The Dean’s Fund for Scientific Advancement: Acceleration Award

The Dean’s Fund for Scientific Advancement expands the School’s internal research funding program and is designed to create a pipeline of support that facilitates the exploration of early ideas, the development of strong interdisciplinary team science, and the creation of new research collaborations that advance the frontiers of science.

Acceleration Awards represent a critical component of the funding program and are intended to nurture research collaborations and develop research platforms.

Acceleration Award
DEADLINE: Closed – new deadlines to be announced

Awards will be made for up to $100,000 (direct cost) for projects that are designed to be completed in a 12-month* project period and cultivate collaborative/transdisciplinary research and to develop cross-cutting research platforms. This award is open to Harvard Chan School faculty of any rank who have a primary appointment at the Harvard Chan School, but applications will require the substantial engagement of at least two Harvard Chan School Departments or Centers and must include collaboration from at least one other Harvard School.

Please read and review the full RFA prior to application submission.  Proposals should be submitted through the Harvard University Funding Portal (HUFP).

Award Details

These collaboration-focused grants support the advancement of research and research-enabling platforms. Grant applications will require the substantial engagement of at least two Harvard Chan School Departments or Centers and must include collaboration from at least one other Harvard School. Acceleration Award applications will be accepted in two focal areas: Research Grants and Research Platforms.

Research Grants ($up to 100K) applications submitted in response to this call will be accepted in the three priority areas identified in the School’s recent Research Strategy Optimization Process. Grant applications that align with priority areas will be given special consideration. However, any faculty member who has a novel approach or innovative idea in need of funding is encouraged to apply. This year’s Acceleration priority areas are:

  1. Health Inequities
    Understanding how structural racism affects health outcomes in the US requires an expansion in the small body of existing empirical research on racism and health. Conceptually, structural racism involves interconnected institutions, whose linkages are historically rooted and culturally reinforced; a focus on structural racism offers a concrete, feasible, and promising approach toward advancing health equity and improving population health. While racial health inequities are widely acknowledged, understanding of the causal pathways between societal processes and population health outcomes remains incomplete. By increasing the availability of data, including race and ethnicity, and recognizing the health impacts of racism, Harvard Chan’s advancement of health inequities research is aimed at equipping public health experts with more robust tools to understand and probe the underlying causes and impacts of health disparities within their own research domains.
  2. The Public Health Impacts of Climate Change
    Human disruption of Earth’s natural systems is driving a growing share of the global burden of disease.  In this context, universities in general, and schools of public health in particular, face the increasingly urgent task of spearheading scholarship and education focused on characterizing and quantifying the myriad health threats associated with rapidly changing biophysical conditions and the many opportunities to address those threats. Meeting this challenge will require significant collaboration across disciplines and provides an opportunity to leverage the University’s strength and Harvard Chan’s expertise in the global public health impacts of climate change.
  3. Pandemics
    Harvard Chan has been a key center for research and policy analysis on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. We are conducting groundbreaking research on everything from the basic biology of the virus to population-level strategies to help stop its spread. The School has hosted/participated in hundreds of public forums and press conferences to advise governments, businesses, and other organizations on safely navigating the crisis. Our experts continue to work with local and state health departments, foreign political leaders, and international Ministries of Health on issues ranging from impacts of human mobility on virus transmission to vaccine prioritization and evaluation. This unique expertise builds on decades of groundbreaking research on infectious disease dynamics and development of new methods to study them; our faculty continue to generate novel strategies used globally to fight infectious diseases.

Research Platforms (up to $100K) defined broadly, are research resources that can be accessed by multiple faculty to support projects in a variety of disciplines. The goal of these awards is to provide one-time support for the development of research platforms that can be funded in the future by other mechanisms. Examples include support for developing a publicly available database of cancer genes, bio-banking samples accessible to multiple research groups, platforms to increase access to shared datasets or software programs, writing shared code for complex data sets, or pooling expertise on health inequities research to incorporate diversity aspects into grant applications.


Principal investigators must be:

    • Primary Harvard Chan School faculty whose research operation is based at the Harvard Chan School. Coinvestigators or team members may include individuals with any academic appointment.

Applications must include:

    • Coinvestigators from at least two Harvard Chan School Departments or Centers representing interdisciplinary collaboration.
    • Collaboration with at least one other Harvard School (see RFA for more details).


Proposals are to be submitted through the Harvard University Funding Portal (HUFP). If you are using the application portal for the first time, you must complete a short registration process (see below). Please note, you can search for awards without logging in but you must be registered and logged in with your Harvard Key to submit an application. There is an option to assign a proxy for proposal submission but your grant manager cannot use your Harvard Key to submit your application. Please see below for more information on registering for an account and assigning a proxy.

Registering your HUFP Account: Select “Log-in” in the top right corner of the HUFP webpage, which will bring you to a log-in page with two options. Select the “with Harvard Key” icon, which will prompt you to enter your Harvard Key. You will be led through a short three-question registration process. Once registered, you will be able to log in with your Harvard Key to submit applications.

Assigning a Proxy for Submission: Before beginning an application, both the proxy and the PI must register for individual accounts in HUFP using their Harvard Key credentials. Once the proxy and the PI are registered, the proxy can begin an application on behalf of the PI. The Proxy will indicate that they are a proxy applicant and will be asked to locate their PI in HUFP. Proxies should never “Add User” in HUFP. Once this is done, both the PI and the proxy will be able to access and edit the application.

Please contact ORSD ( if you have any questions about using HUFP.


You must complete all sections within the application portal before submitting your application. The sections within the application portal are as follows:

  1. Applicant Information
  2. Collaborators
  3. Project Information: In this section, you must complete a 200-word research abstract and upload the following documents as a single PDF:
    • Project Proposal: Maximum of 4 pages of text, not including items b. – e. listed below. Figures and references are allowable in addition to this page limit. No other appendix material will be accepted.
      • Within the project proposal, please describe any key challenges that may arise during the course of this project and how you will manage them.
    • Additional Required Forms by Award Type:
      • All Applications: Interdisciplinary Approach & Coordination Form. Maximum of 1 page of text. Use this Downloadable Form as a template.
      • Research Platform Applications: Sustainability Form. Maximum of 1 page of text. Use this Downloadable Form as a template.
    • Biosketch: Current NIH Biosketch for each participating investigator.
    • Budget Request: Budget estimates should be submitted on NIH PHS 398 detailed budget form with major divisions of funds (personnel, equipment, etc.). PIs may include effort and salary support commensurate with their effort. The full amount of the award may be used for direct costs. PLEASE NOTE: Indirect costs, including indirect costs on sub-contracts, cannot be charged to internally funded awards.
    • Budget Justification
  4. Electronic Signature

*An automatic 6-month no-cost extension will be granted if needed, after which no additional extensions will be allowed.