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Next Gen Pregnancy Initiative

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

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF)

Deadline Date:

12/01/20 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 pregnancies. Proposals may involve computational or molecular approaches, such as immunology, genetics, genomics, mathematics, microbiology, and other basic sciences.

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. 

The initiative is designed to stimulate both creative individual scientists and multi-investigator teams to approach healthy and adverse pregnancy outcomes using creative basic and translation science methods. The formation of new connections between reproductive scientists and investigators who are involved in other areas is particularly encouraged.

Molecular and computational approaches such as genetics/ genomics, immunology, microbiology, evolutionary biology, mathematics, engineering, and other basic sciences hold enormous potential for new insights independently or in conjunction with more traditional areas of parturition research such as maternal-fetal medicine, obstetrics, and pediatrics. BWF encourages applications seeking actionable therapeutic interventions, novel diagnostics, and device development for real time data capture, and particularly those investigating mechanisms of racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes.

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. 

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).

Term of Contract:

- Award start date: June 1, 2021
- Award end date: March 31, 2025

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 on behalf of the principal investigator.

- 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 the applicant is a postdoctoral candidate, their 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.

- Proposals that cross institutional boundaries (partnerships between multiple universities or collaborations within larger universities) are welcomed.

- 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, 2020, 3:00 pm (EST)
- Finalist interviews: April 14, 2021
- Notice of award: May 21, 2021
- Award start date: June 1, 2021
- Initial installment: July 15, 2021
- Award end date: March 31, 2025

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.

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

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.

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):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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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