(CLOSED) Moore Inventor Fellows 2023-2024

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

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is pleased to announce the ninth competition for the Moore Inventor Fellows program. The foundation seeks to identify outstanding inventors and innovators who harness science and technology to enhance the conduct of scientific research, strengthen environmental conservation, or improve the experience and outcomes of patient care.

The Moore Inventor Fellows fellowship focuses on supporting scientist-inventors at a critical prototyping stage to capture opportunities that otherwise might be missed. We seek to provide freedom and support to promising inventors with the most compelling ideas to pursue creative and disruptive innovations.
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). Patient care inventions should resonate with our focus on improving the experience and outcomes of patients with solutions that improve clinical diagnosis.

We aim to support inventions at an early stage that could lead to proof-of-concept of an invention or advance an existing prototype that tackles an important problem. We seek innovations that promise to make a long-lasting and meaningful impact by addressing underlying problems in their field, but a clear path toward commercialization is not a requirement. For this opportunity, we are not interested in supporting fundamental research projects or projects already at a stage where significant venture capital is available. As with all our grants, we seek to measure progress toward a defined goal during the three years of support. The foundation’s policy is that intellectual property that results from a grant must be managed and disseminated in a manner that leads to the greatest impact. Each award will include IP terms to reflect the needs of that project.

We recognize 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 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 institutions. Examples of such programs include but are not limited to environmental science and conservation, remote sensing, artificial intelligence, big data, climatology, emerging infectious diseases, biology, oceanography, engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science, neuroscience, and public health.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Candidates must be faculty, research scientists, postdocs or other full-time staff who can receive funding through their 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 received in or after 2014).
  • Penn State is limited to two nominees from Penn State Health and two nominees from the rest of the PSU Campus System including University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses and we welcome applications to the internal downselect process. Click here to view a listing of previous winners.

Award Information:

Each fellow will receive $200,000 per year from the foundation for three years. In addition, the foundation will provide the host institution with $25,000 each year to cover costs associated with administering the grant, resulting in a total three-year award of $675,000. Each host institution will be required to contribute $50,000 in annual direct 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.

Institutional Commitment:

  • Ahead of submitting, please be sure to speak with your unit's Associate Dean of Research to ensure 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 LOI Deadline: 
Nov 14, 2023
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Dec 13, 2023
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_MooreInventorFellows_2024) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

  • Statement of Invention (no more than two pages, including citations):
  • Please consider your audience when crafting the proposal – proposals are evaluated by a diverse cohort of expert reviewers who may or may not have expertise in your specific subject area. You may include figures, charts, and references within the total page length limit.
    • Description of invention.
    • Importance to science, environmental conservation or patient care (please select one choice under the basic nominee section).
    • Stage of invention.
    • Current funding.
    • Feasibility.
    • Risk (please describe any technical risks that might lower chances of success and what you will do to mitigate these risks. For example, “If A doesn't work, we'll do B.”).
    • Potential impact.
    • Approach for measuring progress during the grant term.
  • Summary CV (no more than two pages):
    • Educational and professional background
    • Key accomplishments, honors and demonstrated areas of expertise
    • Other background information relevant to the stated invention
  • Budget narrative that outlines how grant funds will be used (one page):
  • Brief note or email from your Department Head or Associate Dean for Research confirming the institutional commitment
  • 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.
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:
OSVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Thursday, October 5, 2023 - 4:00pm
For help or questions: 

Please plan to connect with staff from the Office of Foundation Relations, who will consult on proposal narrative elements, answer foundation-related questions, and assist the downselect winner with their submission. University Park applicants and those from other campuses, please contact Sophie Penney Leach, Ph.D. (swp2@psu.edu), Director of Foundation Relations for additional support. Penn State College of Medicine applicants please contact Jess Kiely, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations (jkiely1@pennstatehealth.psu.edu) for additional support.

Linxiao Zhu (CoE); Ezra Clark (CoE)