Hartwell Foundation

“The Hartwell Foundation seeks to inspire innovation and achievement by offering individual researchers an opportunity to realize their hopes and dreams. Our approach is to be unique, selective, thorough and accountable. Through a unique funding process, we provide financial support to stimulate discovery in early-stage biomedical research that has not qualified for funding from traditional sources and that has the potential to benefit children of the United States. We want the research to make a difference.”

Foundation seeks:

  • To fund early-stage research that is strategic or translational in nature and have the potential to benefit children
  • Innovative ideas that are emboldened by discovery or distinguished by creative insight that may inspire a distinctive shift in perspective, or provide a strategic benefit to other researchers
  • New applications of existing technology, new technologic approaches to existing problems and where deficient, technology development.
  • 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 that already receive extramural funding or that will receive extramural funding (e.g., NIH, NSF, DOD, commercial entities, other foundations) are ineligible.
  • Preliminary data are not required.


All candidates for the Award should be citizens of the U.S. or hold permanent residence;

• Maintain a full-time appointment within the sponsoring institution;

• Must have institutionally committed laboratory and office space adequate to perform the proposed research

  • At least one Nominee that holds a Doctor of Medicine degree (e.g., MD, MD-Ph.D., MD-DDS, etc.)


  • All Nominees for the Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award must demonstrate they are collaborative.
  • Each Nominee must identify at least one participating collaborator that is a practicing physician, preferably in pediatric medicine.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Proposals should address either a specific unmet need in translational medicine or a strategic problem in applied science.
    • Translational biomedical research targets unmet medical need by exploiting insight, discovery or innovation derived from applied research and clinical observations; providing a guide for diagnosis, intervention, or prevention, including clinical trials. Translational research success often has the potential to impact directly healthcare outcomes.
    • By contrast, strategic research addresses an unmet need in medicine or technology by targeting an enabling approach, which if successful will lead to essential advances and benefits that make it possible for others to broaden the systematic examination of an uncharted area of applied science or facilitate focused development of innovation. Strategic research success has the potential to reshape a complex technical problem that may also accelerate clinical and translational research.
  • 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.
  • 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 in the trajectory of the Nominee’s professional career.
  • The Foundation will not fund basic research motivated by curiosity and a desire to extend fundamental knowledge, with long-delayed or unpredictable benefits.
  • The Foundation will not consider research in public health, epidemiology, social science, psychology, ecology, environmental impacts, anthropology, or botany

Office of the Vice Provost for Research Review Process:

Each proposal must include the following (The list of requirements is an abbreviated version of the Hartwell Foundation guidelines which are attached. Applicants are advised to closely read the guidelines):

Text: 1-inch margins, single-column text, single line spacing and black 12-point Times Roman font.

  • Cover page with the proposal title, name of PI, academic rank, department, Email address, Phone number.
  • Lay Summary – provide in a single paragraph a description of the proposed research (450 words or less) suitable for a nontechnical audience
    • Statement of Problem – description and magnitude of the problem in the United States; emphasize what makes it an important issue (e.g., prevalence, incidence, morbidity and mortality rates).
    • Compelling Interest to the Foundation – identify the unmet need and how addressing it successfully will provide a benefit for children of the United States.
    • Innovation – identify the novel idea(s), discovery, or creative insight that may inspire a distinctive shift in perspective, provide a strategic advantage or offer a translational benefit; identify relevant model test systems, important experiments and the technologic approach that will be used to construct or test hypotheses.
    • Justification for Funding – describe what will happen if the proposed research is successful (e.g. diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, prevention, clinical trials, etc.) and how successful outcomes will be deployed either translationally or strategically to benefit children.
  • Technical summary- no longer than two pages as follows:
    • Outline the research plan, including aims, methods, scientific technologies
    • Outline goals and objectives of the research
  • CV or biosketch – Please include current, pending and expired sources of funding. Include amounts for each award.

All materials must be submitted in a single pdf file in the above lsited order to vprgrant [at] upenn.edu by Monday, June 3, 2019.

Subject line of email must Hartwell_PI last name_PI first name eg Hartwell_Smith_Jane

If you have any questions, please contact rookj [at] upenn.edu.

Please send any questions to rookj [at] upenn.edu