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Foundation Sponsored Funding

The University of Utah Foundation Relations program can help build a relationship between you and potential private funding partners. Our team can advise on strategic approaches, arrange visits, review draft proposals and help translate ideas into fundable projects or programs. Please contact Lynn Marsella Wong if you are interested in applying for an opportunity listed below. You may also find additional funding opportunities on the foundation relations website.

Spencer Foundation Welcomes LOIs for Racial Equity Special Research Grants
Deadline: December 15, 2020
Amount: up to $75,000

In honor of its fiftieth Anniversary, the Chicago-based Spencer Foundation has launched a Racial Equity Special Research Grants program to support education research projects that can contribute to understanding and ameliorating racial inequality in education. The foundation is interested in funding studies aimed at understanding and disrupting the reproduction and deepening of educational inequality in education, and that seek to remake and imagine anew forms of equitable education. It is also interested in research projects that aim to reimagine educational opportunities in a multiplicity of education systems, levels, settings, and developmental ranges and that reach beyond documenting conditions and paradigms that contribute to persistent racial inequalities. The foundation’s goal for the program is to support rigorous, intellectually ambitious, and technically sound research that is relevant to the most pressing questions and compelling opportunities in relation to racial equity in education. As with other Spencer Foundation grant programs, the program is "field-initiated" in that proposal submissions are not required to be developed around a particular research topic, discipline, design, method, or geographic location. The foundation will accept applications for projects ranging from one to five years and with budgets of up to $75,000.

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McKnight Foundation: Neuroscience Scholar Awards
Deadline: January 4, 2021
Up to $225,000 over three years

The Scholar Awards program is a component of the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, which supports innovative research designed to bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain and behavior can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated. To that end, the program seeks to support promising young investigators in the early stages of an independent research career working on a critical problem in brain science. Up to six scholars will receive an award of $75,000 a year for up to three years in support of research with the potential to have immediate, significant impact on clinically relevant issues. Funds may be used in any way that facilitates the development of the scholar’s research program. To be eligible, applicants must have an MD, PhD, or other suitable doctorate; a full-time appointment at the rank of assistant professor (and have served in that position for less than four years); and, if not a citizen of the United States, documentation that the sponsoring institution has government approval for him/her to work in the United States.

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William T. Grant Foundation: Research Grants on Improving the Use of Research Evidence
Deadline: Letter of Intent Due January 13, 2021
Grant Amount: Major research grants range between $100,000 and $1,000,000. Officers’ research grants for smaller projects range from $5,000 to $50,000.

The William T. Grant Foundation seeks studies that identify, build, and test strategies to enhance the use of research evidence in ways that benefit youth – especially improving the use of research evidence by state and local decision makers, mid-level managers, and intermediaries. Some investigators will focus on the strategies, relationships, and other supports needed for policy and practice organizations to use research more routinely and constructively. Others may investigate structures and incentives within the research community to encourage deep engagement with decision makers. Still other researchers may examine activities that help findings inform policy ideas, shape practice responses, and improve systems. The Foundation welcomes ideas from social scientists across a range of disciplines, fields, and methodologies that can advance their own disciplines and fields and reveal insights about ways to improve the production and use of research evidence. Measures also are needed to capture changes in the nature and degree of research use. They welcome investigations about research use in various systems, including justice, child welfare, mental health, and education.

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William T. Grant Foundation: Research Grants on Reducing Inequality
Deadline: Letter of Intent Due January 13, 2021
Grant Amount: Major research grants range between $100,000 and $600,000. Officers’ research grants for smaller projects range from $5,000 to $50,000. 

The William T. Grant Foundation seeks studies that aim to build, test, or increase understanding of programs, policies, or practices to reduce inequality in the academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes of young people. The Foundation prioritizes studies about reducing inequality on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origins. Proposals for studies are evaluated based on their fit with our interests in reducing inequality; the strength and feasibility of their designs, methods, and analyses; their potential to inform change; and their contribution to theory and empirical evidence. Across all of their programs, the Foundation strives to support a diverse group of researchers in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and seniority, and encourages research projects led by African American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian Pacific American researchers.

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Whitehall Foundation: Research Grants and Grants-in-Aid
Deadline: January 15, 2021
Up to $75,000


The Whitehall Foundation funds scholarly research in the life sciences. It is the Foundation's policy to assist those dynamic areas of basic biological research that are not heavily supported by Federal Agencies or other foundations with specialized missions. The Foundation emphasizes the support of young scientists at the beginning of their careers and productive senior scientists who wish to move into new fields of interest.  The Foundation does not award funds to investigators who have substantial existing or potential support, even if it is for an unrelated purpose.  The Foundation is currently interested in basic research in neurobiology, defined as follows: invertebrate and vertebrate (excluding clinical) neurobiology, specifically investigations of neural mechanisms involved in sensory, motor, and other complex functions of the whole organism as these relate to behavior. The overall goal should be to better understand behavioral output or brain mechanisms of behavior. The Foundation does not support research focused primarily on disease(s) unless it will also provide insights into normal functioning.

Two types of awards are currently available: research grants and grants-in-aid. Research grants of up to three years (with the potential of a renewal grant of up to two years) normally range from $30,000 to $75,000 per year. The Grants-in-Aid program is designed for researchers at the assistant professor level who experience difficulty in competing for research funds because they have not yet become firmly established. Grants-in-Aid can also be made to senior scientists. Grants-in-Aid are awarded for a one-year period and do not exceed $30,000.

Applicants should be an Assistant Professor (or higher), hold Principal Investigator status, and be considered an “independent investigator” with their own dedicated lab space.

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The New York Stem Cell Foundation:  Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Award
February 17, 2021
Grant Amount: $1.5 Million over 5 years

NYSCF is soliciting applications from early career investigators for Innovator Awards to be used for exploring the basic biology and translational potential of stem cells. The goal of this initiative is to foster bold and innovative scientists with the potential to transform the field of stem cell research, and advance understanding and use of stem cells in the development of treatments for human disease. New this year, NYSCF has a renewed focus on supporting scientists who have just started their independent laboratories and strongly encourages candidates seeking to secure their first major grant funding as an independent investigator.

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Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund/Simons Foundation: Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience
February 15, 2021
Amount: $225,000 over 3 years

The Klingenstein-Simons Neuroscience Fellowship supports innovative research by early career investigators. The research should have relevance for understanding the mechanisms underlying any of a wide range of neurological and behavioral disorders, and may lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Basic research will also be supported. Funding should seed new directions in fellows’ research programs by providing an unencumbered addition to their regular source of research support. Priority is given to candidates who may not have received substantial funding from other private awards yet have highly promising scientific careers. The Klingenstein-Simons award gives recognition to outstanding scientists who have made valuable contributions in their early research efforts, and who show the greatest promise for a successful research career.

Several areas within neuroscience are of particular interest:

- Cellular and molecular neuroscience. Studies of the mechanisms of neuronal excitability and development, and of the genetic basis of behavior.

- Neural systems. Studies of the integrative function of the nervous system.

- Translational research. Studies designed to improve our understanding of the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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The New York Stem Cell Foundation:  Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Award
Deadline: February 17, 2021
Grant Amount: $1.5 Million over 5 years

NYSCF is soliciting applications from early career investigators for awards in neuroscience. The goal of this initiative is to foster innovative scientists whose pioneering approaches have the potential to transform the field of neuroscience. Applicants are invited to apply from all fields in neuroscience in the 2021 application cycle. The foundation especially encourages applications from neuroscientists whose research is focused on human systems. This might include research using patient-derived model systems and approaches using samples or data (genomic, epidemiological, imaging, real-world data, etc.) collected from individuals or human populations. The award provides up to $1.5 million over 5 years. The award does not provide institutional overhead.

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Last Updated: 4/13/21