Submitting PIs:


  • Sara Rouhanifard 
  • Safa Jamali
  • Internal: 07/09/2019
  • Proposal: 08/02/2019


  • Amount: $100,000 per year inclusive of 5% overhead
  • Duration: 3 years


For the past 26 years, the Smith Family Foundation has been supporting groundbreaking medical research through the Smith Family Awards Program for Excellence in Biomedical Research. Its mission is to launch the careers of newly independent biomedical researchers with the ultimate goal of achieving medical breakthroughs. Applications focus on all fields of basic biomedical science and may also be submitted by investigators in physics, chemistry and engineering.

Since 1992, the Program has funded 169 scientists for a total investment of $34.7 million.

The three-year Award supports newly independent faculty engaged in basic biomedical research. Investigators in the physical sciences (physics, chemistry and engineering) whose projects focus on biomedical science are also encouraged to apply. Clinical research is beyond the scope of this Program.

In recognition of the importance of research collaboration within the scientific community, collaboration is an additional, but not required, positive ancillary factor. These projects may involve researchers within and/or outside the applicant’s institution.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

Applicants must be nominated by their institutions. Up to two applications are allowed per college (COS, COE, BCHS). If you are interested in applying, please contact Karen Drew (x4824) as soon as possible and submit a CV and a 2-page pre-proposal following guidelines provided in Procedure for Programs with Limited Submissions.


  • United States citizenship is not required.
  • Applications will be accepted from full-time faculty who have received or will receive their first independent faculty appointment on or between July 1, 2017 and December 1, 2019.
    For the purpose of this Award, the first independent faculty appointment is the first faculty appointment after completing either postdoctoral fellowship training (for PhDs) or an ACGMEcertified subspecialty training program, or equivalent (for MDs and MD, PhDs).
  • If an Applicant has been on medical or family leave, or if research was interrupted for other reasons, this period of absence does not count towards eligibility. Please address any gaps in work history in the Personal Statement on the Biosketch. The Department or Division Chair’s letter must also confirm the leave of absence as well as applicant eligibility.
  • All applicants must have completed their postdoctoral training by the funding start date of December 1, 2019.
  • Applicants are ineligible if, at the time of application, they have combined federal and non-federal funding totaling $500,000 or more in direct costs in either of the first two years (12/1/19 – 11/30/20 or 12/1/20 – 11/30/21) of the three-year Smith Award. This figure refers to external funding only and not an Applicant’s start-up package, other intramural support or the Smith Award.
  • Applicants are also ineligible if they were previously or are currently a Principal Investigator or Co-P.I. on an R01, P01, Pioneer Award, New Innovator Award or similar large awards from other federal agencies or national foundations.
  • Applicants who have pending R01s or other large applications to the NIH and other agencies are encouraged to submit proposals to the Smith Family Foundation. Please see FOA for full details.
  • The Applicant’s level of independence is critical. The Department or Division Chair’s letter must be very clear about the Applicant’s autonomy. Space, start-up package, and institutional commitment will be used in evaluating independence. Although it is expected that a national search will have been conducted for this position, candidates may have been promoted within their current institutions. If the Applicant was promoted internally, the Chair must clarify why a national search was not conducted.

Contact Information

Lindsey Phelan, MA
Grants Officer, The Medical Foundation