New Investigator Guidelines

Through this New Investigator grant, the MRF supports promising new investigators in biomedical research. Principal investigators must be at the beginning of an independent career with a faculty position at one of Oregon's colleges or universities. A letter of support from the department chair or the institute director must accompany each application describing the independence of the principal investigator and the commitment of the unit to that investigator and their research program.

The maximum award for an NI grant is $50,000.


  1. New Investigator grants are intended for physicians and scientists who are new to research and are not or have not been PIs on major national grants (career development award recipients are eligible). The MRF uses criteria similar to the NIH Early Stage Investigator Policies 
  2. Basic and applied studies must relate to human health. Proposals to develop or perfect a technology are generally given below average priority scores unless that technology can be used to answer basic questions and unless the technology can be the basis for further research.
  3. New Investigators are strongly encouraged to seek the assistance of experienced mentors in the preparation of their proposal, as well as to guide their career development. Please list mentors if available. Their letters of support and biosketches, while optional, can be included in the body of the application.
  4. Applicants are expected to be members of the faculty of an academic department/institute and to have strong support from their department/institute. The primary goal of the grant is to enable new faculty members to improve their likelihood of obtaining national support (e.g., NIH, NSF). In this way, the grant can encourage the establishment of outstanding investigators based at Oregon academic centers.
  5. The PI must be an independent scientist, defined by: Rank at the level of assistant professor or equivalent; committed institutional support such as space and/or salary; first authored or senior authored publications; and planned or pending application for funding on a national level.
  6. An associate professor can be eligible for a New Investigator grant under very limited circumstances. If the PI is new to research and has been promoted to associate professor for their clinical duties, they can request an exception in their cover letter.
  7. Postdoctoral fellows, other trainees, visiting scientists, and other investigators not appointed with the expectation of long-term departmental/institutional support are not eligible to apply as PIs.
  8. Funding requests will be judged primarily on the basis of scientific merit. However, other factors (such as other sources of research funding available to the investigator, the likelihood that MRF seed funding will result in a nationally supported research program, etc.) will be considered.
  9. Grants are not made for expensive items of equipment. However, requests will be considered when such equipment will enjoy wide use by a number of investigators or when it will make possible research of unique value. All equipment becomes the property of the grantee institution.
  10. Proposals should not overlap with established funding with the exception that a new investigator may be permitted some overlapping funding if it is essential to establish a laboratory.
  11. The research facility with which the applicant is affiliated must be fully prepared to accommodate the project in terms of the PI’s salary and space.
  12. A letter from the applicant’s Department Chair regarding the status of their independence is to be submitted separately using the InfoReady competitive application portal within seven days of the application deadline. The letter of support from the Department Chair/Institute Director is essential and must clearly attest to the level of commitment offered to the applicant. Specific information on the commitment should include the assignment of individual and independent space (sq. ft.), departmental/institute salary (percent support), research support (amount of support or start-up package), voting privileges in faculty forums, appointment as the result of a national search, and tenure-track status. Of greatest importance are a faculty appointment and the provision of tangible, stable support (e.g., space, salary) that demonstrate a clear commitment to the applicant’s long-term development as an independent investigator in Oregon. Uncertainty as to the level of this support can lessen enthusiasm for the funding request during its review.
  13. Strong preference is given to proposals that have the potential to evolve into ongoing, nationally supported projects.
  14. Research involving human subjects, animals or recombinant DNA must be approved by the appropriate institutional review board (IRB/IACUC/IBC). Investigators are encouraged to submit this application simultaneously, but it is not a requirement. Note, however, that no funds will be distributed until IRB/IACUC/IBC approval is obtained.

Preparation of Proposal

There are two components of an MRF grant application: the InfoReady form and the PDF application packet.

Applicant’s name, appointment, address, fiscal contact and grants and contracts coordinator are entered into the InfoReady online form, as well as well as the email addresses for the Department Chair’s reference letter.

Applicants must also answer a number of questions regarding their project and a 250-word (maximum) abstract.

All other required components of the applications must be combined into a single PDF and uploaded to the InfoReady competitive application portal. The type font should be no smaller than 11 point, and side margins of at least one inch should be used for the body of the grant. (NIH- style biosketches can be submitted with NIH font and margin guidelines). Please supply all information requested. Failure to do so may cause the application to be administratively withdrawn.

An institutional approval letter signed by the "Responsible Official" for the institution should be included in the application indicating name, title, phone number, and signature. The person signing for the institution is a matter of institutional preference. This is generally the Vice President of Research. However, contact OPAM (OHSU) or your Research Office to determine your institution’s preference.

The order of the required documents combined in the single PDF is as follows:

  1. Cover letter (required for resubmission only; include a concise response to previous reviews)
  2. Previous MRF written reviews (required for resubmission only)
  3. Specific Aims (one page)
  4. Research plan (six pages)
  5. Literature cited
  6. PI's biosketch in current NIH format
  7. Budget explanation and justification
  8. Previous, current, and pending support: List all major funding you have received for the past 10 years. For each category (current, previous, pending), list the following: Type of award, project title, PI, amount of annual budget, number of years, dates, one-sentence description of the project, and role in the project if you are not the PI. For current and pending projects, please note any scientific overlap with the proposed project. Append summary budget pages and abstracts for all current and pending support for all research projects for which you are the principal investigator or a co- investigator. If you do not have any current, previous, or pending support, please include the document and write NONE. (This is so we know the document has not been omitted.)
  9. Address your career development plans under a separate header at the end of the application (1-2 paragraphs)
  10. Other information as needed (e.g., collaborative letters of support, biosketches, abstracts, appendices).
  11. Institutional approval letter

A letter addressing the items listed in guideline 12 above is to be submitted separately by the Department Chair through the InfoReady competitive application portal.

When resubmitting, any materials associated with the original application, including support letters and forms, must be updated and resubmitted. No previously submitted materials or previous reviews will be transferred to a resubmission.

Only applications received by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline date will be accepted for the related review meeting. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.