The Dean’s Fund for Scientific Advancement: Activation Award

The Dean’s Fund for Scientific Advancement expands the School’s internal research funding program and is designed to facilitate 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.

Activation Awards represent a critical component of the funding program and are intended to support idea generation for junior faculty.

Activation Award
DEADLINE: Closed – new deadlines to be announced

The Activation Award provides $75,000 (direct cost) for projects that are designed to be completed in a 12-month* project period and support the scientific career development of Harvard Chan School Assistant and Associate Professors on the tenure ladder.

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

Award Details

Activation Awards are designed to encourage and support the scientific career development of Harvard Chan School Assistant and Associate Professors on the tenure ladder. To advance this goal, we will solicit proposals for pilot projects that will provide faculty the opportunity to develop their research ideas, collect pilot data, or conduct secondary data analysis to be used as pilot data. Although not required, we are particularly interested in proposals that are interdisciplinary in nature. The award is intended to maximize competitiveness for extramural funding by allowing faculty to develop innovative and novel ideas/methods.


Tenure-track Assistant and Associate Professors who have a primary appointment at the Harvard Chan School are eligible to apply. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility to apply for this award, please contact Elizabeth Sylvester at or visit our FAQ page.

Submission Process

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, however 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 proxy and 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 the PI is identified, 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.

Proposal Contents and Page Limits

You must complete all sections within the application portal before submitting your applications. 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 that includes 1) the scientific question to be addressed, 2) a description of the approach, and 3) the intended impact of the project. You will also be asked to upload the following documents as a single PDF:
        • Project Proposal: Maximum of 4 pages of text, not including items listed below. Figures and references are allowable in addition to this page limit. No other appendix material will be accepted.
        • 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.
        • 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.