Call for Proposals: HSCI Skin Program 2020 Incubator Awards

March 23, 2020

Award amount

$50,000 per project per year for one year

Posted Date

Monday, February 10, 2020 | Updated March 23, 2020

Deadline for application

Friday, May 1, 2020

Anticipated award date

Tuesday, September 1, 2020* (*disbursement of funds may be delayed by COVID-19-related disruptions)


The mission of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute is to find cures for human diseases. Through collaborative research in the fields of stem cell and regenerative biology, we seek to:

  • Stimulate healing in patients by harnessing the potential of stem cells
  • Create targeted treatments by combining new gene- and cell-based therapies with traditional medicines
  • Accelerate drug discovery by developing novel stem cell-based tools. 

To advance this mission, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) invites applications for its 2020 Skin Program Incubator Awards with a focus on skin cancer stem cell biology. The purpose of this program is to catalyze innovative and interdisciplinary research in early stages of development focused on the pathobiology of skin cancer stem cells and designed to provide a foundation of more substantial initiatives at R01 and P01 levels

Any Incubator 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 one year. 

All proposals will be reviewed by the HSCI Skin Program leadership and delegated impartial experts with input from the HSCI Skin Program Advisory Board.

The HSCI reserves the right to not award any Incubator Awards in the 2020 cycle.

Application due date: Friday, May 1, 2020

Eligibility criteria

All investigators working in the field of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard and its affiliated institutions are welcome to apply. Investigators need not already be faculty of HSCI. In order to be awarded an Incubator 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. institutional start-up funds or sponsored awards).
  •  Have any necessary approvals for proposed research in place no later than August 31, 2020.

Proposals for projects may include collaborating investigators.  Both PIs must meet all of the eligibility criteria listed above. 

Application requirements and 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. Proposal title, PI(s) name(s), PI(s) home institution(s).
    2. Abstract (lay-oriented language, 2,500 characters, incl. spaces, max.).
  2. Research Proposal (3pgs. max., with pages numbered)*
    1. Background/Rationale.
    2. Specific research aims.
    3. Preliminary studies (if applicable).
    4. Statement about the translational aspect of the research and how the collaboration will be managed.
    • Pages listing references do NOT count against 3 pg. limit.
  3.  Annual Budget Pages
    1. Total annual costs may not exceed $50,000, including indirect costs.
    2. Indirect costs may not exceed 20% of total direct costs.
    3. For proposals 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 this Incubator Award.
    • Travel may not exceed $1k.
    • HSCI budget template strongly encouraged. (click here for template)
  4. Budget Justification (1 pg. max.)
    1. Justify all proposed budget items at the line-item level of detail.
    2. Describe effort committed by all personnel on budget, even if no salary called.
  5.  PI Biosketch (2 pgs. max. per biosketch)
    1. NIH format.
    2. List recent financial support and indicate if directly applicable to the proposed project.
    3. May include up to 10 listings of recent/relevant publications.
    • Include biosketches for any co-PIs or co-I.
  6. Letter of Institutional Review & Approval
    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)
    1. One copy each of no more than two relevant publications may be attached to the proposal.

Please use 11-point font with at least 0.5” margins.

Submission process

The 2020 HSCI Skin Program Incubator Awards application may be found at:

The application accommodates up to two collaborating PIs. Please notify Robert Perez if you are submitting a project with more than 2 PIs.

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 Friday, May 1, 2020.
  • 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 Skin Program faculty leadership in May, and all applicants will be notified of the outcome of the review process by early August. Successful applicants will be issued an Incubator Award with a funding start date of September 1, 2020*.

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 for this award will include the relevance of the project to skin stem cells as they relate to cancer causation and/or cancer virulence.

The HSCI Skin Program will evaluate proposals primarily for their potential to advance these goals. However, the HSCI will also consider the potential of each proposal to develop into larger, independently-funded collaborative projects (individual and multi-PI R01 grants, P01/PPG grants, etc.), or to secure follow-on funding from public, philanthropic, or commercial sources. 


Questions about the HSCI Skin Program Incubator Awards may be addressed to Robert Perez, HSCI Grants Officer, at

Thank you for your interest in the HSCI.

*Disbursement of funds may be delayed due to COVID-19-related disruptions.


2020_skin_program_incubator_awards_updated_3-23-2020.pdf253 KB