Innovator Awards FAQs - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Innovator Awards FAQs

Explore frequently asked questions about our Innovator Awards, which support worldwide Inflammatory Bowel Disease research.


What research areas does the Foundation fund?

Our funding spans the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical science that could lead to new, transformative discoveries for the prediction, diagnostics, treatment and prevention of IBD. Learn more about the research areas and researchers we support.

When can I apply?

See the Innovator Awards Calendar for application dates.

Does the research project have to be completed in one year?

The goals outlined in the proposal should be achievable within a year. Based on progress, grant recipients may be awarded up to two additional years of funding.


I am a current or former grantee. Can I apply for an Innovator Award?

All current and former Rainin Foundation grantees are eligible to apply for an Innovator Award. Principal Investigators can apply in consecutive years and an institution may also apply again with the same or different Principal Investigator(s). We do not limit the number of grants an investigator or institution may receive in the same or subsequent years.

Am I eligible to apply for a Rainin Foundation grant if I have not previously received funding for IBD-related research?

The Foundation welcomes proposals from investigators from any scientific discipline who want to apply their work to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research. We fund basic, translational and clinical science that could lead to new, transformative discoveries for IBD. For example, Dr. Gwendalyn Randolph, a long-time researcher of lymphatics and cellular transport, received early-stage funding from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation to take her basic science knowledge of lymphatics and apply it to IBD with a team of clinical collaborators.

What type of organizations are eligible for funding?

All nonprofit research institutions within and outside the United States are eligible for funding. For-profit institutions within and outside the United States may apply and must demonstrate that their proposed project furthers the Foundation’s charitable mission of advancing biomedical research.

Do applicants need to be a tenure-track professor?

No, applicants do not need to be tenure-track professors. However, it must be clear that the applicant has the ability and institutional support to carry out the proposed research. Postdocs are not eligible to apply as a Principal Investigator. For non-tenure-track applicants, we suggest collaborating with colleagues within your institution and request that you provide details of your position, lab space and resources in your biosketch.

Can I submit more than one proposal at a time?

Applicants may submit more than one proposal at a time as long as there are distinct aims and objectives for each proposal submitted.

Can an institution submit more than one proposal at a time?

Yes, we do not limit the number of proposals that can be submitted from a single institution during each grant proposal cycle.

If my proposal is declined, can I reapply for the same project?

Applicants can reapply for the same project if their proposal has been declined. However, in these cases we strongly recommend you email Health Program Staff prior to resubmission to discuss your project.

Budget & Expenses

Does the Foundation pay indirect costs?

The total allowable budget of $150,000 for individual researchers or $300,000 USD for collaborative research teams is inclusive of indirect costs. Your budget may include up to 10 percent for indirect costs. If there is a subaward, the lead institution can include an additional 10 percent of indirect costs on the first $25,000 USD of the subaward. Once a grant has been awarded, funds cannot be transferred from direct costs to cover indirect or overhead costs, even if the indirect cost is less than the maximum allowed.

Does the Foundation pay for salary support?

Salary support for Principal Investigators is capped at $10,000 USD per Principal Investigator, which includes fringe benefits. If Co-Investigators are listed on the proposal, the maximum salary support for each of them is $10,000 USD, which includes fringe benefits. The maximum salary support for all investigators combined is $30,000 USD total. Salary support for other personnel (e.g., post-doctoral fellows, research associates, students) is not capped.

Can grant funds be used to purchase equipment?

Grant funds can be used to purchase equipment only when the equipment is directly related to and supports the proposed research. Indirect costs may not be charged to equipment over $5,000 USD. Funding may not be used to purchase large capital equipment.

Can grant funds be used for travel?

All budgets must include transportation costs for Principal Investigators to attend our annual Innovations Symposium in July. We also encourage budgets to include transportation costs for a trainee to attend the Innovations Symposium. The Foundation believes that trainees have important contributions to offer to the field, and their careers benefit from the Symposium’s networking opportunities. Grant funds cannot be used for any other travel costs.

Application Process

Will the Foundation discuss proposal ideas prior to submission?

Yes, we encourage potential applicants to email Health Program Staff to discuss their research ideas.

Does the Foundation accept proposals by regular mail or email?

The Foundation does not accept printed or emailed grant proposals. All grant proposals must be submitted through our online grants management system, GivingData, which is only available during the open application period.

Who reviews the grant proposals?

Proposals are peer reviewed and include the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. Funding criteria include innovation, scientific merit and investigator capability to execute the project.

Does the Foundation provide feedback to applicants?

We provide comments on full Innovator Award proposals that are not selected for funding. We do not provide feedback on Innovator Award Letters of Inquiry due to the volume of submissions we receive.

Demographic Data Collection

Why are we collecting demographic data, and why is it valuable?

The Health Program and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation as an institution have committed to equity as a core value that drives our mission. We request that applicants provide us with demographic information about Principal and Co-Principal Investigators because it is critical in advancing equity in our work as funders.

We collect demographic data to:

  • understand who our grants serve;
  • uncover bias and access barriers in our programs, processes, and strategies;
  • assess how our programs and processes impact outcomes, particularly for specific communities; and
  • ensure the equitable distribution of Foundation resources.

How will we use demographic data in our decision-making process?

We will explore the data in aggregate to:

  • examine trends
  • identify results that indicate bias
  • identify gaps in outreach, support and accessibility; and
  • make improvements to our programmatic processes and strategies.

We will not use the data to determine eligibility and will not exclude any applicant from consideration based on their responses, including declining to state.

This information will help us in our work to equitably allocate the Foundation’s resources.

What demographic information are we collecting?

We request demographic information from the Principal and any Co-Principal Investigators about how they publicly self-identify in the following categories. Applicants have the option to “decline to state.” We will not use the data to determine eligibility and will not exclude any applicant from consideration based on their responses, including declining to state.

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Sexuality
  • Disability

We also collect information about the Principal and any Co-Principal Investigators’ academic degrees, career status (e.g., early career), experience in the IBD field, and current and previous IBD funding. These fields do not have a “decline to state” option.

How are we collecting demographic information?

We collect demographic data via grant applications when an applicant adds or updates a Principal or Co-Principal Investigator’s contact information. Responses then get stored in the Principal or Co-Principal Investigator’s contact record.

Where is the demographic data stored?

GivingData: Responses live in the Principal and Co-Principal Investigator’s contact records in GivingData, the Foundation’s Grants Management System (GMS). Contact records are hosted securely by GivingData in the United States. All data and documents in GivingData are encrypted, both at rest and in transit, with 256-bit data encryption. Databases utilize Transparent Data Encryption, which protects both data and log files, using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

SharePoint: Documents stored within GivingData are securely hosted on the Foundation’s Microsoft SharePoint environment. External parties do not have access to the Foundation’s internal SharePoint sites. SharePoint is also stored in the United States.

Who has access to individual demographic data/directly identifying information?

Foundation Staff: Foundation staff with access to our Grants Management System (GMS) can access its stored data, including contact records. All Giving Area, Grants Management and IT staff, along with certain Finance staff, have GMS access.

External Stakeholders and Vendors:

  • GivingData, our GMS vendor, has access to our system in its entirety.
  • The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) makes Health funding recommendations and advises on strategies to improve outcomes for IBD patients. The SAB has access to individual race and gender response data only. They do not have access to the Foundation’s GMS.
  • The Health Program contracts with the American Institute of Biological Science (AIBS) to support the application review process. AIBS does not have access to any individual response data, nor can they access the Foundation’s GMS.
  • Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) are peer-reviewed. Peer reviewers do not have access to any individual response data, nor can they access the Foundation’s GMS.

Applicants/Grantees: Anyone with access to the applicant or grantee’s Kenneth Rainin Foundation Grantee Portal account can view the application data within.

Who has access to aggregate data?

Foundation Board of Directors and Staff: The Health program shares anonymous, aggregate applicant and grantee data with our Board and Foundation staff who do not have access to the GMS. For example, we summarize the data through descriptive statistics and visualize it in charts and graphics in our Board books and presentations. When sharing data at this stage, we remove any personal information that could identify applicants and grantees.

Consultants, External Stakeholders and Vendors: The Foundation may share anonymous, aggregate applicant and grantee data with consultants, external stakeholders and vendors. When sharing data at this stage, we remove any personal information that could identify applicants and grantees.

What about consent?

A key intention for sharing the information above is to support applicants in making informed decisions about what identity information they share. We want to respect the agency of our applicants and grantees. Applicants can share all, some or none of their demographic data without penalty via the “decline to state” response. Contact our Health Program or Grants Management Team with questions about the demographic fields and how we use your responses.