Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences

The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences provides funding to young investigators of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health. Grants are made to investigators in their first few years of appointment at the Assistant Professor level. The award totals $240,000 over four years ($60,000 per year).

This is a limited submission award; the Provost may nominate only one candidate.

Eligibility Requirements

The program is open to candidates with an M.D. or Ph.D. As of November 1, 2012, candidates must hold full-time appointments at the rank of Assistant Professor or equivalent. On July 1, 2013, they must not have been in such an appointment for more than three years, whether or not such appointments were tenure track (That is, their initial appointment must have been made on or after July 1, 2010.). This time may have been spent at more than one institution. Clinical internships, residencies, or work toward board certification does not count as part of the three-year limit.

Candidates should, on the basis of performance during education and training, have outstanding promise as contributors in science relevant to human health. Strong proposals will demonstrate particularly creative and innovative approaches. Risk-taking is encouraged. 

Research Interests

Grants were awarded in 2010 to faculty from departments of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Pathology, Chemistry, Cellular Biology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Pharmacology, Genetics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hematology/Oncology, Biotechnology, Developmental Biology, Biology, and Neural Systems.

Areas of research included, among others: multi-drug resistance, tissue regeneration, gene silencing, protein misfolding, membrane transport, lymphocyte development, anti-viral targets, immune response, pattern recognition receptors, hedgehog signaling, calcium sprinklets, DNA methylation, neurodevelopment, autism, RNA biology, immune function, inflammation, autoimmune disease, tumor growth, neurological disease, stem cells, metabolomics, therapeutic agents, bacterial pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, macrophages, dendrites, synapse distribution, object and face recognition, and neural processing. 

Of 21 awards issued, 19 were awarded to Ph.D.s, one (1) to an M.D./Ph.D., and one (1) to a Ph.D./Pharm.

Protected Time Requirement

Pew’s expectation is that 80% of the applicant’s time will be protected for research.

Mentoring Requirement


Limitations on Other Awards

Pew Scholars may not simultaneously be supported by similar private foundation awards in excess of $50,000 per annum for the first two years of their Pew support. These awards include, but are not limited to: the Searle Scholars Program; Rita Allen Scholars; Merck Fund; and Beckman Foundation. Funding from the NIH, other government sources, and project grants from non-profit associations such as the American Cancer Society, do not pose a conflict with the Pew Scholars Program.

Award Statistics

Invitations are extended to 179 institutions. In 2013, Pew will name 22 Pew Scholars.

Internal Deadlines

Faculty who wish to be considered for nomination must e-mail their expressions of interest by June 1, 2012 to Catherine Muzytchuk, (Medicine and Dentistry); Debra Haring, (Arts and Sciences); or Cindy Gary, (Engineering), using the words PEW SCHOLARS PROGRAM in the subject line.


Using the forms provided, URMC faculty should submit:

(1) Cover form

(2) Chair’s nomination form

(3) CV or biosketch

(4) Brief, two-page abstract describing the significance of the proposed research

Faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences and from Engineering do not need to use the forms, but should submit a chair’s letter, CV or biosketch, and research abstract.

The Provost will select the final nominee, who will be notified of his or her nomination on or about July 15, 2012. Faculty with questions about deadlines or eligibility should contact Dr. Paul A. Spengler, Director of UR Foundation Relations, at 276-3955 or by email at The nominee is expected to contact Dr. Spengler to review program guidelines and for assistance with the application.

External Deadlines

Applications, including support letters, must be submitted to the Pew Scholars Program electronically by November 1, 2012. Per University policy, the UR nominee must submit his or her application five (5) business days in advance (October 26, 2012) and provide Foundation Relations with a final copy for review ten (10) business days in advance (October 19, 2012).

Candidates will be notified by April 15, 2013 if they have been selected. Grant agreements will be issued in July 2013.

Selection Criteria

The major elements upon which selection of the successful candidates will be based are a detailed description of the work the applicant proposes to undertake, evaluations of earlier performance from previous mentors, and notable past accomplishments, including honors, awards, and publications. In evaluating the candidates, the National Advisory Committee gives considerable weight to evidence that the candidate is an independent investigator and to significant published work.

Recipients of Pew Scholars Awards have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. Past awardees include Dr. Carol W. Greider, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009, and Dr. Craig C. Mello, who won the Nobel Prize in 2006.

Within the past ten years, two faculty members at the University of Rochester have received the Pew Scholar Award: Dr. Edward Brown (Biomedical Engineering in 2009) and Dr. Laura Calvi (Neuroendocrinology, in 2005).

For more information about the Pew Scholars Program, click here.



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