2014 Awards
Research Starter Grants
Informatics > 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 "starter" aspect of the program strives to assist those individuals who are establishing careers as independent investigators in the field of informatics. 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.

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

The areas of interest within this program consist of research that supports the career development of scientists engaged in innovative computational and experimental research to integrate cutting-edge information technology with advanced biological, chemical, and pharmacological sciences in:


    Medical (human)




Biological pathways

This program is not designed to provide support for the application of standard informatics packages to experimental biology or medicine.
Preference will be given to those individuals whose research combines the application of novel computational methods together with experimental validation.
Emphasis will be placed on the development of new informatics technologies that facilitate the translation of data into an elucidation and understanding of human biological and disease processes.  In addition, this program extends this emphasis to include the applicant's identification and proposed solution to address unmet clinical needs. Preference will be given to those individuals whose research combines novel computational methods together with experimental validation.  
For applications to be considered, proposals must contain innovative informatics components and not solely apply bioinformatic methodologies to experimental data analysis. 
The use of non-human model systems must be described in terms of its relationship to human biology and disease.
It is highly recommended (but not required) that before preparing an application to the PhRMA Foundation's Informatics program, that a letter of intent which includes a one-page abstract of the overall program, be submitted to assess suitability of the proposal.
The program provides a research grant of $100,000 for one year. 

Research projects that extend or develop the proprietary value of specific drug products are not acceptable in this program. This exclusion does not preclude research in which specific drug products are used to test hypotheses that have a general applicability.
Applications, however good, which do not meet the aims of the program will not be considered.


The funds have limited restrictions - a characteristic of the program. In an effort to gain the maximum usefulness, some guidelines are in order. The funds may not be used for salary support of the grantee, but may be used 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.  No more than $1,500 a year may be used for travel to professional meetings by the grantee. Indirect costs are not provided to the institution, and grant funds may not be used for this purpose.


Those holding the academic rank of Assistant Professor (or Research Assistant Professor) within a tenure track (or Research track) appointment, i.e. not Instructor, 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.
Exceptions to this would require written support from the Department Chairman that the award of this Research Starter Grant would promote the Instructor into a regular tenure or research track appointment with opportunity for promotion within the track.
The program is not intended for those in postdoctoral training programs. However, individuals in postdoctoral training scheduled to conclude and who will hold an academic appointment by January 1, 2015 may apply. Applicants must be sponsored by the department or unit in 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.

Applications must be submitted by an accredited U.S. school, and all applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applications are to be submitted via the Foundation website and received by September 1, 2014.  Applications will not be accepted after the deadline date.

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 funds are not transferable. 

These grants will begin on January 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. 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 works 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
10. Reprints
Copies of relevant articles published by the applicant.




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