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New Investigator Awards

Recruitment of Prospective Applicants The Vice Chancellor for Research and Deans will work together to raise awareness of these awards and communicate their importance to faculty development, prestige, and institutional reputation. Identifying a winning candidate to represent WUSTL begins well before the review/adjudication process. To enable sufficient time for internal application, adjudication, and mentoring, Washington University anticipates deadlines and announces internal selections in advance of the foundation’s invitation whenever possible.​ All internal selection programs are posted on a WUSTL Key accessible web site​ and open competitions are announced weekly via email to faculty engaged in scientific research on both the Danforth and Medical campuses.

Review and Selec​tion

Each private foundation has its own personality and history. For example, some early career awards are more about a person and his/her recommenders than the project proposed by the applicant. Some seek highly innovative projects that are unlikely to be funded by NIH because of their risky nature or lack of preliminary data. Candidates will be informed of such factors through the internal announcement and through periodic presentations by previous recipients. Previous awardees who serve on the New Investigator Awards Committee are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about matching candidates with the vision of the sponsor. They are also excellent mentors eager to coach or identify appropriate mentors to help the WUSTL candidate prepare the best possible, foundation‐specific application.

The committee review process includes in‐person discussion about internal applications. Member review candidate materials in advance of the meeting and rank the proposals most likely to succeed. To alleviate the burden on internal applicants, the materials and pre-proposals required of candidates are as brief and succinct as possible. Committees may occasionally elect to forego the requirement of a department head letter of support. After the selection is made, committee members will identify mentors who will help the selected applicant tailor the application to specific foundations, often with assistance from Corporate and Foundation Relations staff in Alumni and Development.​

Review Committee

The New Investigator Awards Review Committee is a standing internal adjudication committee for foundation awards with members and leadership from both campuses, advisory to the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR). The Chair and Vice Chair each serve three-year terms. The Vice Chair succeeds the Chair after the specified term, and a new Vice‐Chair is appointed by the VCR. At any given time, one of the two individuals will be a School of Medicine faculty member and the other would be from a Danforth Campus school. Committee Chairs will alternate between the School of Medicine and Danforth schools.

Committee Members

All committee members are chosen based on their disciplinary expertise, their dedication to benefitting the Washington University community, and their experience as previous awardees for a particular foundation or federal program. Committee members are appointed by the VCR, in consultation with the Committee Chair, Vice Chair, and Deans, as appropriate. Committee membership is for a four-year term, renewable by the Committee Chair and Vice Chair. The committee has appropriate​ representation to assess quality and breadth of application materials. Committee appointments are made with sensitivity to diversity goals. Committee membership has sufficient depth to manage any conflicts of interest that arise. Because it is not feasible to have representation from all disciplines and subdisciplines, the committee may recruit ad-hoc members, as needed.

Susan Dutcher (Searle Scholar 1984; Department of Genetics), Co-Chair
Joe Jez (Department of Biology), Co-Chair
Barak Cohen (Department of Genetics)
Gautam Dantas (Mallinckrodt Scholar 2014; Department of Pathology and Immunology, BME, Molecular Microbiology)
Sophia Hayes (Sloan Research Fellow 2007; Department of Chemistry)
Timothy Holy (Pew Scholar 2003; Department of Neuroscience)
Phyllis Hanson (Searle Scholar 1999, Sloan Research Fellow 1999; Department of Cell Biology and Physiology)
Dan Moran (Department of Biomedical Engineering)
Christina Stallings (Beckman Scholar 2013; Department of Molecular Microbiology)
Thad Stappenbeck (Pew Scholar 2005; Department of Pathology and Immunology, Division of Immunobiology)
Jason Weber (Pew Scholar 2002; Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology)

Internal Application Materials

  1. Cover Page
  2. Biosketch
  3. One-page description of proposed research
    1. Why the project is innovative and novel
    2. How the outcomes of the research will change the future of science
    3. The major questions being addressed
    4. A diagram of the project aims (a figure that graphically illustrates the goals of the project)
  4. Letter of support of department head
    1. The qualities that make the candidate outstanding as a scientist and as an individual
    2. Three significant publications and why the work is innovative
    3. The candidate's leadership potential in science and beyond
    4. Why the candidate is a good fit / appropriate for this specific award
  5. Occasionally, additional information relevant to a particular grant program may be required.

Review Criteria

Innovation and novelty of the proposed project.
The likelihood of the foundation's scientific advisory board to select the candidate for the award.
The project's potential to change the future of science.
The presence of high-impact publications.
The candidate's potential​ to become a leader in their field.


Announcements are disseminated to department chairs and faculty to provide sufficient time for the internal applicants to develop proposals for internal deadlines. Internal deadlines are posted on the Internal Selections website. Competitions will remain open if an insufficient number of applications are received.


Open Q&A Sessions

Open question and answer sessions are held periodically for selected grant programs. For example, a session is held in the Spring for the Pew, Searle, and Mallinckrodt award programs. Led by previous award recipients, the sessions are intended to help prospective applicants understand the goals of the award programs and how to prepare an internal application. The sessions provide an opportunity for investigators to ask questions and learn from those who have been successful.

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