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Research grants

  • March of Dimes research investments are vital to our mission.
  • Research funding is available through three categories of grants.
  • Interested candidates can submit their proposal.
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March of Dimes research grants

When Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March of Dimes in 1938, he chose research to be one of the cornerstones of the effort to defeat polio. Seventeen years and more than $25 million in research later, the polio vaccine was declared safe and highly effective.

Today, our research investments are vital to the March of Dimes mission to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The three grant categories, general March of Dimes Research Grants, Prematurity Research Initiative (PRI) and Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards (BOC) are summarized below.

General research grants

The general March of Dimes research portfolio funds many different areas of research on topics related to our mission to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. These investigations include — but are not limited to — basic biological processes of development, genetics, clinical studies, studies of reproductive health, environmental toxicology, and studies in social and behavioral sciences that focus on factors contributing to adverse pregnancy outcomes, and on consequences of birth defects and prematurity.

Prematurity Research Initiative

The Prematurity Research Initiative (PRI) is a special program dedicated to grant support for projects related to causes of prematurity. Initiated as part of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, these projects aim to provide new insight into the large, and increasing, proportion of premature births in which the causes, and the means of prevention, remain unknown.

Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards

The Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards (BOC) are funded in a program specifically designed to support scientists just embarking on their independent research careers. Created in 1973 and named for the first March of Dimes chairman and president, this program provides funding to young investigators to start their own research projects on topics related to the March of Dimes mission.

Transdisciplinary Centers on Prematurity Research

Developing Transdisciplinary Centers for Research Into Causes of Preterm Birth. Through Transdisciplinary Centers on Prematurity Research, we seek an understanding of the biological basis of normal and premature parturition. Proposals should address causes of preterm birth in otherwise seemingly normal pregnancies, rather than studies of preterm births arising secondary to complications involving mother or fetus. To make progress, we expect investigators from different disciplines integrating their research and sharing with one another novel insights.

See also: Policies and instructions for research grants (PDF, 102kb), March of Dimes research RFP (PDF, 147kb),  Prematurity Research Initiative (RFP) (PDF, 127kb), Basil O’Connor RFP (PDF, 149kb), Apply for a research grant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for a research grant?

Please refer to the Request For Proposals (RFP) for general research grants, the RFP for Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards and the RFP for  Prematurity Research Initiative Grants.

What are the qualifications required to apply for a research grant?

All applicants must hold a recent faculty appointment at a not-for-profit institution, such as a university, hospital or research institution. U.S. citizenship is not required to apply for any March of Dimes Research Grant or Award.

What is the amount of a research grant?

There is no set amount for a general March of Dimes Research Grant; however, the average grant is approximately $100,000 per year. Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards are $150,000 for 2 years. The average Prematurity Research Initiative Grant is approximately $145,000 per year.

What is the deadline to apply for a research grant?

Letters of Intent for the March of Dimes Research Program are due annually on April 30 for possible funding to begin on the following June 1. Letters of Nomination for the Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award Program are due annually on March 15 for possible funding to begin on the following February 1. Letters of Intent for the Prematurity Research Initiative Program are due annually on April 15 for possible funding to begin on the following March 1.

What is the term of a research grant?

March of Dimes Research Grants are usually awarded for 3 years. Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards are awarded for 2 years. Prematurity Research Initiative Grants are usually awarded for 3 years.

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