Fund Details
Star-Friedman Challenge for Promising Scientific Research 2019


The Star-Friedman Challenge for Promising Scientific Research (formerly known as the Star Family Challenge for Promising Scientific Research), provides seed funding to interdisciplinary high-risk, high-impact projects in the life, physical and social sciences. Early-stage projects that are unlikely to receive funding from traditional grant-making agencies are encouraged. Established in 2013 by a generous gift to Harvard University at the suggestion of James A. Star, AB (1983), the program is expanding in the 2018-19 academic year through a gift from Joshua Friedman, AB (1976), MBA (1980), JD (1982) and Beth Friedman to invite proposal submissions from Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) in addition to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Award recipients will present and discuss their projects with a range of scholars in multiple disciplines at a Challenge event on May 10, 2019, prior to receipt of funding.

Application Information:

To apply, please submit a one- to two-page proposal (one inch margins, 11 point font or larger) that briefly addresses the following:
  1. What questions are you trying to answer in this project? What problem are you addressing and why is it important?
  2. How will you approach the problem, and how does your approach differ from others? How does your experience enable you to approach the problem in an innovative way?
  3. What kind of impact could your project have? How will you measure results?
  4. Who will be involved in your project, and what resources will be required? Within your one- to two-page proposal narrative, please provide rough budget estimates for (a) personnel, (b) equipment, and (c) other. There is no prescribed format for presenting this information. Faculty are encouraged to work closely with their grant administrators to develop a budget. Indirect costs should not be included.
A third page may be used for graphics and/or references.

Applicants must also submit a two-page biosketch. In addition, you may submit a two-page biosketch for any collaborators involved in the project.

Applications must be submitted online by clicking the Apply button in the top right corner of this page. Applications must be submitted by February 28, 2019 by 5:00PM.

Eligibility Criteria:

This competition is open to ladder faculty members in the four participating schools (HMS, HSPH, FAS and SEAS). In HMS, this program is open to ladder faculty (assistant professors, associate professors, and professors) who have primary appointments in the HMS basic and social science departments AND whose laboratories are located on the HMS Quadrangle. In HSPH, eligible PIs include primary Harvard Chan School ladder faculty whose research operation is based at the Harvard Chan School. Collaborative proposals are welcome but the lead investigator on the application must hold a ladder faculty appointment at HMS, HSPH, FAS or SEAS. Funding may only be requested to support work that will be done by FAS, SEAS, HMS, or HSPH investigators.

Review Criteria:

Applications will be evaluated for their significance, innovation, potential impact, interdisciplinarity, and the ability of the applicant or team of applicants to successfully carry out the project.

Additional Information, Related Websites, and Proxy Instructions:

Complete guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at .

Please contact Jennifer Corby, Research Development Officer (, or Susan Gomes, Director of Research Development and Strategy (, for more information about this program.

Search Filters:

  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Harvard Medical School (Quad)
    • Assistant Professor
    • Associate Professor
    • Professor
    • Other Academic/Research Appointment
      Type of Competition
      • Harvard Internal Funding
        • Basic Science
        • Clinical Science
        • Engineering
        • Life Science
        • Population Science
        • Multidisciplinary
        • Physical Science
        • Social/Behavioral Science
        • Translational Science
        • Other
          Type of Award
          • Research
            Begin Accepting Applications Date:
            Deadline Date (EST Time Zone):
            2/28/2019 5:00 PM