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Grants to USA and Canada Nonprofit Organizations, Research
Institutes, and IHEs for Biomedical Research on Premature Birth

Next Gen Pregnancy Initiative

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF)

Deadline Date:

12/01/21 3:00 PM EST


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Grants to USA and Canada nonprofit organizations, research institutes, and IHEs for research projects addressing the biological mechanisms of premature birth. Funding is intended to support studies that explore the causes, diagnostics, and therapeutic interventions surrounding adverse pregnancy outcomes. Proposals may involve computational or molecular approaches, such as immunology, genetics, genomics, mathematics, microbiology, and other basic sciences. Applications from women and underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged.

Building upon the original goals of the BWF Preterm Birth Initiative, a recently convened Pregnancy Think Tank has helped shape the next generation of BWF preterm birth awards. Growing evidence suggests the interrelatedness of the duration of pregnancy, fetal growth, and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, stillbirth, and maternal medical complications including maternal mortality. Other areas of interest are climate change and environmental impact on pregnancy, complications associated with ART, and epigenome-wide association studies. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) seeks to expand the scope of this award mechanism to capture these and other pregnancy outcomes as they believe they will be mutually informative and accelerate discovery. 

For additional background information, see:

Proposals should address the biomedical causes and molecular mechanisms underlying adverse pregnancies and their outcomes including but not limited to peri-implantational events, placentation, fetal determinants, fetal-maternal immune responses, biological basis for racial-ethnic disparities, mechanisms relating preterm birth to other adverse pregnancy outcomes, biology of normal labor, genomics, evolutionary influences, maternal complications and other approaches. Proposals seeking to identify biomarkers predicting preterm birth are welcome.

BWF is also interested in Preterm Birth Risk Stratification using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Proposals that cross institutional boundaries (partnerships between multiple universities or collaborations within larger universities) are welcomed. 

The support allocated for research is under the control of the principal investigator and may be used flexibly for items such as equipment, consumable supplies, travel to scientific meetings, and laboratory personnel working with the principal investigator. Prior approval by BWF is required when, within an award year, purchases of equipment exceed $20,000 or travel costs exceed $8,000.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176023

Number of Grants:

Up to six (6) research grants will be awarded.

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Each award will provide up to $500,000 over a four-year period ($125,000 per year).
- At the termination of the grant period, grant balances of $500 or less may be retained by the institution.

Term of Contract:

- Award start date: June 1, 2022
- Award end date: March 31, 2026

During the award period, unused research funds may be carried over to the succeeding year. The principal investigator may receive a no-cost extension; requests explaining why an extension is needed must be submitted in writing at least two months prior to the end of the award.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- Awards will be made to public or private non-profit organizations in the United States and Canada, including degree-granting academic institutions, research institutes and teaching hospitals.
- An Internal Revenue Service determination letter of the institution’s non-profit status will be requested by BWF staff if said letter is not on file in the database.
- Postdoctoral fellows nearing their transition to independent investigator status through senior established investigators are encouraged to apply.
- Citizens and non-citizen permanent and temporary residents of the U.S. and Canada who are legally qualified to work in the U.S. or Canada are eligible.
- Candidates who are temporary U.S. residents must hold a valid U.S. visa (J-1, H1B, F-1 or O-1 visas).
- Temporary Canadian residents must hold a valid Canadian visa (Study Permit, C-43, C-44, C-10, or C-20 work permits/visas).
- If you are a postdoctoral candidate, your visa status must allow you to remain in the U.S. or Canada during the project period of the grant.
- Proposals can be submitted by individual investigators or research teams designating a contact principal investigator. At least one member of the team must have training and expertise outside the traditional areas of reproductive science.
- Former BWF preterm birth recipients whose grant has been completed may reapply for another award provided the proposal submitted is a substantially different proposal (must not be a continuation or slight modification of previous work). The principal investigator must demonstrate successful outcomes and highlight significant achievements from the earlier award.
- BWF strongly encourages applications from women and underrepresented minorities, including Blacks or African-Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives or Native Hawaiians.
- Award recipients may not hold concurrent BWF awards.

Current or active BWF preterm birth grant recipients are not eligible to reapply.

- Indirect costs may not be charged against the awards. Institutional overhead may not be charged against BWF grants.

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
- Application deadline: December 1, 2021, 3:00 pm (EST)
- Finalist interviews: April 5-6, 2022
- Notice of award: May 20, 2022
- Award start date: June 1, 2022
- Initial installment: June 1, 2022
- Award end date: March 31, 2026

The completed application is to be submitted through the online Grant system.

Postdoctoral fellows nearing transition to independent investigator status are strongly encouraged to contact Senior Program Officer Rolly Simpson directly about their planned proposal, competitiveness for the award, transferring to a new institution, and other issues.

Candidates who currently hold a Burroughs Wellcome Fund award must contact BWF staff prior to beginning an application.

Former BWF preterm birth recipients whose grant has been completed may reapply for another award provided the proposal submitted is a substantially different proposal (must not be a continuation or slight modification of previous work). The principal investigator must demonstrate successful outcomes and highlight significant achievements from the earlier award.

The principal investigator’s institution is responsible for disbursing the funds and for maintaining adequate supporting records and receipts of expenditures.

Forms and Resources:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

For questions, please contact:

Rolly Simpson
Senior Program Officer


Kendra Tucker
Program Associate

Burroughs Wellcome Fund
21 T.W. Alexander Drive
PO Box 13901
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3901

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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