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Innovation Grants in the Basic and Social Sciences Funding Opportunity FAQ’s 

Full Application FAQ's


Q: To whom should the letter of matching funds be addressed?

A: The letter of matching funds should be addressed to the Dean's Innovation Grants Funding Opportunity Review Committee.


Q: Could you please provide details about the budget pages that you require with the full application submissions?


  • An HMS Quad PI would submit detailed PHS398 Page 4 budgets for each year (e.g. the period 7/1/18 to 6/30/20) for at total of up to $300,000 (up to $150,000 per year). 
  • An affiliate co- PI would submit detailed PHS398 Page 4 budget information for each year of their request from the Dean’s Initiative Program, for at total of up to $150,000 (up to $75,000 per year). It is up to the affiliate institution whether they want to include IDC as part of the $75,000 budget.
  • An affiliate co- PI would also submit additional PHS398 Page 4 budget information for the two year period for the matching funds not provided by HMS, for at total of $150,000 ($75,000 per year). It is up to the affiliate institution whether they want to include IDC as part of this $75,000 budget.


Q: Can administrative and space costs be included in the budget?

A: Grant administrative costs are allowable.  Space costs (indirect costs) can be part of the budget for non-HMS space only.


Q: Should we prepare PHS 398 page 4 detail budget only for initial year or both years? If for both years, do we need 1 detail budget page for 2 years or separate budget page for each year?

A: A separate detailed budget is required for both year 1 and year 2 of the award.


Q: Is it allowable to budget data?

A: Yes, the budget can include funds to purchase datasets and/or to pay for data storage.


Q: If the PI's salary is over the cap, should we budget 5% capped salary, or 5% of actual salary?

A: You should budget 5% of the PI's actual salary.


Q: Is there a salary cap for participating PIs?

A: No, there is no salary cap.


Q: Can you provide any general pointers about content as I begin to write my research proposal?


  • Scientific proposals should be written so that they are accessible to a non-specialist HMS faculty audience. The review committee is comprised of representatives from all HMS Quad Departments, and committee members do not participate in discussions of applications from their own Departments.
  • Highlight the significance of the proposed project.  Make very clear statements about how it will make an important impact.
  • Describe clearly how the proposed project will be leveraged to raise grant funding in the near future. Which grant mechanisms are you planning to apply for in the next 12-18 months?
  • [For collaborative proposals] Describe how the planned collaboration adds value to the project.


Q: As an HMS department with the PI for the project, are we able to take the 69.5% IDC?

A: No, HMS Departments do not take IDC from awarded funds.


Q: Do you limit the amount of indirect costs that can be requested from an outside institution?

A: No, there is no limit for the amount of indirect costs that can be requested from an outside institution; this is at the discretion of the outside institution.



Letter of Intent FAQ's


Q: How do I register my intent to apply for the Innovation Grants?

A: To register your intent to apply for an Innovation Grant, simply visit the ApplyHub site HERE, log in with your HarvardKey credentials, and begin an application.  Please identify who will be the PI and the Co-PI on the proposal.  Once you have clicked save, we will have a record of your initiated application which serves as your registration.  You do not need to submit your LOI until the deadline on 2/28/2018.


Q: Can indirect costs be charged to Innovation Grants?

A: Indirect costs can be charged to the Dean’s Award. In the Overview and Goals section of the RFA (Section III) it states: "Indirect costs required by other Harvard schools or HMS-affiliated institutions must be budgeted within the award from the Dean’s Initiative. No additional funds to cover indirect costs will be provided.”  The HMS-affiliated institution would specify the amount it required.


Q: What is the mechanism by which the co-funding from affiliates is vetted or demonstrated?

A: A convincing letter of support from the Department Head or Chief will be required at full application stage.  This letter needs to include a guarantee of matching funds from the affiliate institution.  The LOI will need to make mention of how funds will be matched.


Q: Who will be reviewing the LOI and full application submissions?

A: LOI and full application submissions will be vetted and reviewed by a committee comprised of faculty members representing all HMS Quad basic science and social science departments.


Q: Can HMS faculty based in affiliate institutions use start-up funds to match funding from the award?

A: Faculty can use their own start-up funds if they are tenure-track (Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor), have independent space in the affiliate institution, and have been recruited in the last three years.  A signature from their Department Chair/Chief acknowledging this use of start-up funds will be required.


Q: I am a PI in the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Department (SCRB).  Am I eligible to apply for an Innovative Grant?

A: For the purposes of applying and being reviewed for an Innovative Grant, Cambridge-based SCRB faculty will be considered HMS Quad-based faculty and therefore eligible to apply as a PI.  Hospital-based SCRB faculty will be considered Harvard affiliate faculty and eligible to apply as part of a collaboration with a HMS Quad faculty PI.


Q: What applicable intellectual property terms apply to this award?

A: It is anticipated that intellectual property may be developed through work on projects funded by the Innovation Grant program.  Regardless of the location at which the work is performed (whether in facilities of Harvard or of an HMS-affiliated Institution:

•if co-PI or other employee of an HMS-affiliated institution creates intellectual property through work on a project funded by the Innovation Grant program, the employing institution will own his or her interest in that intellectual property; and

•if any PI or other individual employed by or enrolled as a student at Harvard creates intellectual property through work on a project funded by the Innovation Grant program, Harvard will own his or her interest in that intellectual property.


All inquiries related to the application process, eligibility, and/or scientific research areas should be directed to Anna Frye, deansinitiatives@hms.harvard.edu.