Researchers from any scientific discipline worldwide are eligible for funding. Typically, the researchers we fund hold advanced degrees (MD, PhD or the equivalent) and academic positions at universities, medical centers or research institutions. Innovator Awards may have only one principal investigator, and funding is awarded to their home institution; however, additional investigators may be listed as co-investigators.

Eligible Institutions
All non-profit institutions that are invited to submit a full proposal must provide evidence of tax exempt 501(c)3 status and must be classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a)(3). Non-profit institutions outside of the United States will be required to undergo Equivalency Determination with NGOsource if awarded funding. For-profit institutions must demonstrate that their proposed project furthers the Foundation’s charitable mission of promoting scientific and medical research. The Foundation may upon occasion make grants to government and public agencies, as well as to independent projects that have a qualified tax-exempt fiscal sponsor.

The Foundation does not fund: direct assistance to individuals or individual sponsorships; sports, athletic events or league sponsorships; advertising or promotional sponsorships; deficits or retroactive funding; fraternal organizations; organizations that discriminate based on religion, race, sexual orientation or gender.

Use of Human and Animal Subjects
Grant recipients using human or animal subjects must provide documentation of approval from the appropriate review committee before Foundation funds can be released.


Application Process

All grant application materials must be submitted using the Foundation’s online application system, which is only open during the grant submission window. The grant application template and questions are not available outside of our application timeframe.

Applying for an Innovator Award is a two-step process. Please refer to the Awards Calendar for this year’s schedule.

1. Letter of Inquiry (Available: January 15 –  February 15, 2018, 5:00pm PST)

  • Includes a brief description of your innovative idea and the approach you will take to address your research questions.
  • A NIH biosketch, for the principal investigator and any co-investigators, is required at the time of LOI submission. NIH template and instructions.

Have questions about the Innovator Award including eligibility, research scope or the grant process? Click here to contact Laura Wilson, PhD, Director, Health Strategy & Ventures.

To apply now, simply click the button below. If you are a new applicant, complete a quick one-time registration in our online grants system by clicking the “New Applicant” button. Please contact our Grants Officer, Mia deJesus, with any online system-related questions.

To resume work on a saved application, log into your account using the “Resume Application” button below. If you intend to continue work on an LOI in progress, be sure to click “Save and Finish Later” before exiting the system.



2. Full Innovator Award Proposal

  • Full proposals are by invitation only and consist of an expanded description of project objectives, methodologies and milestones to test the innovative idea, project budget, and disclosure of other financial support.
  • The goals outlined in the proposal should be achievable within a year. Innovator Award recipients may be eligible for additional funding based on their progress.
  • If you have any current funding for projects that may be perceived as overlapping with your Innovator Award proposal, you will be required to submit the proposal abstract(s) and specific aims with your application.
  • U.S. non-profit institutions must provide evidence of tax exempt 501(c)3 status.
  • If selected for funding, international institutions will be required to undergo Equivalency Determination with NGOSource.


Budget Guidelines

Full Innovator Award proposals (by invitation only) must include a budget and description using the template provided. All necessary research costs can be budgeted, including personnel, reagents, supplies and equipment.

Please download the Innovator Award Budget Template to submit with your proposal.

Budget Amount
The Innovator Award is for a maximum of $200,000. The budget must reflect the total amount requested, up to $200,000, which may include up to 10% for indirect costs.

Principal Investigator Salary
The maximum amount allowed for the Principal Investigator’s salary is $10,000 USD. If co-investigator(s) are listed on the proposal, the maximum salary support for all Investigators is $20,000 total. This maximum value does not apply to other research personnel (e.g. post-doctoral fellows, research associates, students) to be funded by the award.

Indirect Costs
The maximum indirect costs (overhead) that can be requested are 10% of total direct costs. Once a grant has been awarded, funds cannot be transferred out of direct costs to cover indirect or overhead costs, even if the indirect cost was less than the maximum allowed.

The principal investigator is required to attend Rainin Foundation’s annual Innovations Symposium in the year of the award. Travel costs to attend the Rainin Foundation’s annual meeting must be included in the proposal budget.

  • The annual Innovations Symposium is a two to three-day meeting held each year in July in San Francisco, California.
  • A maximum of $2,000 USD can be budgeted for travel to the annual meeting. Eligible costs include: Economy/coach airfare and other transportation. The Rainin Foundation will host hotel expenses for grantees.
  • Innovator Award funding cannot be used to cover travel to attend other scientific meetings.


Award Period

The award period starts October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year.


Annual Meeting

Grant recipients are required to attend the Foundation’s annual Innovations Symposium held in July, and may be required to present their work to the general attendees. Grantees are invited to bring a trainee who is working on the project to the Symposium.


Progress Reports
All health program grantees are required to submit narrative and budget progress reports annually in June using the Foundation’s online grants management system. In addition, grantees whose projects are eligible for renewed funding will provide oral presentations to the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Final Reports
A final budget and technical report must be submitted to the Foundation within 60 days of the grant end date using the Foundation’s online grants management system.

If you have questions about the Innovator Awards program, please contact Laura Wilson.