The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation Grants

The mission of the Kaufman Foundation is to support fundamental research in biology, chemistry, and physics at Pennsylvania institutions of higher education. The Kaufman Foundation grants to institutes of higher learning in Pennsylvania for scientists pursuing research that explores their field’s essential questions and/or crosses disciplinary boundaries.

Mr. Kaufman believed in the potential impact of fundamental, curiosity-driven science and the strength of working across interdisciplinary boundaries. He also recognized the importance of supporting early and mid-career scientists, while acknowledging the major accomplishments achieved after a lifetime of high-impact contributions. When he died in 2010, Charles Kaufman, a respected chemical engineer, left $50 million to The Pittsburgh Foundation of which $40 million is earmarked for continuing his life-long commitment to scientific research with the potential to improve human life. Since 2013, and including 2017, the Foundation has awarded 43 grants totaling $9.1 million. 

“Charles Kaufman recognizes the potential of scientists, particularly those at the beginnings of their careers to achieve breakthroughs in the core scientific disciplines of biology, physics and chemistry and where those fields intersect,” said Maxwell King, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation. “His bequest demonstrates the importance of fostering a culture of scientific innovation and interdisciplinary research,” said King.

Grants are awarded in two categories: grants to New Investigators and grants for New Initiatives. Grants in the New Investigator grant category are generally awarded to scientists transitioning to independent appointments and those newly pursuing independent research. The grant empowers scientists at the beginning of their careers as they seek to make a mark in their fields. New Initiatives Grants are awarded to teams reexamining questions beyond the capacity of any one individual researcher. Fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, those grants require that each researcher have a novel approach to the topic in question. Both categories support work in either the fundamental principles of the researchers’ field or interdisciplinary research examining the interaction and overlap of two or more fields.

New Investigators

  • Goal : The goal of the New Investigator Research Grants is to provide research support for innovative basic 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.  Applied or clinical studies will not be supported.  Competitive applications are expected to be rich in innovative ideas and approaches with the potential for generating transformative intellectual advances.
  • Eligibility : 
    • 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.
    • Faculty must have a full-time tenure track appointment at the rank of assistant or associate professor without tenure.  Please indicate the start date of your current appointment.
    • Applicants must have received a higher degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) within the past eight years or after 1/1/2010. 
    • 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.
    •  Only one application from an investigator each year is permitted. A PI on a New Investigator proposal is ineligible to apply as a PI in the New Initiative category.
    • An eligible institution may submit multiple LOIs from different researchers and distinct project.
  • Letter of Intent Deadline : Friday, January 26, 2018, 11:59pm
  • Full Application Deadline : Friday, April 27, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

New Initiatives

  • Goal : The goal of the New Initiative Research Grants is to stimulate existing investigators with strong records of research accomplishments to establish collaborations that facilitate innovative interdisciplinary approaches towards a common research question and that require expertise beyond that of any single researcher.  Investigators may be at different institutions or in the same department and institution, provided that different approaches are combined to address a new research initiative. Proposals are required to address basic (fundamental, pure) questions addressing core principals in biology, physics and chemistry or at the disciplinary boundaries between these fields.  Applied or clinical studies will not be supported.  Competitive applications are expected to be rich in innovative ideas and approaches with the potential for generating 
  • Eligibility : 
    • There must be at least two investigators both with primary appointments at a Pennsylvania Institution of higher education, who are either United States citizens or lawful permanent residents by the LOI deadline.  One faculty member must be identified at the Principal Investigator, and his or her institution as the Lead Institution. Other investigators should be identified as co-investigators. All principal and co-investigators must hold appointments within Pennsylvania-based colleges and universities.
    • Investigators must have a full-time tenured or tenure-track appointment.
    • The investigators should reflect expertise in distinct disciplines or subdisciplines in biology, chemistry or physics.  While these disciplines and subdisciplines can be broadly defined, it should be clear that different approaches are represented at addressing a specific research question.
    • The proposed research must be a new initiative and not currently funded from other sources.
    • Only one application from each team of investigators is permitted. An eligible institution may submit multiple LOIs from different researchers and distinct projects. A faculty member may not be a Principal Investigator on more than one proposal, but s/he may be included as a Co-investigator on more than one proposal.
  • Letter of Intent Deadline : Friday, January 26, 2018, 11:59pm
  • Full Application Deadline : Friday, April 27, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

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