(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, 2019. 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.

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. To apply to the internal down select, submit an application using the button on the right-hand menu bar.

The Office of Foundation Relations is the designated institutional contact responsible for communicating with the Foundation and is collaborating with Limited Submissions on the internal downselect process. For questions concerning the application process and other foundation-related questions, University Park and other campus applicants should please contact Holly Lowe, Assistant Director of Foundation Relations, (hal5220@psu.edu); Penn State Health and College of Medicine applicants should please contact Jess Kiely, Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, (jkiely1@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 717-531-5827).

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. https://www.searlescholars.net/advisory-board

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/scholarships

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Sep 30, 2020
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Internal Downselect Submission Requirements

Interested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: [Last name-Searle_2020 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

  1. 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.

    • 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.

    • Format: Maximum 3 pages, single-spaced, at least 11pt font, 1/2 inch margins. Illustrations and figures are allowed.

  2. 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.

  3. NIH biosketch

  4. Nomination letter from your department head or chair.

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: 
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 4:00pm
Amir Sheikhi (CoE), Eric Nacsa (ECoS) - 8/5/2020