Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Award for Young Investigators (12.9.17)

October 10, 2017
By: Julie Poucher Harbin, Writer, DCI

Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Award for Cancer, Immunology and Neuroscience Young Investigators

Funding Agency: Rita Allen Foundation

Since 1976, the Rita Allen Foundation has awarded millions of dollars in grants to early-career biomedical scholars. These grants allow them to establish labs and pursue research directions with above-average risk and promise.

Rita Allen Foundation Scholars have gone on to make transformative contributions to their fields of study, and have won recognition including the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Today, Rita Allen Foundation Scholars receive up to $110,000 per year for a maximum of five years.

The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program funds basic biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology and neuroscience. The Foundation also supports an award for scholars in pain research, who are selected in collaboration with the American Pain Society.

Rita Allen Foundation Scholars are distinguished by their bold approaches to basic scientific questions that address problems of global concern, as well as their potential for learning, leadership and collaboration.

Duke University School of Medicine has been invited to submit one nomination (1). Please note that the agency website listed below does not provide detailed information regarding this invitation.  A detailed description and application instructions will be provided to the nominee once selected. 

Historically, the Rita Allen Foundation has sought research projects with above-average risk that break new ground an challenge the status quo.  While other organizations may shy away from such exposure, Rita Allen Foundation views pioneering efforts as opportunities for the greatest success. 

Application Deadlines

  • Duke Internal: November 2, 2017
  • Letter of Inquiry Due: December 09, 2017 (anticipated)
  • Full Application Due: January 20, 2018 (anticipated)

Areas of Interest

Candidates will show promise of becoming leaders in research in the cure and treatment of diseases in the fields of cancer, immunology and neuroscience.


Junior Faculty

  • Medical
  • Medical - Basic Science
  • Medical - Clinical Science
  • Medical - Translational

* Candidates should be independent investigators in the early stages of their careers and research.
* The caliber of early-stage investigators suggests nominees would be appointed to tenure track positions at their respective institutions.
* It is preferable that candidates be in the first three years of their tenure track. (This is taken into consideration in the rating of applications by the Scientific Advisory Committee.)
* A senior post-doc should not be a candidate; wait until s/he has tenure track as described.
* Associate professors should not be candidates.
* Candidates must have received committed start-up funds from their respective institutions.
* Candidates must have lab space from their institutions.

Applicants with committed awards that overlap the first two years of the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Program from the Beckman Young Investigator Program, Kimmel Scholar Award, Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences and Searle Scholars Program are not eligible. Other sources of funding may influence selection.



Amount Description

Scholars can receive up to $110,000 per year for a maximum of five years. Scholars in Pain Research can be granted $50,000 per year for up to three years.

Funding Type 

Award, Scholarship

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

  1. A letter of support from dean/chair - This should include an assessment of the candidate that can be used for the LOI.
  2. Project summary (no more than 4 pages including references and supporting materials);
  3. An explanation of how this proposal differs from or relates to the candidate’s other supported projects
  4. A detailed curriculum vitae, including the candidate’s address and telephone numbers;
  5. Details of past, current and pending support from other funding sources, both public and non-­‐ public, and the candidate’s role (PI or co-­‐PI); on current projects, provide what percentage of time the candidate is devoting to each

Applicants will need to submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN) https://www.grantinterface.com/Common/LogOn.aspx?eqs=ApVvmgXCk2Uj7AzWyDEJKQ2

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: https://ors.duke.edu/sites/default/files/Applicant Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Agency Website: http://www.ritaallen.org/foundation-scholars.htm#about

Past Duke Awardees

2013: Michael Boyce - Biochemistry

2017: Kate Meyer - Biochemistry