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Searle Scholars Program

General Information

Program Description

The Searle Scholars program makes grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry who have recently begun their appointment at the assistant professor level and whose appointment is their first tenure-track position at a participating academic or research institution. The Searle Scholars program does not ordinarily support purely clinical research but has supported research programs that include both clinical and basic components.


Schools may submit two (2) applications for Penn’s internal competition.


  • Applicants must be pursuing independent research careers in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and related areas in chemistry, medicine, and the biological sciences.  
  • Applicants should have begun their appointment as an independent investigator at the assistant professor level on or after May 1, 2022. The appointment must be their first tenure-track position (or its nearest equivalent) at an invited institution.  
  • For any sponsored research projects, the applicant must be eligible to serve as Principal Investigator for the project, unless otherwise noted in the LSO. Please see Penn’s PI Eligibility requirements to ensure you are eligible. 

Award Information

  • A research award of $300,000. $100,000 payable each year of the grant. Generally, the program makes 15 new grants each year.
  • Grants are awarded for a three (3) year term.
  • The Searle Scholars Program does not ordinarily support purely clinical research but has supported research programs that include both clinical and basic components. Potential applicants who are unsure if their research is appropriate for the Program are encouraged to examine the research interests of present and former Searle Scholars on their website.
  • Applicants who were nominated for awards in the previous competition year but were not awarded may still meet the eligibility criteria for the current competition.

Review Process

Selection Criteria

The University has been invited to nominate 2 faculty members. A committee, established by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR), will determine the final nominees to represent the University. 

OVPR Internal Review Process

Applications must include the following:

  1. Cover Page which includes:
    • Project Title
    • Candidate’s name, academic rank, department, email address, phone number and campus address.    
  2. Letter of Nomination (maximum 1 page)
  3. Research Proposal (maximum 2 pages) (must include proposal title) (references not included in the 2 page limit).
  4. A CV (maximum 2 pages), which includes educational background, professional appointments, awards and honors. Include all current research support (start-up and external) and pending support, including dollar amounts and start/end dates.
  5. All materials must be submitted in a single PDF document in the above order to
  6. Subject line of the email should be, SEARLE_applicant LAST name_ applicant FIRST name.