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Research Catalyst Award

From time to time, RUSH University provides interim financial support for an endeavor advanced by a faculty investigator who has received strong scores on an application for a research or program grant (or the equivalent) submitted to a federal agency, but just missed funding. The Research Catalyst Award provides resources that help researchers bolster their grant application, increasing the likelihood of funding upon resubmission.


Funding amounts and availability

  • RUSH University funds four awards per year of up to $50,000 each, subject to available funding.
  • Applicants may receive only one award per proposal. Award recipients must wait three years to apply on behalf of a different proposal.
  • The period of support is one year; however, if the award recipient receives federal funding within that year, any unused Research Catalyst Award funds must be returned to RUSH.



Award recipients are required to do the following:

  • Commit at least 10% of their research effort to the proposed research. PIs may request salary coverage for this effort.
  • Resubmit the just-missed proposal to a federal funding agency within one year of receiving the Research Catalyst Award.
  • Serve on internal grant review committees during the period of the award.
  • Submit progress reports after six months and one year.


Who can apply

  • Applicants must be active RUSH University faculty members at the assistant professor level or above. (Instructors may apply if the department chair submits a letter indicating that they will be promoted to assistant professor by the award date.)
  • Applicants must be the principal investigator on a recently scored federal grant in the 20th percentile or better that did not receive funding.
  • The project must be an innovative translational, basic science, clinical, population-based or health services grant.
  • PIs on other active federal R- or P-type grants (or their equivalents) are not eligible, unless the area of science of the just-missed proposal is a major departure from their federally funded area of research.
  • Early career investigators, women and members of groups underrepresented in research are encouraged to apply. There are no citizenship or residency requirements.
  • PI may not have an endowment.


How to apply

Please complete the online application form. You will be asked to upload the following materials:

  • An NIH bio sketch of the principal investigator
  • Your scored grant, summary statement and priority score
  • A two-page plan describing how you will respond to the critiques of the original federal grant application and what additional research you propose to do to strengthen your resubmission application
  • Your budget (PHS 398, pages 4 and 5)

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed rapidly. Proposals will be evaluated based on the priority score, the remediation plan and the perceived feasibility of mounting an adequate response to the reviewer’s critiques within one year.

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