(CLOSED) Searle Scholars Program

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

The Searle Scholars Program gives grants to support independent research in medicine, chemistry, and the biological sciences for exceptional early-career scientists who have recently begun their appointment at the assistant professor level, and whose appointment is their first tenure-track position.


  • Candidates should have begun their appointment as an independent investigator at the assistant professor level on or after July 1, 2018. The appointment must be their first tenure-track position.

    • Candidates are expected to be pursuing independent research careers in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and related areas of chemistry, medicine, and the biological sciences.
Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Sep 27, 2019
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Penn State is limited to two nominees overall to include the College of Medicine, thus we request that departments submit no more than two nominees each for this award.

Internal Downselect Submission Requirements

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF (Last Name_Searle_2019) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

  • Research Summary that includes (1) description of current areas of research and (2) defines the specific research (purpose, methodology, and overall goal) the nominee would pursue with this funding award.

    • Format: Maximum 3 pages, single-spaced, at least 11pt font, 1/2 inch margins. Illustrations and figures are allowed.
    • Explain why your proposal is bold and impactful if successful; novelty and risk-taking are greatly encouraged. Searle (and the internal reviewers) are looking for the best ideas articulated well.
  • Personal statement (maximum 1 page) describing why your record makes you competitive for this program. Include a summary of early-career achievements and/or awards, significant research to date. If possible, show how you made an impact in the lab where you worked as a post doc.
  • NIH bio-sketch
  • Nomination letter from your department head or chair.

The Office of Foundation Relations is available to consult on proposal narrative elements and answer other foundation-related questions. Please contact Holly Lowe, Assistant Director of Foundation Relations at University Park (hal5220@psu.edu or 814-863-4308) or Jess Kiely of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Penn State Hershey (jik12@psu.edu or 717-531-8497) for additional support.

Foundation Relations Insights

Searle likes projects that are unlikely to be funded by NIH because 1) the investigator is young and the goals are too ambitious, 2) the project is too novel, 3) there is no preliminary data or it is something that has been tried and others have failed at it.

The Searle Scholars Program selection committee is primarily interested in the potential of the applicant to make innovative and high-impact contributions to research over an extended period of time. Potential applicants are encouraged to assess the Searle advisory board’s membership and consider projects that border their expertise. http://www.searlescholars.net/go.php?id=18

Proposed work can be unique and not funded elsewhere, or it may be a component of on-going research. Funds awarded by the Program are not intended to replace monies obtained from another funding agency but may be used to supplement on-going research. The program does not ordinarily support purely clinical research but has supported research programs that include both clinical and basic components. Potential applicants who are unsure if their research is appropriate for our Program are encouraged to examine the research interests of present and former Searle Scholars on the program website. https://www.searlescholars.net/go.php?id=6

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: 
Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 4:00pm
Huang, Yifei (Eberly CoS, Biology) 7/16/19