Call for Proposals: HSCI Seed Grant 2016

December 17, 2015

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) invites applications for seed grant funding for its 
2016 cycle. The purpose of this program is to provide early funding for innovative projects in the field of stem cell & regenerative biology. While proposals at all stages of development are welcome, this year the HSCI strongly encourages proposals with either a translational or clinical focus. This seed grant cycle, the HSCI intends to award up to ten grants, contingent upon the number and quality of the applications received, as well as the availability of HSCI funds.

In determining whether a proposal falls into the translational/clinical science (as opposed to basic science) category, please consider the focus of your proposal. In general, translational/clinical proposals are those which aim at:

  • Producing new therapies and/or therapeutic products (e.g. cellular products, large/small molecules, biomaterials, etc.), or
  • Discovering the mechanisms, pathways, or models underlying such therapies/therapeutic products, or
  • Manufacturing and testing stem cell-based therapies using studies designed to fulfill all applicable institutional, state, and federal regulatory requirements.

Any seed grants awarded during this cycle will be funded at up to $50,000 in total costs (including indirect costs, maximum 20% of total direct costs-basis) per yearfor a period not to exceed two years. 

Basic-science proposals will not be reviewed separately from those with a translational/clinical focus. All proposals will be reviewed by the HSCI Executive Committee.

The HSCI reserves the right to not award any seed grants this application cycle.

APPLICATION DUE DATE: Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Eligibility Criteria

All researchers working the field of stem cell and regenerative biology are welcome to apply, especially junior investigators and/or investigators who are new to the field. In order to receive an HSCI seed grant, a researcher must meet all of the following criteria (as verified by a research/finance administrator at the applicant’s home institution):

1. Have Principal Investigator status at their home institution
2. Have independent laboratory space assigned to them in their own name
3. Have independent funding sources in their own name (i.e. start-up funds or sponsored awards)
4. Have any necessary approvals for applicant’s proposed research in place no later than May 1st, 2016.


Applications for projects with co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs) are permitted (see “FAQs” for details). If a proposal has co-PIs, both PIs must meet all of the eligibility criteria listed above. 

PIs who are the prior recipients of two or more HSCI seed grant awards are not eligible to apply.


In order to be considered for a 2016 HSCI seed grant, an applicant must submit a proposal containing the following required elements:

1.   Research Proposal (max. 3 pgs., not including references, with pages numbered)
  • Project title, Name of PI and PI’s home institution
  • Lay abstract (2,500 characters, incl. spaces, maximum)
  • Background
  • Rationale
  • Specific Aims
  • Preliminary Studies (if applicable)
2.   Budget
  • HSCI budget template preferred (template available upon request)
  • Total annual project costs may not exceed $50,000, including indirect costs
  • Indirect costs may not exceed 20% (total direct cost-basis, pursuant to applicant’s home institution’s policies)
3.   Budget Justification/Narrative (max. 1 pg.)
  • Justify all proposed budget items at the line-item level of detail
  • Describe effort committed by all personnel on budget, even if no salary requested. 
  • PI is required to commit effort on the project.
4.   PI Biographical Sketch (max. 2 pgs.)
  • NIH format
  • List recent financial support, especially if directly applicable to the proposed project
  • May include up to 10 listings of recent/relevant publications
  • Include biosketches for any co-PIs (2 pgs. max per co-PI)         
5.   Letter(s) of Institutional Support/Letter(s) of Intent
  • Must be signed by an authorized institutional representative (as determined by applicant’s home institution’s policies for research proposal submission) as confirmation that the home institution has reviewed and approved the proposed scope and budget; upload PDF of signed document
  • Letter(s) of institutional support from the institution(s) of any co-PI(s) (if co-PIs have same home institution, only one letter of institutional support required)
6. Appendices (optional)
  • Applicant may include, as appendices, 1 copy each of no more than 2 relevant publications. 

Submission Process

The 2016 HSCI Seed Grant application can be found at: 

Applicants must complete the on-line application by the proposal deadline.

  • Complete all required fields
  • Upload all proposal documents as required in PDF format; proposal materials should be ordered according to the proposal requirement order listed above
  • Select the <Submit> button by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, January 31st, 2016.
  • You will receive an e-mail confirmation of your submission; save this e-mail for your records. 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.  

Applications will be reviewed by the HSCI Executive Committee in February with final selections made by the HSCI Executive Committee in March.  All applicants will be notified of the outcome of the review process by April. Successful applicants will be issued a seed grant with a funding start date of May 1st, 2016.

Review Criteria

The goal of HSCI is to improve human health by supporting basic, translational or clinical work in any field of stem cell biology.  Factors for reviewers’ consideration include: scientific quality, relevance to the HSCI mission, career development and recruitment/retention, value for money, potential to promote collaboration and regulatory issues.

The HSCI Review Committee will evaluate proposals primarily for their potential to advance these goals.  HSCI will also consider the availability of alternative funding sources, the potential to promote collaborative research, particularly between institutions, and the likelihood that seed funding will help leverage future funding from public, philanthropic or commercial sources. 


Questions about the HSCI Seed Grant Program may be addressed to Robert Perez, HSCI Grants Officer, at (617) 496-5295 or


Thank you for your interest in the HSCI.