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Funding Opportunities

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Here you can explore various funding opportunities we learn about from industry and government that may be of interest to our Stanford researchers. See below for details on each opportunity.

In addition to these research funding opportunities, OTL is excited to announce our new High Impact Technology (HIT) Fund: HIT Fund Details

Updated periodically, so check back here for more opportunities soon!

Don't see anything of interest right now? Check the Stanford Seed Funding website and VPDoR's Propel Grants for additional funding opportunities sponsored by Stanford-associated entities.

Jump to Opportunity:

Harrington Scholar-Innovator Grant Program

Summary: This scholar award recognizes outstanding physician-scientists whose work has potential to advance standard of care. Each year up to 12 Harrington Scholar-Innovators are chosen. Unlimited numbers of applications are permitted.


Letter of intent (required) deadline: June 5, 2023

If invited to submit a full proposal:

Institutional representative (RPM/RMG) deadline:  July 31, 2023

Full proposal (by invitation only) deadline: August 7, 2023

Program Guidelines:

Scholar-Innovator Program Overview 

Program Resources (including Submission Instructions, Guidelines, FAQ, etc.)

This award includes:

  • Two-year grant
  • $100,000 guaranteed grant award
  • Opportunity to compete for acceleration funds up to $300,000
  • Opportunity to qualify for investment funds typically up to $2MM
  • A personalized team of drug developers and project manager for each award recipient
  • Expert business, commercialization and clinical development advice
  • Regulatory assistance
  • Intellectual property (IP) review and advice
  • Assistance identifying and securing additional financial support based on project needs
  • Indirect costs are not provided.


  • Stanford  physician-scientists with MD or MD/PhD degrees: faculty with PI eligibility (with UTL, UML and NTLR appts.) and CE faculty (with an approved CE faculty PI waiver obtained at least 2 weeks prior to the LOI submission).  
  • Faculty position at an accredited academic medical center, university or research institution in the US or Canada, and conduct the majority of his/her/their research at that institution
  • A project must have a single Principal Investigator (PI), who is responsible for project oversight and financial management. The PI may engage collaborators, core labs or commercial CROs to execute any portion of the project.
  • Past recipients of Harrington awards may submit new and distinct proposals, but may not seek additional support for previously funded projects.


The Harrington Scholar-Innovator award selection committee seeks breakthrough discoveries defined by innovation, creativity and potential for clinical impact, including:

  • Discoveries deemed to address unmet medical needs
  • Modulators of novel targets
  • Potential to be developed into a commercial program
  • Strong intellectual property (IP) or protection strategy
  • May be a small molecule, biologic, or other therapeutic modality
  • Diagnostics or devices only acceptable as part of a therapeutic development project

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W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program


The Research Program seeks to benefit humanity by supporting fundamental projects in two specific areas (1) medical research and (2) science and engineering, that are distinctive and novel in their approach, question the prevailing paradigm, or have the potential to break open new territory in their field. Past grants have been awarded to major universities, independent research institutions and medical schools to support pioneering biological and physical science research and engineering, including the development of promising new technologies, instrumentation, or methodologies.

Keck is interested in interdisciplinary research; thus, proposals may also come from a team of faculty across departments, disciplines, or schools. Keck is looking for “out-of-the-box” projects that push forward basic science, present unconventional approaches to intractable problems, or challenge prevailing paradigms.

Applicants should have unsuccessfully attempted to secure funding from conventional sources (National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, etc.) and be able to share formal or informal feedback indicating the breakthrough, high-risk nature of the project.. For medical research concept papers, please note that the Keck Foundation is not interested in funding disease specific projects.

  • Internal Submission Deadline: Monday, May 22, 2023
  • Foundation Deadline: Wednesday, November 1, 2023
  • Foundation Website:
  • Award Amount: up to $1 million for a period of 3-4 years
  • Limited Submission: Up to eight concept papers may be submitted to the foundation, one of which (for each program) may then be selected to advance to the Phase I application process.
  • Contact for Questions:

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) 2023 HHMI Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program  

About: this is a postdoc-to-faculty transition award for scientists from gender, racial, ethnic, and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences, including those individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. This competition is open to those dedicated to basic research from both doctoral and/or medical training paths in the biomedical and life science disciplines, including plant biology, evolutionary biology, biophysics, chemical biology, biomedical engineering, and computational biology. Fellows have freedom to change their research focus and follow their own curiosity for the duration of the award.

Purpose: The goal of the Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program is to recruit and retain individuals from gender, racial, ethnic, and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences, including those individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through their successful careers, HHMI Hanna Gray Fellows will become leaders in academic research and inspire future generations of scientists from America’s diverse talent pool.


The program application is open to individuals who:

  • are from gender, racial, ethnic, and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences, including those individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes, but is not limited to, women of any ethnic or racial group as well as any individual identifying as Hispanic or Latinx, Black, Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander, or American Indian / Alaska Native.
  • are basic science researchers and physician-scientists in the biomedical and life science disciplines.
  • hold a PhD and/or MD (or equivalent), which must be conferred by the start of the grant term.
    • U.S. citizens must have a degree from a research institution in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) or an international research institution.
    • Non-U.S. citizens and applicants with other nationalities must have a degree from a research institution in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico).
  • have been accepted to join a laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher at a research institution located in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) at the time of the application due date.


  • PhD applicants can have no more than 18 months of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the application due date.
    • The date or anticipated date of conferral of the doctoral degree must be on or after May 30, 2021, and before January 16, 2024.
  • MD or MD/PhD applicants in residency, clinical fellowship, or postdoctoral training can have no more than 18 months of postdoctoral training by December 7, 2022.
    • For the purposes of this award, research activities during residency or clinical fellowship are not considered postdoctoral training.
  • The postdoctoral training mentor must hold a tenured or tenure-track position (or equivalent) at an institution in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico).
    • HHMI has confirmed that Stanford’s University Medical Line (UML) and Non-Tenure Line Research (NTLR) faculty positions are equivalent to tenure or tenured-track (UTL).
  • See the guidelines for additional details, including other funding restrictions.

Award Amount:

  • Postdoctoral phase:  Fellows will receive annual support of a $70,000 salary for the initial year and a $20,000 expense allowance, paid through a non-renewable grant to the training institution. This phase of the award is for a minimum of two and maximum of four years.
  • Faculty phase: Fellows will receive $250,000 in research funding and a $20,000 expense allowance per year, paid through a non-renewable grant to the institution where they have attained a faculty position. This phase of the award has a maximum length of four years.


  • November 30, 2022: Institutional representative (RPM/RMG or CGO/OSR) deadline
  • December 7, 2022: Full proposal deadline 
  • December 14, 2022: Mentor and reference letters due
  • SoM applicants are required to initiate a Proposal Intake Form (PIF) in SeRA approximately one month prior to the internal deadline. Career Development PI Waivers are required.

    More Information:

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    Merck Research Laboratories
    Discovery Oncology (SEEDS) Programs
    Scientific Engagement and Emerging Discovery Science

    Pre-proposals due May 22, 2023!

    View below information as a pdf:

    View application (.docx):


    Bringing together the most promising academic research with Merck R&D capabilities to validate and advance emerging therapeutic targets, pathways and technologies that show potential relevance to treat human disease.

    About Us

    Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), the research arm of Merck & Co., Inc. focused on discovering and developing therapies to improve patients’ lives, has expanded its discovery capabilities in South San Francisco (SSF) by opening a new, cutting-edge research facility. The new nine-story, multi-disciplinary discovery research hub, accommodates more than 300 scientists and support research spanning exploratory biology through early clinical development. The building was custom designed with an open atmosphere that encourages collaboration and team work. The site also boasts a large auditorium to provide space for nearby academics, scientists and entrepreneurs to convene and engage in scientific dialogue.

    About the MRL SEEDS Program

    The MRL SEEDS program is an initiative seeking research collaborations with academic researchers to advance the most innovative discoveries for therapeutic targets, pathways and technologies. The MRL SEEDS program and subsequent collaborations underscore the importance of industry and academic interactions in the early discovery space.

    The MRL SEEDS program was launched in 2020 with initial focus on Cardio/Renal/Metabolic/Ophthalmic diseases and platform technologies for the discovery and development of protein and antibody therapeutics.

    As a first step in a potential collaboration, ideas for proposed projects should be submitted for evaluation by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) comprised of scientists from Discovery Oncology (DO). Ideas are to be submitted in the form of a brief proposal form by May 22, 2023. Proposals will be evaluated by the MRL DO SEEDS Scientific Review Committee (SRC) and may be selected for awarding a 1-year research grant (up to $125,000 USD in direct costs plus institutional indirect costs). The 1-year grant can potentially be extended at the discretion of the MRL DO SEEDS SRC.

    At the discretion of Merck, MRL scientists will work closely with investigators to make available relevant capabilities and technologies that will enhance the success of the joint research program. As part of the proposal and workplan development process, scientists from MRL will engage with lead investigators to ensure expertise and capabilities of both parties are incorporated into the project plan as applicable. During the grant period, the investigator and MRL scientists will meet at least quarterly for updates. A final report is required and it is expected that part or all of the results generated during the collaboration are disseminated in peer-reviewed publications.

    Who can apply?

    MRL DO SEEDS program RFPs are open to researchers at the following universities located in California: Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, San Francisco, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Diego. Master agreements have been put in place with these five universities. At the discretion of the MRL DO SEEDS SRC, proposals by researchers from other academic institutions may be considered.

    Why apply?

    The MRL DO SEEDS program is an effort to jointly advance high-quality science. All proposals submitted will be reviewed for scientific merit, tractability and alignment with the published areas of interest. The strongest proposals with the most compelling cases to experimentally address areas relevant for the discovery and development of protein and antibody therapeutics will be considered for funding, collaboration and/or sharing of Merck's R&D capabilities.

    DO-RFP-0123: Defining mechanism of Antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) resistance in human cancer therapy and developing next-line treatment options

    We seek proposals to provide insights into the underlying mechanisms of resistance to ADCs and to develop new strategies that increase efficacy. In particular, we are interested in proposals that address the following areas using approved ADC drugs.

    • Mechanisms of resistance to ADCs using clinical samples

    • Exploring therapeutic strategies to overcome the proposed mechanisms of resistance

    • Novel ADC payloads with higher therapeutic index

    • Approaches to select combinations or sequencing of ADCs with other agents, including other ADCs

      DO-RFP-0223: Searching for novel cell-surface E3 ligases or glycan receptors

      LYTACs (lysosome-targeting chimeras) and AbTACs (antibody-based PTOTACs) are novel modalities that rely on lysosomal degradation and utilize bi-specific antibodies to target surface proteins critical for cancer cell survival. We seek proposals to identify novel tumor- or T-cell-specific E3 ligases or glycan receptors to enable the generation of antibodies targeting -cell surface proteins through lysosomal degradation.

      DO-RFP-0323: Developing preclinical models to recapitulate cancer biology

      We seek proposals to develop robust and reliable in vitro models or in vivo orthotopic and/or metastatic models to study the biology of metastatic cancers.

      MRL DO SEEDS: Request for Proposal (RFP) Process

      The MRL DO SEEDS RFP process involves several steps illustrated in the diagram below. The timeline is meant as a general guide.

    MRL DO SEEDS: Frequently Asked Questions

    Questions and responses are divided by each phase of the MRL DO SEEDS program. To learn more or to ask a question, please contact the Merck SEEDS Program at Your disclosure of information does not grant you any ownership interest in future Merck company inventions.


    1. Is there someone within Merck I can speak with to see if there is interest in my study idea (before submission of a proposal

      form) or in case I have any questions in preparing the proposal?

      Yes. Please contact the Merck SEEDS Program.

    2. How do I submit a proposal?
      Complete and submit the pre-proposal form to the Merck SEEDS Program by May 22, 2023.

    3. Who should I contact if I need information regarding the MRL DO SEEDS program? Please contact the Merck SEEDS Program at

    4. Will Merck contribute any capabilities to the project?
      Access to specific capabilities will be discussed and agreed upon for accepted proposals as part of the confidential

      discussions and workplan development process after acceptance of the pre-proposal.

    5. Will Merck contribute any funding to the project?

      Funding for approved collaborative 1-year pilot research projects is anticipated (up to $125,000 in direct costs plus institutional indirect costs) in order to facilitate execution of the agreed upon specific aims of the project in the principal investigator’s laboratory or at a third-party establishment. The amount of funding will be project-specific and will be discussed and agreed upon for accepted proposals as part of the confidential discussions and work plan development process after acceptance of the pre-proposal. Our goal is to enable the specific aims of the selected proposals.

    6. How should I manage and communicate confidential information?
      Submissions will be treated as confidential. If your proposal still requires a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA),

      please contact the Merck SEEDS Program.

    Review & Decision

    1. Who reviews the applications?

      A Scientific Review Committee (SRC) comprised of Merck Research Laboratories Scientists will review all proposals.

    2. What does Merck expect from investigators submitting a proposal?

      The MRL DO SEEDS program funds proposals of scientific interest that can be conducted professionally and within the agreed timeline. Our expectations: 1) to receive a well-written proposal that is scientifically relevant and concise; 2) that investigators demonstrate the ability to conduct a study within the agreed timelines; 3) that, if approved, investigators agree to provide quarterly status updates and a final report of manuscript quality; 4) that part or all of the results generated during the collaboration are disseminated in peer-reviewed publications.

    3. What can investigators expect from Merck?

    Prompt and courteous response to submitted proposals; 2) thorough scientific review of the proposal; 3) timely decision on acceptance or rejection; 4) confidentiality of information under a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) as applicable.

    1. What scientific points are considered when assessing a submitted proposal?

      The following scientific points are considered: 1) the study is aligned with the published Active RFP statements; 2) the specific aims answer the scientific/medical questions with a well-organized study plan 3) a data analysis plan is included with the full proposal and work plan.

    2. If there are questions regarding the proposal, will I have a chance to address them prior to a final decision being made? Yes. If questions arise or clarifications are needed, you have the option of interacting with the MRL DO SEEDS SRC before

      a proposal and work plan are completed.

    Contract Negotiations and Terms

    1. How much will my lab be awarded if my full proposal is selected for collaboration?

      After a sponsored research agreement is executed between Merck and the academic institution, in accordance with standard practices and terms, Merck will fund up to $125,000 USD in direct costs for a 1-year pilot program plus institutional indirect costs.

    2. What are the terms of the sponsored research agreement between Merck and the academic institution if my proposal is selected for funding?

      Once your proposal is selected for contract negotiation and funding, a Merck Discovery Transactions Manager will contact the academic institution’s Technology Transfer Office to negotiate a sponsored research agreement in accordance with established and reasonable practices and terms. Financial and/or reagent support of a proposal is contingent upon execution of a contract between Merck and the academic institution.

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