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)


We will hold a virtual information session featuring an overview of the history and structure of all Kaufman grants programs. Attendance is encouraged, but not mandatory. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at noon

Register to attend

NOTICE: Please read the guidelines carefully, as they have been updated for 2024 applicants. 



The goal of the New Investigator Research Grants program is to provide research support for innovative 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. Competitive submissions 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.
  • *NEW FOR 2024 - Investigators must have one of the following: 
    • Full-time tenure. 
    • Tenure-track appointment.
    • Independent research faculty appointment (with evidence of an independent research program).
  • *NEW FOR 2024 - Applicants must:
    • Have not yet competed successfully as a PI to receive substantial independent NIH funding.
    • Have obtained  a terminal research degree or terminal clinical degree within the past 10 years.

      (An Investigator can request an extension of their New Investigator status past the 10-year window due to extenuating circumstances such as childbirth, family care responsibilities, medical concerns, disability, extended periods of clinical training, natural disasters and active-duty military service. )


  • 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.
  • Submissions are required to address basic (fundamental, pure) questions addressing core principles in biology, physics and chemistry or at the disciplinary boundaries between these fields. Please indicate the discipline(s) in which the research is grounded.
  • Only one Letter of Intent from an investigator each year is permitted. A PI on a New Investigator LOI 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.
  • Previous grant recipients in the New Investigator category of the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation are not eligible to apply to the New Investigator category for a second grant. Previous grant recipients in the New Investigator grant category may apply in the New Initiative grant category, if a final report has been received.
  • 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 Letter of Intent submission deadline is March 22, 2024, by 11:59 p.m.  For questions, please call 412-394-2603 or email

 Submit a Letter of Intent

The LOI should contain the following in a single PDF document:

 Page 1:  A brief cover letter on institutional letterhead with bullet points confirming applicant eligibility for the proposal as noted above. Please address the Letter of Intent to the Scientific Advisory Board of the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation.  The cover letter may be signed by the PI.

Page 2:  A one-page description of the proposed research with project title. Competitive LOIs:

  1. Are written for an educated, scientific generalist with a broad range of expertise.
  2. Focus on the fundamental aspects of the research.
  3. Present a clear experimental design.
  4. Convince the Scientific Advisory Board that the researcher is well positioned to successfully complete the proposed research. 

Page 3:  A one-page (or less) budget proposal must be included. Budget items not supported are tuition or student fees, construction or renovation costs, consultants or salary for the Principal Investigator.

Page 4:  Literature cited.  

Page 5:  Please include a list of the investigator’s last three relevant publications. 

Formatting must be single-spaced with one-inch margins in all directions and no less than 11-point Times New Roman font.

For questions, contact or call 412-394-2603. 


The Scientific Advisory Board and Kaufman Foundation staff will review letters of intent, and the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation will notify applicants by May 20, 2024, whether they have been selected to submit a full proposal 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. 


If invited to apply, the applicant will receive detailed instructions on how to submit this proposal.  Full proposals must be received by July 26, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. 

The proposals will include the following components in this order:  

Page 1:  A cover letter confirming each item of eligibility, as stated in the guidelines.

Page 2:  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 written for educated, nonscientific lay readers, such as members of The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation Board of Directors and media.

Pages 3-7:  A research proposal no more than five pages long (paginated, single-spaced with 1-inch 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 proposal 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, Significance and Experimental Design.

Pages 8+: The following pages should also be included:

  • References: Any references related to the 5-page research proposal can be included here.
  • Budget: A detailed budget proposal including justification. Budget components can include – but are not limited to – salaries and fringe benefits 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 (i.e.: total costs, including indirect costs, may not exceed the total award amount of $150,000). Budget items not supported are tuition or student fees, construction or renovation costs, consultants or salary, fringe benefits or other indirect costs for the Principal Investigator.
  • Other Research Support: Include a description of all research support, including pending proposals and institutional support, such as start-up funds (all financial information will be considered strictly confidential). Additionally, if the applicant has current research support, please include a brief description of how the current proposal to The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation is differentiated from current funding. Any pending support in which a decision becomes available after the submission of a full proposal should be immediately sent to  
  • CV/Biosketch: An NIH-formatted biosketch or a CV (five-page maximum), for the Principal Investigator.
  • If awarded, all Charles E. Kaufman recipients must submit official IRB and/or IACUC approval or formal exemption. The Foundation requires this documentation for all medical research and research awards.
Letters of Support

Two letters of support from colleagues familiar with the investigator(s) and the proposed work must be uploaded by the colleagues submitting letters of support no later than the application deadline of July 26, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Both letters must be from sources external to the primary investigator's institution and no more than one letter may be received from a prior mentor. If invited to submit a full proposal, the applicant will receive detailed instructions on this process.


Successful applicants will be notified by The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation by Nov. 1. Payment for year one of the grant will be sent to the grantee institution upon notification of acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Foundation’s grant agreement, for funding to begin in December.  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. 


Submissions are reviewed through the following process:  

LOI: Staff of the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation will screen LOIs for eligibility, and all eligible requests will be reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Board. The Scientific Advisory Board will meet to deliberate on the merits of each request and will recommend a group of applicants to advance to the full proposal stage.  

Full Proposal: At the full proposal stage, Foundation staff will review submissions for eligibility, and all eligible proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Board. During deliberations on the proposals, the Scientific Advisory Board will recommend a group of full proposal applicants for funding to the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation Board of Directors.  

Board of Directors:  The Board of Directors of the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation will make final decisions on funding, based on recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Board.   

Feedback: Because of the large number of requests, the Foundation is regrettably unable to provide panel comments from the Letter of Intent stage. If invited to submit a full proposal, all applicants will receive brief summary comments from the Scientific Advisory Board’s deliberations upon request.