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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative - Science Diversity Leadership Award


Goals of the Science Diversity Leadership Program

Science Diversity Leadership awards from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) will recognize the leadership and scientific accomplishments of outstanding early- to mid-career researchers at U.S. universities, medical schools, or nonprofit research institutes who — through their outreach, mentoring, teaching, and leadership — have a record of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in their scientific fields. They will have made significant research contributions to the biomedical sciences, show promise for continuing scientific achievement, and demonstrate leadership in efforts to diversify the sciences. Principal Investigators and laboratory staff who are leading projects supported by these grants will participate in annual in-person meetings and online webinars organized by CZI and will be connected to national and international scientific leaders through CZI convenings.

About the Program


Grant Description

A grant of $1.15 million total costs will be disbursed by CZI over a five-year period ($230,000 total costs per year, inclusive of 15 percent for indirect costs/overhead) to the institution that employs the Principal Investigator who leads the project. Direct costs ($200,000 per year) can be used to support both the research of the Principal Investigator and their outreach, mentoring, and teaching activities.


Eligibility

The Principal Investigator must be someone who:

1. Performs research relevant to the biomedical sciences and holds an M.D., Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D./Ph.D., DDM, DVM, or equivalent degree;

2. Leads an independent research laboratory — defined as having control of its budget, grants, and space — in a university, medical school, or nonprofit research institution in the U.S. or a U.S. territory; and

3. Started their first independent laboratory no earlier than January 1, 2012.

The grantee institution must agree to the requirements described in the CZI Institutional Approval Form and must sign the form as part of the application process. Applications may be submitted by U.S. and U.S. territory nonprofit organizations, public and private institutions such as colleges, universities or hospitals, and eligible agencies of federal, state, or local government. For-profit organizations are not eligible. Grants will be awarded to institutions, not individuals. Grants will either be funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Foundation (CZIF) or recommended for funding through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor-Advised Fund (CZI DAF) at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF).

Receipt of the grant is conditioned upon grantee institutions providing satisfactory documentation that their Principal Investigators meet all the eligibility requirements.

Principal Investigators who identify as members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, who have disabilities that limit major life activities, or who identify as women or non-binary gender are strongly encouraged to apply. Eligibility is not limited by race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, religion, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age. Meta employees, including employees of any subsidiary Meta entities, as well as employees of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC, are not permitted to apply. CZI reserves the sole right to decide if an applicant organization meets the eligibility requirements.


Positive Factors for Selection

Positive factors for selection are not eligibility criteria. Rather, the following positive factors are qualities of the Principal Investigator that reviewers are asked to consider in a holistic manner when scoring applications:

  • Has significant prior research accomplishments relevant to the biomedical sciences;
  • Shows promise of continuing scientific achievement in research fields prioritized by CZI (described below);
  • Studies the basic science of human diseases that are highly relevant to underserved populations, including Black, Latina/o/x, and Indigenous communities (described below);
  • Has a diversity of lived experience allowing them to serve as a role model and to broaden the perspectives of biomedical science;
  • Has sustained personal engagement with underserved, marginalized, and/or underrepresented communities;
  • Identifies as a member of racial or ethnic group whose underrepresentation in sciences or engineering in the U.S. has been severe and longstanding. (Data on representation can be found on websites maintained by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health);
  • Has had success in becoming a research scientist with a physical disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Application Process

The application will include the Principal Investigator’s NIH Biosketch, brief descriptions of their three most significant scientific contributions, a Personal Statement describing the Principal Investigator’s scientific motivation and experience working with underrepresented communities, a Research Plan that addresses a significant problem in the Principal Investigator’s field and describes how the program will contribute to expanding representation in the biomedical sciences, and two letters of reference (one from a mentor or colleague and one from a mentee). Applications and reference letters will be submitted to the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies), and will undergo review by multiple experts assembled by the National Academies with advice from CZI.


Prioritized Research Fields

The Principal Investigator will advance research in areas that are the focus of CZI, which include the basic science of human disease and the development of transformative tools and technologies. Especially welcomed is research that has the potential to advance progress on diseases that disproportionately affect Black, Latina/o/x, or Indigenous populations. This program is guided by CZI’s commitment to scientific equity.

CZI-prioritized fields include:

  • Single-Cell Biology & Inflammation: The CZI Single-Cell Biology program is focused on building and analyzing reference atlases composed of high dimensional measurements of single cells in health and disease. There are many uses for these atlases, but we are specifically interested in characterizing the complex process of inflammation with these methods to help identify common features that unify currently unconnected inflammatory diseases.
  • Neurodegeneration: The CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network brings together experimental scientists from diverse research fields, along with computational biologists, physicians, patients and their advocates, to understand the fundamental biology of neurodegenerative disorders. The program covers neurodegenerative diseases affecting all stages of the lifespan, taking a cross-disease and interdisciplinary approach, with the view that a solid foundational understanding of neurodegenerative disease biology will be critical to develop new strategies for treatment of these diseases.
  • Rare Diseases: CZI supports science in under researched disease areas affecting small patient populations around the world. We are supporting development of patient communities, infrastructure, and tools, as well as the science that will advance our understanding of the basic biology and natural history of these disease areas to improve diagnosis and the development of treatment and cures.
  • Imaging Science: The CZI Imaging Program supports researchers developing new imaging technologies focused on visualizing tissue within living organisms at cellular resolution, and developing techniques to view proteins and their interactions at near atomic resolution within cells.
  • Computational Biology: CZI specifically supports open source software development and computational approaches that contribute to any of the above fields.

Examples of diseases within these fields that are relevant to underserved populations include (but are not limited to):

  • Diseases of inflammation: Autoimmune diseases (hepatitis, SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, atopic dermatitis, transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM), asthma, and sarcoidosis and other chronic lung diseases;
  • Nervous system diseases: Alzheimer's Disease, glaucoma, depression, anxiety, addiction, psychosis;
  • Rare genetic diseases: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, multiple myeloma, HoxA1 syndromes, biotinidase deficiency, systemic scleroderma, sickle cell disease, and transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM).

CZI supports development of broadly useful, openly accessible scientific tools via both active technology development and funding support. In the context of this program, technology development is considered in scope if it contributes to the above fields or addresses diseases such as those listed.  Clinical outcomes research, social/behavioral sciences, and drug discovery are not prioritized fields.

Application Instructions

The application is divided into the following sections (click on each to expand):

Eligibility

Eligibility is limited to investigators who:

  • Hold an M.D., Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D./Ph.D., DDM, DVM, or equivalent degree, and perform research relevant to biomedical science; AND
  • Lead an independent research laboratory—defined as having control of its budget, grants, and space—in a university, medical school, or nonprofit research institution in the U.S. or a U.S. territory; AND
  • Started their first independent laboratory after January 1, 2012.

In addition, the grantee institution must agree to the requirements described in the CZI Institutional Approval Form and must sign the form as part of the application process. Applications may be submitted by U.S. and U.S. territory nonprofit organizations, public and private institutions such as colleges, universities or hospitals, and eligible agencies of federal, state, or local government. For-profit organizations are not eligible. Grants will be awarded to institutions, not individuals.


Applicant Profile

Includes full name and email address, collected at registration.


Personal Information

Includes educational history (degrees, institutions, dates), details of your current (and prior) institutional affiliation as a researcher, and other information you can provide such as laboratory and institution website and ORCID iD number.

You are also required to provide information regarding the CZI Institutional Approval Form, specifically the employing institution EIN.


Optional Information

Questions in this section request information on your Race and Ethnicity, Disability status, and Gender Identity. Answering these questions is voluntary. If you do not wish to answer any question, check the “Prefer not to say” box to proceed with the application. The demographic information you provide in this section will not be shared with reviewers and will not be used to make final grant funding decisions.


Uploads

The “uploads” section requires the following:

NIH Biosketch

Provide a Biosketch in NIH format, describing your professional positions, training history, important mentors, select publications, and other contributions. Sections of the NIH Biosketch form that describe accomplishments may be dropped if they are redundant with the essays on Significant Scientific Contributions.

Essays (see formatting instructions below)

  • Significant Scientific Contributions (three (3) pages maximum, double-spaced): Limiting your response to no more than one page per accomplishment, describe up to three of the most significant scientific accomplishments from your research career, explaining the context and significance of each. Provide one complete reference for each accomplishment (such as publication, patent, protocol, published software, published design, etc.), including a working link to the reference. Additional supporting references, if necessary, can be cited in the body of the essay. 
  • Personal Statement and Outreach Plan (four (4) pages maximum, double-spaced): Describe personal experiences and motivations that led to both your scientific career and to your interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biomedical sciences. Describe any engagement you have had or have with underserved, marginalized, and/or underrepresented communities, which may include the study of health disparities. Include roles you have had in mentoring, training, collaborations, etc., and any specific outcomes. Describe how diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biomedical sciences will be advanced in the five-year research project that this grant, if funded, will support.

    If you have a disability that limits a major life activity or if you identify as a member of a racial or ethnic group whose underrepresentation in the sciences or engineering in the U.S. has been severe and longstanding, you may include an explanation here if you so choose. Data on representation can be found on websites maintained by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
  • Research Plan (four (4) pages maximum, double-spaced): Describe a research plan that you will undertake during the five-year course of this award. Frame your proposal with background of your scientific field, including major unanswered questions and any technical bottlenecks that inhibit progress. Describe a research project that will address one or more of these unanswered questions that this grant, if funded, can support. Describe potential outcomes for your plan and how your scientific field will advance if the research project is successful.

    Considering the plan you have described above, describe how diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biomedical sciences will be advanced in the five-year research project that this grant, if funded, will support. Include details of staffing, mentoring, student engagement and other activities that will impact underrepresented individuals and contribute to diversity in the biomedical sciences.


Formatting Essays

  • Essays must be uploaded as .pdf files and must not exceed 4 MB.
  • Do not use long file names or special characters in file names.
  • Double-space using a standard 12-point font.
  • Set margins at 1" (top and bottom) and .5" (left and right sides).
  • Do not exceed the maximum page limits.
  • Do not include headers or footers (this includes your name, document titles, and page numbers).
  • Figures or citations are allowed, but will count towards the total page count.
  • Write all materials in English.

Letters of Reference

Applications must include two Letters of Reference for the Principal Investigator who will lead the project. One letter must be from a colleague or mentor and one must be from a mentee. Enter the names, titles, and email addresses for your reference writers. In making your selections, please note the following:

In their letter, the colleague or mentor should

  • briefly introduce themselves and their connection to the applicant and
  • describe in depth their assessment of the applicant's scientific accomplishments and potential and their assessment of the applicant's potential to fulfill the goals of this program
In their letter, the mentee should
  • briefly introduce themselves and their connection to the applicant and
  • describe in depth how they personally benefited from the applicant's mentoring and their assessment of the applicant's potential to fulfill the goals of this program

After entering your reference writers, save the information, and then you can notify them by clicking on the “Initiate Email Request” button. Letters of reference will be submitted separately by the references you contact and you will receive notification when a letter is submitted. It is your responsibility to confirm that letters have been submitted, and you will not be able to finalize your application submission until letters are received. If necessary, you may re-invite letter writers from the Reference Writer module.


Institutional Approval Form

You are required to provide the name, title, and contact information for the individual who will sign the Institutional Approval Form. The Institutional Approval Form must be uploaded as a single PDF. This form should be reviewed and signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of your organization agreeing to the stated institutional and investigator requirements and commitments on data, resource sharing, and publication policies, as well as endorsing/verifying your application materials and confirming their ability to receive funding for the project. These policies are non-negotiable. This form should only be signed if the organization is able to comply with the terms as stated. Note: digital signatures are permitted as long as the document is not encrypted or password-protected.


Please note that all parts of the application, including Letters of Reference, must be submitted before you can submit the final application. Please read the application instructions for each section above or download a copy. Specific questions regarding the application may be directed to czi-sdl@nas.edu.

How to Apply


1. Register & Login

Click on the "Register" button to the right, then once registered, login to the application with your newly created email and password.

2. Select & Create

Select the Science Diversity Leadership Award and create your online application by first confirming your eligibility to apply.

3. Apply

Once eligibility has been confirmed, proceed to other sections of the application by completing the required fields in each of the application sections. Applicants can proceed from section to section by selecting Next Tab >> in the middle of the screen.

5. Save

During the Application period, your application can be saved as DRAFT until all the required information is completed and attachments uploaded. As each section is complete, you will see a appear in the category tab when the application is saved. At any time, you can download and print your application by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section.

6. Submit

On completion of all mandatory fields, references received, and uploads attached, save your application by clicking on Submit as FINAL. Download and print a copy of your application for your records by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section in the right column. Note: You may edit your FINAL application prior to the deadline date by clicking on “Edit” beside your application. When all edits have been made, click on Submit as FINAL in the application form to save and submit your changes.

If you require assistance or additional information, please contact the Program Administrator at czi-sdl@nas.edu.

Forgot Password?

Key Dates

Applications Open:
January 26, 2022
Applications Close:
May 19, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT

Contact Us

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street NW, K557
Washington, DC 20001
Email: czi-sdl@nas.edu