studies). Provides information on internal funding sources, benefits, training in English as a second language and writing, seminar series, professional development, and more. The site includes a postdoctoral handbook describing stipends, benefits, etc.
  • National Postdoctoral Association. Statistics and comparative policies from academic institutions, information on career development and for international scholars, etc.
  • "Making the Right Moves" (Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Howard Hughes Medical Institute) covers topics as diverse as negotiating one's contract, structure of academic institutions, staffing a research group, time and project management, etc. A must-read for postdoctoral fellows and new faculty.


Foundations and professional organizations. Many foundations and professional organizations support postdoctoral fellowships in basic or clinical research. Discuss such opportunities with your research mentor. Information on individual foundations can be obtained from search engines such as SPIN.

Federal sources. Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows (NIH F32 awards) provide support of up to three years for U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. The National Science Foundation administers a Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biological Informatics program.