Charles E. Kaufman Foundation

New Investigator Research Guidelines Up to six awards at a maximum of $150,000 over two years ($75,000 per year)

NOTICE: Please read the guidelines carefully, as they have been modified for 2019 applicants.


The goal of the New Investigator Research Grants is to provide research support for innovative basic scientists in Pennsylvania as they transition into an academic position as a new independent investigator. Proposals are required to address basic (fundamental, pure) questions addressing core principles in biology, physics and chemistry or at the disciplinary boundaries between these fields. Applied or clinical studies will not be supported. Competitive applications are expected to be rich in innovative ideas and approaches with the potential for generating transformative intellectual advances.  

See Previous Award Winners


  • Investigators whose primary appointment is at an Institution of higher education in Pennsylvania. Applicants must be United States citizens or lawful permanent residents by the time of the LOI deadline.
  • Faculty must have a full-time tenure track appointment at the rank of assistant or associate professor without tenure. Please indicate the start date of your current appointment.
  • Applicants must have received a higher degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) within the past eight years or after 1/1/2011.
  • Preference will be given to investigators who have yet to receive a major research award from sources outside of his/her institution while in their current position. In the LOI, investigators must include information on current funding and proposals pending from sources outside of his/her institution. Include: the source name, the project title, the role of the investigator, start and end dates, and the amount.  Please also include a number indicating the total amount of annual external support. Investigators who progress to the full proposal stage and who are awarded major support after the LOI deadline must disclose the award details to the Foundation.
  • Only one application from an investigator each year is permitted. A PI on a New Investigator proposal is ineligible to apply as a PI in the New Initiative category.
  • An eligible institution may submit multiple LOIs from different researchers and distinct projects.


The research must be curiosity-driven addressing fundamental processes but in the context of their potential application for the betterment of humankind. The research must be focused within the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics or at the boundaries between these disciplines. The LOI should contain a brief cover letter on university letterhead confirming eligibility for the application (page 1), and a one-page description of the proposed research with project title (page 2). Page 1 should include bullet points addressing and confirming each of the eligibility criteria noted above. A brief (not more than 1 page) budget proposal must be included (page 3). Budget items not supported are tuition or student fees, construction or renovation costs, consultants, or salary for the Principal Investigator. References may be included on additional pages. Please include a list of the investigator’s last three publications; this can be on an additional page. Formatting must be single-spaced with 1” margins in all directions and no less than 11 point Times New Roman font.

The Letter of Intent submission period is closed. Please check back later this year for 2020 guidelines.

For questions, contact or call 412-394-2617.


The Scientific Advisory Board and Kaufman Foundation staff will review letters of intent, and the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation will notify applicants whether they have been selected to submit a full application following review of the letters of intent. Only applicants who have submitted an LOI and have been invited to apply will be considered for funding.


The 2019 full application submission period is closed.  You must first submit a Letter of Intent (see instructions above). Please check back later this year for 2020 guidelines.


If invited to apply, the applicant will receive detailed instructions on how to submit the application.

  • A cover letter confirming each item of eligibility of the proposal, as stated in the guidelines.
  • A short summary with a research project title, about a paragraph in length, explaining your intended research and potential impact to a lay audience. This should be included on page 2 of your packet, and should not be included within the 5-page limit of the research proposal. This should be written for educated, nonscientific lay readers, such as members of The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation Board and media.
  • A research proposal no more than five pages long (paginated, single-spaced with 1” margins in all directions and no less than 11 point Times New Roman font) describing an innovative project in the general areas of biology, physics, or chemistry that is curiosity driven, rather than application based. Preference will be given to proposals with the potential to be transformative and include interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches, involve the training of graduate and undergraduate students, and provide the basis for extended in-depth studies beyond the expiration of the grant. Projects that are high risk but with a high potential return are encouraged. Proposals should contain Specific Aims, Background and Significance, and Experimental Design.
  • References related to the 5-page research proposal (not included within the 5-page limit.)
  • A detailed budget proposal including justification. Budget components can include – but are not limited to – salaries of postdoctoral researchers and other research staff, stipends for graduate and undergraduate researchers, equipment, supplies, publication costs, and travel to scientific meetings. Indirect costs not to exceed 10% of the budget can be included, but not such as to increase the total size of the award; applicants should discuss this with their Institution. Budget items not supported are tuition or student fees, construction or renovation costs, consultants, or salary for the Principal Investigator.
  • A brief description of all other research support, including pending applications and institutional support such as start-up funds (all financial information will be considered strictly confidential). Any pending support in which a decision becomes available after the submission of a full proposal should be immediately sent to
  • A curriculum vitae for the Principal investigator including a full list of publications.
  • A letter from an Institutional representative confirming the exempt status of the institution from federal government and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania taxes.
  • Two letters of support from colleagues familiar with the investigator and the proposed work. Letters should be sent by email directly to with the name of the applicant and university in the subject line. No more than one letter may be received from a prior mentor, and no more than one letter may be received from the investigator’s current institution.

Successful applicants will be notified by the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation by Aug. 2019. Awards will be sent to the grantee institution upon notification of acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Foundation’s award letter, with funding to begin by Sept. 2019. The host institution holds responsibility for research conduct, research integrity, general laboratory safety, biosafety, radiation safety, and for the safe disposal of hazardous waste materials.

NOTE: If funded, investigators are strongly encouraged to attend programs and events sponsored by the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation.