Call for Proposals: HSCI Seed Grants 2019

November 6, 2018

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Invites applications for seed grant funding for its 2019 cycle. The purpose of this program is to provide funding for innovative projects in the field of stem cell and regenerative biology. As was the case last year, the HSCI strongly encourages proposals with a translational focus, or which are otherwise poised to accelerate the development of new stem cell-based therapies or cures. However, proposals at all stages of development are welcome. The HSCI intends to award up to ten grants in response to this call for proposals, contingent upon the number and quality of the proposals received, as well as the availability of HSCI funds. 

As part of the application process, applicants will be asked to determine whether their proposal is either basic or translational science. In determining whether a proposal falls into either the basic or translational science category, please consider the aim(s) of your proposal. In general, proposals that fall into the category of translational science 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 year, for a period not to exceed two years. 

Basic science proposals will not be reviewed separately from proposals categorized as translational science. All proposals will be reviewed by the HSCI Executive Committee. 

The HSCI reserves the right to not award any seed grants in the 2019 cycle. 

Application Due Date: Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 

Eligibility Criteria

All investigators working in the field of stem cell and regenerative biology are welcome to apply. Junior investigators and senior investigators from outside the field of stem cell and regenerative biology are especially encouraged to apply. In order to be awarded an HSCI seed grant, an investigator must meet all of the following criteria (as verified by a research/finance administrator at the investigator’s home institution):

  • Have Principal Investigator status at their home institution 
  • Have independent laboratory space assigned to them in their own name (i.e. not assigned space via another investigator) 
  • Have independent funding sources in their own name (i.e. start-up funds or sponsored awards) 
  • Have any necessary approvals for proposed research in place no later than April 1, 2019. 

Proposals for projects with collaborating investigators (co-PIs) are permitted (see “FAQ” document for additional details). If a proposal has co-PIs, both PIs must meet all of the eligibility criteria listed above. 

Investigators who have previously received two or more HSCI seed grants are not eligible to apply. 

Application Requirements & Guidelines

All proposals submitted in response to this call for proposals must contain the following components, each of which must include the enumerated elements: 

1. Proposal Title & Abstract (1 pg. max.)

1.1. Proposal title, PI(s) name(s), PI(s) home institution(s) 

1.2. Abstract (lay-oriented language, 2,500 characters, incl. spaces, max.) 

2. Research Proposal (3pgs. max., with pages numbered)

2.1. Background/Rationale 

2.2. Specific research aims 

2.3. Preliminary studies (if applicable) 

2.4. Anticipated research milestones 

* Pages listing references do NOT count against 3 pg. limit 

3. Annual Budget Pages

3.1. Total annual costs may not exceed $50,000, including indirect costs 

3.2. Indirect costs may not exceed 20% of total direct costs 

3.3. For a collaborative proposal in which PIs have different home institutions, submit separate budgets which show the amount of funding called for each PI 

* Equipment is not allowed on HSCI seed grants 

* Travel may not exceed $1k 

* HSCI budget template strongly encouraged (template available upon call) 

4. Budget Justification (1 pg. max.)

4.1. Justify all proposed budget items at the line-item level of detail 

4.2. Describe effort committed by all personnel on budget, even if no salary called 

4.3. PI is required to commit effort on the project 

5. PI Biosketch (2 pgs. max. per biosketch)

5.1. NIH format 

5.2. List recent financial support, indicate if directly applicable to the proposed project 

5.3. May include up to 10 listings of recent/relevant publications 

* Include biosketches for any co-PIs 

6. Letter of Institutional Review & Approval

6.1. Must be signed by an authorized institutional representative (as determined by investigator’s home institution’s policies for research proposal submission) as confirmation that the home institution has reviewed and approved the research and budget 

* For a collaborative proposal in which PIs have different home institutions, a letter from each institution is required 

7. Appendices (optional)

7.1. One copy each of no more than two relevant publications may be attached to the proposal 

Submission Process 

The 2019 HSCI Seed Grant application can be found here:

Applicants must complete the online application by the submission deadline. 

  • Complete all required fields 
  • Upload all proposal documents in PDF format 
  • Proposal components should be ordered according to the order listed above 
  • Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on Monday, January 7, 2019. 
  • You will receive an email confirmation of your submission; save this email for your records 

Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Applications will be reviewed by the HSCI Executive Committee in February, and all applicants will be notified of the outcome of the review process in early March. Successful applicants will be issued a seed grant with a funding start date of April 1, 2019. 

Review Criteria 

The goal of the 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 within the HSCI community, and regulatory issues. 

The HSCI Executive Committee will evaluate proposals primarily for their potential to advance these goals. However, the HSCI will also consider the potential of the proposal to secure funding from other sources as-is, and/or the potential of the proposed research, if successful, to secure follow-on funding from public, philanthropic, or commercial sources. 


Questions about the HSCI Seed Grant Program may be addressed to Robert Perez, HSCI Grants Officer, at

Thank you for your interest in the HSCI. 


2019_seed_grant_call_for_proposals2.pdf218 KB
2019_hsci_seed_grant_faq.pdf198 KB
See also: 2018, Announcement