(CLOSED) Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation: Inventor Fellows Competition

Sponsor Name: 
Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
Description of the Award: 

Inspired by Gordon Moore’s passion for discovery, the competition seeks to identify outstanding early-stage inventors who harness science and technology solutions to enhance scientific research, strengthen environmental conservation, or improve the experience and outcomes of patient care. The scope of this call is intentionally wide: proposed projects do not need to fall within our current funding priorities, but should be broadly within the program areas of foundation interest (science, environmental conservation and patient care). The exception is for nominees proposing ideas and inventions that target patient care. Within this realm, we seek overlap with our current emphasis on improving the experience and outcomes of patients, including solutions in the areas of diagnostic excellence, medication safety in the community and community-based serious illness care.

We aim to support inventions at an early stage that could lead to proof-of-concept work on an invention or advance an existing prototype that tackles an important problem. We seek innovations with the promise of making a long-lasting impact by addressing underlying problems in their field, but a clear path toward commercialization is not a requirement. We are not interested in supporting projects that are already at a stage where significant venture capital is available.

We recognize that real invention can take surprising turns, so we seek creative individuals who have big ideas, deep knowledge and the courage to take smart risks. We recognize that inventors and innovators come from a diversity of backgrounds, disciplines and experiences, and seek creative individuals across a broad array of academic programs and research departments. Examples of such programs include, but are not limited to environmental science and conservation, oceanography, biology, engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science, neuroscience, public health and gerontology.

Candidates must be faculty, research scientists, postdocs or other full-time staff at eligible institutions. Candidates must be no more than 10 years past receiving the terminal advanced degree in their field (M.S., Ph.D. or M.D.). Fellows will receive funding for three years at a level of $200,000 per year from the Moore Foundation. In addition to funds for the fellow, the foundation will provide $25,000 each year to the institution to cover costs associated with administering the grant award, resulting in a total three-year award of $675,000. Host institutions will be required to make a contribution of $50,000 in annual support of the inventor’s work. As with all our grants, we seek to measure progress toward a defined goal during the three years of support.

Penn State is limited to two nominees overall and we welcome applications to the internal downselect process. Click here to view a listing of previous winners.

Ahead of submitting, please be sure to speak with your unit's Associate Dean of Research to insure the institution can comply with the following requirements if you are selected as one of Penn State's nominees:

  • $50,000 in annual direct support (This can be “in kind” as released time or access to special facilities for which there is normally a charge)
  • Fellow able to devote at least 25 percent of their time to their invention
Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Feb 11, 2019
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Please upload one PDF file (File name: Last Name_First Name_MooreInventorFellows_2019.pdf) containing the following items in order:

1. Invention Summary (no more than two pages):

  • Description of invention
  • Importance to science, environmental conservation or patient care and experience
  • Stage of invention
  • Current funding
  • Feasibility
  • Approach for measuring progress during the grant term

2. Summary CV (no more than two pages):

  • Educational and professional background
  • Key accomplishments, honors and demonstrated areas of expertise
  • Other background information relevant to stated invention

3. Budget narrative that outlines how grant funds will be used (one page):

4. Name and contact information for two individuals who will be asked to provide letters of reference if selected as a nominee: one from an individual within the nominating institution and one from an individual from another institution.The letters should evaluate the promise of the applicant and the invention and be no more than two pages in length.

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 4:00pm
Gernand, Alison (HHD, Nutritional Sciences) & Chang, Cui-Zu (Eberly College of Science, Physics) 1/16/19