Call for Proposals: 2017-2018 HSCI Blood Program Pilot Grants

October 20, 2017

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Blood Program invites applications for its 2017-2018 Pilot Grant cycle. The purpose of this funding program is to provide resources for projects in the field of blood stem cell biology with a basic, translational, or clinical research focus. HSCI is seeking to fund groundbreaking, innovative, high-impact research projects that could fundamentally enhance biomedical research in the field. Of particular interest to HSCI at this time is research that has relevance to understanding blood stem cell self-renewal at a molecular level, both for manipulating stem cell production and function, as well as understanding abnormalities in cancer stem cells in order to develop novel therapies. As such, some priority will be placed on research submitted for pilot grant funding with translatability to the clinic. This may take many forms, and does not require human subjects research. However, thought should be given as to how funds will be ultimately utilized to develop new therapies.

Both single and multi-investigator, multi-institution proposals are welcome.

  • Single investigator projects will be funded at a maximum of $80,000 for one year or $40,000 per year over two years, including 20% indirect costs.
  • Multi-investigator projects may include thematically related sub-projects at the same or different institutions and will be funded at a maximum of $120,000 for one year or $60,000 per year over two years (including indirect costs).

The number of pilot grants awarded will depend on available funds, the number and quality of proposals submitted, and the number of individual versus collaborative projects in the applicant pool. HSCI reserves the right not to fund any projects for the 2017-2018 pilot grant cycle. Applicants may request up to two years of funding. Decisions on the duration and level of funding will ultimately be made by the HSCI Executive Committee, taking into consideration advice from an ad hoc committee appointed to review all pilot grant applications. For any multi-year project selected for funding, the second year of support is contingent upon demonstration of sufficient progress in the first year and the approval of the HSCI Executive Committee.

It is understood that any tool or reagent generated as a result of funding via the HSCI Blood Program will be shared with the wider HSCI community.

Eligibility Criteria

These pilot grants are targeted to members of the Harvard community with Principal Investigator (PI) status. Only individuals with PI status at their home institution, independent laboratory space, and prior independent funding sources in their own name (such as start-up funds or sponsored awards, verified by a home institution research/finance administrator) are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to excellent projects from PIs not currently funded by HSCI.

You must also have HSCI Principal or Affiliate Faculty status before you submit a proposal. To apply for HSCI Affiliate Faculty membership, simply email your CV with a statement of your research interests to Dr. Jordan Kreidberg at The review and approval process may take a few days to a week, so it is advisable to send the email to Dr. Kreidberg as soon as possible.

Application Process

All applications must contain the following:

1. Proposal Cover page (1/3 pg.)

  • Include PI and institution name(s).
  • Abstract summarizing key points of proposal in lay language (1/3 pg. max.).

2. Research Proposal (for single-PI proposals max. 2 pages, including references; for multi-PI proposals max. 1 page per sub-project, including references)

  • Provide background and rationale.
  • Describe specific aims.
  • Explain key risks and plans to mitigate.
  • List references.

3. Biographical sketch of applicant (standard NIH 5-page format)

  • Submit a biosketch for each PI.

4. Other support (NIH format, current and pending)

  • Highlight support relevant to the proposed project.
  • No page limit.

5. While not required at time of submission, a Budget, Budget justification/narrative, and Letter of institutional support will be required if proposal is selected for funding.

  • You will be asked to submit a budget, budget justification/narrative, and letter of institutional support by Friday, January 5, 2018 if your proposal is selected for funding.
  • Please contact Karin Lee at or (617) 495-4388 if you have questions regarding the budget, budget justification, and/or letter of institutional support in advance of the selection of proposals.


  • Letters of recommendation are not necessary.
  • Papers in press can be included in the references and submitted with the proposal.

Submission Process

Round 1: Please send requirements #1-4: Proposal Cover page, Proposal, Biographical sketch, and Other support) by email to no later than 5:00PM Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.

Round 2: Applicants of selected proposals will be invited (by Monday, December 11, 2017) to pitch their proposals in person to the reviewers through an 8-minute chalk talk on Monday, December 18, 2017 at 3:30-5:30PM in CLS 421 (Center for Life Sciences, 3 Blackfan Circle, Room 421, Boston, MA 02115). Please save this date, time, and location on your calendars in the event that your proposal is selected.

Review Criteria

A key goal of the HSCI is to improve human health by supporting basic, translational or clinical work in blood stem cell biology. Factors for reviewers' consideration include: scientific quality; relevance to the HSCI mission; and the project's potential to open new areas of thought and investigation.

Faculty reviewers will independently evaluate the proposals primarily for their potential to advance these goals. They will also consider the availability of alternative funding sources and the potential to promote future collaborative research, particularly between institutions. Recommendations from the reviewers will be sent to the HSCI Executive Committee for final decision.


Questions regarding the Blood Program Pilot Grants may be addressed to Karin Lee, Program Development Director, at (617) 495-4388 or

Summary Timeline

  • Proposal with Cover page, Biographical sketch, and Other support due date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 5:00PM
  • Notification of invitation to proposal pitch event: Monday, December 11, 2017
  • Proposal pitch event (save the date): Monday, December 18, 2017 at 3:30-5:30PM
  • Review outcome notification: Friday, January 5, 2018
  • Budget, Budget justification/narrative, and Letter of institutional support for selected proposals due date: Monday, February 5, 2018 at 5:00PM
  • Award start date: March 1, 2018

Thank you for your interest in HSCI.

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