Program Description & Guidelines

Our Innovator Awards Program for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research provides $100,000 grants for a one-year proof of principle research project. Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) are accepted online January 15 – February 15, annually.

The Foundation supports research projects that are potentially transformative to diagnosing, treating and curing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The Program is open to tenure track professors (or the equivalent) at all levels from any scientific discipline and from any non-profit research institution worldwide. Interdisciplinary collaboration is strongly encouraged.

Funding criteria include:

  • Innovation
  • Scientific merit
  • Strong evidence of collaboration
  • Investigator capability to execute project

We fund projects that may not be eligible for funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other more traditional sources due to their innovative nature.



The Foundation funds organizations that are exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code and are classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a). 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
  • Start-up organizations
  • 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

Application Process

Applying for an Innovator Award is a two-step process.

1) All applicants must submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). LOIs are accepted online January 15 – February 15, annually. The one page online application includes the basic idea and the central experiment. The LOI template and questions are not available outside of the LOI time frame. A NIH biosketch is also required, NIH biosketch instructions can be found here.

2) The Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) will determine which applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Applicant selection will primarily be based on the project’s  alignment with the Foundation’s Innovator Awards Program criteria. All applicants will be notified about the status of their LOI on April 15, 2015. Full online applications, which will consist of an expanded LOI and a one-page budget, will be due May 15th. Based on the SAB’s recommendations, final selections will be made by the Foundation’s Board in July and announced in August of each program year.

Please review our FAQs before starting the application process. If you have questions about the Innovator Awards, please contact Health Program Staff.