RFA Open: Osher Pilot Research Awards (2020)

Posted On: August 31st, 2019

Osher Center

RFA Open: Osher Pilot Research Awards (2020)

The Request for Applications for the Osher Pilot Research Awards is now open. This funding mechanism provides seed grants to support collaborative projects consistent within the Osher Center thematic areas of musculoskeletal health, healthy aging, and mind-body exercise.

How to Submit a Letter of Interest

The purpose of this program is to provide early funding for innovative projects in the field of integrative medicine including basic, translational, and clinical research.

Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis, as pilot grants of $25,000 to $50,000, with up to four grants available in 2020.

Applications undergo a formal peer-review process and will be ranked for funding priority based on strategic and scientific merit, with oversight by the Osher Center Advisory Committee.

*Watch this video in which four previous awardees present their work.*


09/01/2019 – RFA Announcement
01/15/2020 – Letter of Interest Due – Deadline extended to midnight, Friday, January 24.
03/01/2020 – Full Applications Invited
04/15/2020 – Full Applications Due
06/15/2020 – Awardees Announced
09/01/2020 – Funding and Projects Commence


All members of the Harvard Medical School (HMS) research community with a rank of instructor and above are invited to apply. Individuals may serve as the PI of only one proposal.

Review Criteria

The mission of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine is to combine research, education and clinical care to move medicine toward a new model of wellness and healing. Therefore, Pilot Projects will be evaluated primarily for their potential to advance the strategic vision of the Osher Center through collaborative, cross-disciplinary innovative research.

  • Projects must be scientifically meritorious and aligned with the one or more of the following strategic themes: musculoskeletal health, healthy aging and mind-body exercise.
  • Projects should not be merely an extension of ongoing work but rather novel ideas/programs which require seed funding.
  • Projects creating new collaborations between PIs, research groups, or institutions within the HMS community will be given priority.
  • Priority also will be given to projects that are translational and/or integrate across physiological systems.

Review Process

  • From the letters of interest (LOI), approximately 10 applicants will be invited to submit full applications. LOIs will be reviewed by an ad-hoc Osher Center Pilot Grant Review Committee (chaired by the Osher Center Research Director).
  • Full applications will undergo a formal peer-reviewed process and will be ranked. Ranked proposals will be reviewed by the Osher Center Leadership, and final decisions will be announced June 15th, 2020.
  • Written critiques will not be provided.


  • Recipients will be obligated to provide a progress report at six months, and an oral presentation at the end of the funding period (one year), or at the Osher Integrative Medicine Network Forum or upon completion of the  study.
  • Grantees will notify the Osher Center when other grants are received as a result of pilot funding.
  • Grantees will acknowledge the Osher Center in publications resulting from seed grant support and will notify the Osher Center when such papers have been submitted.

Indirect Cost Policy

The intention of the Osher Center Pilot Research Grants is to foster multidisciplinary collaborative projects across institutions. While these limited funds are intended to cover research, rather than administrative costs, we understand that some institutions require a certain proportion of grants to cover indirect and/or modified direct costs.

The Osher Center pilot award will allow up to 15% of the total award to be used as indirect and/or modified direct costs, including any indirect costs associated with sub-awards. We encourage applicants to work with their respective parent and subcontracting institutions, if applicable, to reduce administrative costs if possible so that the maximum amount of the awards can be used for the research projects.

Submitting Letters of Interest

  1. Download RFA Guidelines here
  2. Download LOI template here, and return completed form by email to [email protected] by January 15th, 2020.


Questions about eligibility and the application process may be sent to the Osher Center Program Manager at [email protected].