The Rita Allen Foundation receives and reviews all grant proposals by invitation only.

We award grants under our three Investment Areas - Youth Leadership in the Sciences and Social Innovation; Civic Literacy and Engagement; and Community Building - and there is a well-established process in place for the selection of Rita Allen Foundation Scholars, who also receive generous funding support from our organization.


The Rita Allen Foundation invests our grant dollars in worthy projects that mirror the spirit of our Mission, Guiding Principles and policies. Innovative programs are identified and reviewed by staff, and possibly outside experts pre-selected by the Foundation, and then referred to our Board of Directors for discussions and decisions.

The Board of Directors has authorized three areas of interest for grant investments. They are:

  • Young Leaders in Science or Social Innovation
  • Civic Literacy and Engagement
  • Community Building

All grant recipients must adhere to the requirements outlined in our agreements and protocols, and file regular progress reports with the Foundation. Organizations of interest to our staff or Board of Directors are contacted directly by us with a specific request for information. As such, unsolicited applications are not accepted.

At the Rita Allen Foundation, we view our grants as long-term investments, aimed at building and sustaining institutions and ideas for years to come. As such, we are committed to fostering ongoing and lasting relationships with our grant recipients and generally avoid funding narrowly defined or limited projects.

Because we develop collaborations designed to achieve meaningful and impactful results, we are dedicated to identifying the best partners and projects.

To ensure maximum funding for our grants, our administrative staff is kept at a small number. Although not equipped to accept unsolicited submissions, they are focused on finding proposals consistent with our Mission, Guiding Principles and resources.

Detailed Grant Guidelines for Three Domain Areas: Young Leaders in Science or Social Innovation; Civic Literacy and Engagement; Community Building


The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program provides grants to leading medical research institutions selected by the Rita Allen Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee and confirmed by the Rita Allen Foundation Board of Directors. Grants to Scholars support research scientists in the early stages of their careers.

Fields of research we embrace are analgesics, cancer, immunology and neuroscience. The Rita Allen Foundation reviews candidates by invitation only.

Rita Allen Scholars are leaders in their fields of study and include a Nobel Laureate and several members of the National Academy of the Sciences.

Individuals chosen will be designated Rita Allen Foundation Scholars and the affiliated institution will receive financial support from the Rita Allen Foundation.

Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Program Eligibility Answers to FAQ

What does the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program do?

  • The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program supports basic biomedical research in the fields of cancer, neuroscience and immunology. There also is currently a joint award, which is sponsored by the Rita Allen Foundation and the American Pain Society, for Scholars in Pain Research. More information on the Scholars in Pain Research can be found at:
  • Scholars can receive up to $110,000 per year for a maximum of five years. Scholars in Pain Research can be granted $50,000 per year for up to three years.
  • Scholar grant funds may only be used for direct project expenses including up to 50% of the Scholar’s compensation.

Who is eligible to apply for the Scholars program?

  • Only invited institutions are eligible to submit a nomination for consideration for the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program.
  • The Rita Allen Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee reviews and recommends eligible institutions, which are confirmed by the Rita Allen Foundation Board of Directors.
  • The Scientific Advisory Committee reviews and recommends finalists from the eligible institutions for the Scholars program, and those candidates are confirmed by the Rita Allen Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Only one nomination/ candidate per eligible institution is accepted per year.

If an institution is not on the eligible list, can it be considered for inclusion?

  • Institutions not currently eligible but interested should write to the Scientific Advisory Committee, c/o Elizabeth Good Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rita Allen Foundation, 92 Nassau Street, Third Floor, Princeton, New Jersey 08542.
  • The Rita Allen Foundation will notify institutions deemed eligible to nominate.
  • The Scientific Advisory Committee typically reviews the eligibility list in the spring of each year with invitation letters released in the summer or early fall.

What are the qualifications institutions should consider when reviewing possible nominees to the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program?

  • The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program has eliminated direct references to “tenure” in our guidelines. Nonetheless, the following should be considered by an eligible institution when submitting a nomination:
    • Candidates should be considered independent investigators in the early stages of their careers-research.
    • The caliber of early-stage investigators suggests nominees would be appointed to tenure track positions at their respective institutions.
    • It is preferable that candidates be in the first three years of their tenure track. (This is taken into consideration in the rating of applications by the Scientific Advisory Committee.)
    • A senior post-doc should not be a candidate, but wait until s/he has tenure track as described.
    • Associate professors should not be candidates.
    • Candidates must have received committed start-up funds from their respective institutions.
    • Candidates must have lab space from their institutions.
  • Applicants with committed awards that overlap the first two years of the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Program from the Beckman Young Investigator Program, Ellison New Scholar Award, Kimmel Scholar Award, Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences, and Searle Scholars Program are not eligible. Other sources of funding may influence selection.
  • Nominating institutions should consider the highly competitive nature of the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program and submit their strongest nominee for consideration.
  • The Rita Allen Foundation does request eligible institutions share with us a description of the process they follow to nominate candidates, as well as a paragraph explaining the tenure track or the equivalent at the institution.
  • Further questions regarding the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program should be directed to the appropriate contacts that are responsible for the internal nominating process within the eligible institution.

Key Dates and Deadlines

November 4, 2013 through January 26, 2014: Application period
February and March 2014: Review period
April 25, 2014: Finalist interviews - New York City
May 2014: Grant awards announced
August 2014: Grant contracts due
September 2014 – August 2019: Grant period
August 31, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018: Interim reports due
December 1, 2019: Final report due

To be eligible for a Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Award, candidates must:

  • be nominated by a selected institution, and
  • have completed their training and provided persuasive evidence of distinguished achievement or extraordinary promise in research in one of the relevant fields.

Nomination Requirements
The nomination for the grant application must be completed by a senior official at the nominating institution and must be completed online through proposalCENTRAL a web-based grant application system. Nominations should include the following required support materials:

  • identification of the candidate and an official letter of nomination,
  • an assessment of the candidate, and
  • a description of the procedure used by the institution to identify the nominee.

Institutions are limited to submitting one nomination per review cycle.

Application Requirements
Once the nomination is complete and has been approved by the Foundation, candidates are required to complete the grant application in proposalCENTRAL and provide the following application support materials:

  • a proposal narrative/plan of work of no more than four pages in length,
  • a detailed curriculum vitae,
  • letters of support from five people acquainted with the candidate’s work, at least two of which should come from individuals outside of the candidate’s institution, and
  • details of current and pending support from other funding sources.

Grant Reports
Successful grant recipients will be required to provide complete narrative and financial reports detailing their expenditure of the grant funds and progress made toward the goal(s) of the grants. Grant reports also must be submitted online through proposalCENTRAL.