RWJF Health & Society Seed Grant Program

The Fall 2014 Round is Now Closed

The RWJF Health & Society Scholars Program at Harvard (RWJF HSS) trains scientists in the social determinants of health through a tightly knit, interdisciplinary program integrating social, behavioral, and biological sciences leavened with a rich historical perspective.

The program is an interdisciplinary university initiative that integrates activities from four schools: The School of Public Health, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Medical School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Our training program is based on a foundation of four core disciplines that guide our vision of the emerging field of population health. These are: social epidemiology, public policy, history of science, and biological pathways.

Through the RWJF HSS, we are able to sponsor this competitive seed grant program. Priority will be given to (1) pilot projects with a high potential for integrating the theories, questions, and methods of two or more disciplines [e.g., epidemiology and economics, or psychology and neuroscience]; (2) projects that involve high payoff in terms of opening new areas of inquiry, or that provide crucial preliminary data for preparing larger grant proposals [e.g., to the NIH]; and (3) projects with identifiable outcomes in terms of linking faculty and scholars across Departments and Schools.

*This program funds domestic (U.S.) research ONLY pursuant to the guidelines laid out by RWJF*


This is a competitive grant program with a limited amount of funding available. It is open to all Harvard University faculty and affiliated postdoctoral researchers. Students are not eligible to apply for these funds. PIs must have a Harvard appointment. If you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact Meghan Perdue at


We will fund individual investigators or teams of investigators for pilot research consistent with the aims of the Health & Society Scholars Program as described briefly above and in the pages of this website. Again, we can only fund domestic (U.S.) research.

Selection criteria include: 1) relevance to the aims of the Scholars program; 2) presence of a multidisciplinary approach; 3) development of a research emphasis not currently prominent; 4) potential for knowledge transfer; 5) and the likelihood of success in a one-year period.

Proposals must identify a product that the seed grant project will yield such as a grant proposal, pilot research report, or other specific deliverable(s). Funded investigators will be expected to present in an upcoming RWJF Health & Society Scholars Seminar and to provide a short report on activity at the end of the grant period. Multiple proposals will be funded with awards in two categories: (1) small pilot grants up to $10,000 or (2) larger grants up to $30,000. Note that international travel is prohibited with RWJF seed grant funds regardless of the reason.


This is a two step application process. The first step is to submit a one page letter of intent by 4:00 PM on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, that includes the following information:

  • Proposal title
  • Principal investigator (name, degree(s), academic title, address, email & phone)
  • Co-investigators (name & affiliation)
  • Brief abstract on the project: research question to be addressed, aims, methods used & expected product (see above)
  • Award category:
    • small pilot of $10,000 or smaller
    • larger pilot between $10,000 – $30,000
  • 1-2 lines of explanation on how the funding would be used (e.g. R.As, lab, materials). Do not submit a line-item budget. This will just give the reviewers an idea of how the funding would be spent.

An electronic copy of the letter of intent must be received by 4:00 PM on Tues, October 14, 2014. Your letter should be submitted as a WORD attachment to Meghan Perdue at The email subject line should read, “RWJF-letter of intent.”

The letters of intent will be reviewed within two weeks after the deadline. For those who are then invited to submit a full proposal (five pages), the deadline for that submission will be November 21, 2014.

If you are eventually awarded a seed grant, we will need your IRB approval number OR exemption number before an account can be set-up and you can begin charging to it. At that point you will have until August 15, 2016 to complete the project.

Questions should be directed to: Meghan Perdue at