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UW 2017 Innovation Awards

Posted: 9/8/2016 (Funding)

For more than 150 years, the University of Washington has been a place where the imagination thrives. New discoveries are made every day in laboratories across campus, where faculty, staff and students work together to tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems. Many of the challenges confronting people today in areas such as climate, disease and health care require fundamental discovery-based research that is novel in its approach and has the ability to break open new territory in a field. The University of Washington Innovation Awards will fuel innovative research that addresses problems of humanity.

Innovation Research Awards seeded through existing gift funds from the President’s office are to support unusually creative early and mid-career faculty in health, natural, social and engineering sciences. Innovative discovery-based individual research or smaller scale collaborative research projects will be supported rather than extensions of large-scale ongoing research programs. The goal is to foster high-payoff work that promises to be transformational but for which other funding sources are limited.

The Innovation Awards will encourage, nurture, bring together, and celebrate creative thinkers in the area. A second purpose of the Innovation Awards is to increase public awareness of academic innovation in hopes of stimulating philanthropic support for additional innovation awards.

Innovation Research awards will be made each year in selected areas that will be rotated each year. For FY 17, awards will be available in the biomedical sciences and in the life sciences. Applications that address any fundamental problem in the biological sciences, including biomedical problems that have clear relevance to human health, are welcome. Applications with a focus on the environmental, engineering or physical sciences will not be considered, as these were the selected area of focus for the FY16 innovation awards. Preference for these awards will be given to Assistant and recently promoted Associate professors. Awards are open to Faculty members from each of the three University of Washington Campuses. Award recipients are expected to publish their results in appropriate journals and give talks on and off campus.

Selection Process

  • Innovation Research award criteria: highly innovative, potentially transformational research proposals. Preference will be given to Assistant and Associate Professors.  Research Faculty are eligible to apply.
  • Funding: Innovation Research awards will be up to $250K/yr x 2 years.
  • Proposal: A two-step process
    • Step 1: Email the following materials as a single PDF to
      • Project Summary (1 page maximum)
        • Abstract: Provide an executive summary of this project, including overall goal, methodology and significance for a well-educated lay audience.
        • Unique Aspects: Describe unique or distinctive aspects of this project. How will the project break open new territory in your field? How will it lay the foundation for a solution to a real world problem?
        • Principal Investigator: Provide a brief description of expertise.
      • Project Description (3 page maximum)
        • Overview: Provide an overview of this field and the need for this project.
        • Relevant Efforts: Describe past and current efforts that are relevant to this project.
        • Goals and Methodology: State the major goals of this project and summarize the methodologies and time frame to be used in achieving them.
        • Impact: Describe the potential impacts of achieving these goals. How will results, resources, or best practices be disseminated?
      • 3-page CV citing up to 10 most relevant publications and list of active grants.
      • 1-page description of how your research accomplishments and/ or personal characteristics provide evidence of innovation or creativity.
      • 1 page budget that includes the following budget categories: salaries and wages; benefits; materials and supplies; equipment; travel; contractual services; other services. Indirect costs will not be charged.

Questions should be directed to Matt Orefice, Assistant Director, at

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Deadline: 11/01/2016