The Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award

Since 2011, nine CWRU faculty members have been selected for The Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research awards. The foundation funds at least 10 Hartwell Investigators annually for their innovative, early-stage, cutting-edge biomedical research that has the potential to benefit children in the USA. These awards provide funding to individual researchers in the U.S. for three years, at $100,000 direct cost per year.
Projects should represent early-stage biomedical research that has not yet qualified for significant outside funding, including those not yet submitted for funding consideration. The Foundation is looking for research projects that are early-stage, innovative and cutting-edge, and will only consider funding those proposals that reflect relevance in terms of potential benefit to children in the US.

In large measure, the selection process takes into account the extent to which funding will make a difference: the likelihood that research success will benefit children of the United States and the extent to which funding will have a positive effect on the trajectory of the Nominee’s professional career. In addition, the selection process also considers evidence that the Nominee has appropriate expertise and research facilities to conduct the proposed research, as well as the extent and nature of collaboration by the Nominee and how it will facilitate success.
The Hartwell Foundation Individual Biomedical Research Award is not a training grant, a means for incremental extension of existing research, a solution to bridge funding or a means to provide expansion to well-funded laboratories.
The Hartwell Foundation seeks to fund early-stage research that is strategic or translational in nature. The foundation seeks innovative ideas that are emboldened by discovery or distinguished by the creative insight that may inspire a distinctive shift in perspective, or provide a strategic benefit to other researchers. The foundation seeks to fund new applications of existing technology, new technologic approaches to existing problems and, where deficient, technology development. In all cases, The Hartwell seeks risk-taking innovation that addresses an unmet need and has the potential for clinical translation if successful, accepting uncertainty and deploying technology, not studying it. Proposals must address this unmet need, either in children’s healthcare as translational biomedical research, or by targeting a strategic problem in biomedical research with the potential to reshape and broaden the systematic examination of an uncharted area that will enable or advance translational research proposals that already receive, or will be receiving, significant extramural funding (e.g., NIH, NSF, DOD, commercial entities, other foundations) are ineligible. Preliminary data are not required but may help validate the early-stage nature of the proposed research.
Participating institutions agree to utilize an open and effective process to call for proposals from areas of natural and applied science related to children’s health, including biomedical engineering. Proposals must be consistent with the values of The Hartwell Foundation and potential benefits to children of the United States. The foundation will not consider research in public health, epidemiology, social science, psychology, ecology, environmental impacts, anthropology, or botany. The foundation will not consider research in areas of medicine generally associated with adult health unless there is a particularly compelling benefit to children of the United States. The Foundation will not fund basic research motivated by a desire to extend fundamental knowledge, with long-delayed or unpredictable benefits, including research in public health epidemiology, social science, psychology, ecology, environmental impacts, botany, or anthropology. The Foundation will not fund “studies”, surveys, health services research, or stand-alone clinical trials; and will not consider biomedical research in areas generally associated with adult health unless there is a readily apparent and particularly convincing benefit to children of the United States.
Applicants must be available to interview with the internal selection committee during the week of June 22, 2020, and to travel to meet with representatives of the Foundation on a date ranging from early to mid-November. As awardees, they also must commit to attending the Foundation's Annual Meeting, which is held annually in late September or early October.

Number of Applications
Amount of Funding

$300,000 ($100,000 per year for three years)


  • Applicants are encouraged to consult with their Associate Deans for Research prior to internal submission to assure they meet eligibility criteria and their projects meet stated program objectives.
  • PIs with Doctor of Medicine degrees (e.g. MD, MD-PhD, MD-DDS, etc.) are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • If the PI is not an MD, at least one collaborator must be a practicing physician, preferably in pediatric medicine.
  • PIs at the assistant professor level are strongly encouraged to apply.
  •  Only researchers nominated by a research institution selected by The Hartwell Foundation are eligible for consideration of a The Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award.
  • All candidates for the Award should be citizens of the United States or green card holders, hold a full-time appointment in the sponsoring institution, and be eligible to serve as a principal investigator in biomedical research. Biomedical research includes Environmental & Life Sciences; Medical - Basic Science; Medical - Clinical Science; Medical - Translational; Physical Sciences & Engineering.

Submission Process

Step 1

Anyone wishing to pursue the nomination for the Individual Biomedical Research Award is strongly encouraged to submit a brief "letter of intent," including faculty title and department, no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 27, 2020, to in the form of an email message not to exceed 250 words. This LOI will help us to impanel a review committee and will also generate personalized feedback based on the foundation’s review criteria.

Step 2

For consideration as a finalist, investigators must submit the following proposal materials as PDF email attachments to no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 11, 2020,*:

  1. A cover letter addressing the selection criteria (1 page),
  2. A draft abridged non-technical summary (1 page),
  3. A draft abridged technical description of the project (1 page),
  4. A CV, including funding history, and
  5. A list of proposals submitted but not yet funded (if any).

Note: In addition to "early-stage," "innovative," "cutting-edge," and "biomedical," proposal materials must emphasize relevance in terms of potential benefit to children in the U.S.

Step 3

After the internal proposal deadline, a review committee will arrive at a short-list of candidates. These candidates will be notified by email of their selection, and they should be available for an individual in-person interview with the committee during the week of June 22, 2020*.

Step 4

Final nominees from the interview stage will be notified of their selection by July 13, 2020*.

Step 5

Complete proposals are due in the CWRU Office of Research Administration or SOM Office of Grants and Contracts by September 4, 2020*.

Step 6

Submission is due to sponsor by September 15, 2020*. 

Step 7

Interviews of finalists by representatives of The Hartwell Foundation will be scheduled to take place in Nashville at the Sponsor's expense from November 2nd through November 23rd, 2020*. All finalist interviews will be scheduled at the discretion of the foundation.
Applicants receiving an invitation to interview with the foundation will be invited to a working lunch meeting, during which they will have an opportunity to hear from prior winners and make contact with administrators who can assist with interview skills and presentation development.
If you intend to participate in this competition, please plan to be available the week of June 22nd for your internal interview; in August and September to prepare your proposal; the week of October 5th for mock interviews and coaching, and in late October through mid-November for the final interview with the foundation itself.


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
05/11/2020 07/13/2020 09/04/2020 09/15/2020 CLOSED