Program Description & Guidelines

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation supports research that is potentially transformative to diagnosing, treating and curing Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The Innovator Awards program provides $100,000 grants for one-year research projects, which due to their ground-breaking nature, may not be suitable for funding from more traditional sources, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To date, we have funded projects in the following areas:

  • Bioengineering
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Epithelial Cell/Molecular Biology
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplant
  • Immunity and Inflammation
  • Microbiome
  • Therapeutic Development and Delivery

If you are submitting a clinical research proposal, we encourage you to include basic scientific methodologies to examine the underlying mechanisms of the proposed intervention/treatment.

Funding criteria include:

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



Researchers from any scientific discipline at non-profit research institutions worldwide are eligible for funding. Funded institutions must provide evidence of tax exempt 501(c)3 status and must be classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a). For institutions outside of the United States, please complete the Foreign Equivalency Affidavit form. 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.

Letter of Inquiry – Due February 15, 2016 by 5:00 PM (PST).

  1. You will need to complete our Letter of Inquiry (LOI), a brief online form, between January 15 and February 15, annually.  
  2. A NIH biosketch is required at the time of LOI submission. NIH biosketch template and instructions can be found here.
  3. 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 by April 15, 2016.

Full Innovator Award Proposal – Due May 16, 2016 by 5:00 PM (PST).

  1. Full proposals are by invitation only and consist of an expanded description of project objectives, milestones, and a project budget.
  2. Full applications are evaluated by the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board and successful applications are approved by the Board of Directors.
  3. Awards will be announced in September 2016.

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

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