John G. Searle Innovator Awards

Application Dates & Deadlines


Letter of Intent Deadline: April 15, 2022 (5 p.m.)


You can view all currently active funding opportunities here


The John G. Searle Innovator Awards provide pilot funding for innovative, investigator-initiated research. These awards, generously funded by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, are designed to encourage translational research by funding well-designed projects that could be competitive for future larger grants from a federal or private agency. 

Funding amounts and availability 

  • This pilot funding program awards up to two grants annually of up to $50,000 each. 
  • The period of support is one year.  
  • No Cost Extensions (NCE) will not be allowed. 

Who can apply 

  • Applicants can be early career or established investigators.  
  • At least one investigator in the proposal must be an active Rush University faculty member at the assistant professor level or above.  
  • Proposals must be for basic, translational/clinical, health services or community-focused research. Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged.  
  • Applicants may submit only one application as a principal investigator/multiple PIs per award cycle. 
  • Early investigators, women and members of groups underrepresented in research are encouraged to apply. There are no citizenship or residency requirements. 

How to apply 

Please submit your letter of intent (LOI) using the online application form. Your LOI should be a single PDF file that includes the following materials: 

  • A cover page, containing the following: 
    • Grant proposal title 
    • Names of principal investigator/multiple PIs, key personnel and other significant collaborators
  • NIH biosketches (five pages maximum) of the principal investigator/multiple PIs
  • A project summary/abstract in layman’s terms (half page) 
  • A research plan, including the following: 
    • Specific aims (one page) 
    • Research strategy (two pages): Significance, innovation and approach 
    • Environment and facilities (half page) 

Based on the letters of inquiry submitted, full proposals will be solicited by invitation only by the end June 2022.

Contact Us

Norma Sandoval
norma_sandoval@rush.edu