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HHMI Expands Support of Postdoctoral Scientists

Summary

HHMI is expanding collaborations with the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund, the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, and the Life Sciences Research Foundation to increase support for outstanding postdoctoral researchers.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced today that it is expanding collaborations with the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund, the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, and the Life Sciences Research Foundation in order to increase support for outstanding postdoctoral researchers.

HHMI will now provide each organization with support for eight postdoctoral fellows a year—double the current number—and expand the reach of the program.

Fellows will be selected competitively by each organization. Each fellowship will have a three-year term. When the initiative is at full capacity, HHMI will be supporting 96 postdoctoral fellows at an anticipated annual cost of about $5 million. The program began in 2007 when HHMI announced it would fund up to 16 postdoctoral fellows in HHMI labs each year. There is no requirement that future fellows be appointed in HHMI labs.

“These organizations consistently select outstanding scientists for their prestigious fellowship programs, and this support comes at a critical moment in their careers,” said HHMI President Robert Tjian. “We are pleased to expand our partnership, as well as the funding needed to develop and nurture some of the most talented among a new generation of scientists.”

HHMI's funding will permit each of the four institutions to fund more fellowships than they would otherwise. “By expanding its funding for this program, HHMI anticipates that these organizations will now be able to offer 32 additional fellowships each year,” said Jack E. Dixon, HHMI vice president and chief scientific officer.

More Information about the Organizations HHMI Is Collaborating With:

  • The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation funds the rising stars of science, recruiting the best new minds into cancer research and seeding their bold ideas. Since its founding in 1946, the Foundation has invested over $220 million and funded more than 3,200 scientists. Eleven scientists supported by the Foundation have received the Nobel Prize, and others are heads of cancer centers and leaders of renowned research programs.
  • The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation was established and endowed in 1943 by Mrs. Charles S. Payson, the former Joan Whitney, and named in honor of her mother, Helen Hay Whitney. Originally established to stimulate and support research in the area of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, the foundation later expanded its interests to include diseases of connective tissue and, ultimately, all basic biomedical sciences.
  • The Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research was established in 1937 by the late Alice S. Coffin and Starling W. Childs to create an entity that would honor the memory of Jane Coffin Childs. The purpose of the fund was to support research directed toward understanding and ultimately conquering the disease which caused her death. The fund was created as a gift in trust to Yale University for the furtherance of research into the causes, origin, and treatment of cancer.
  • Since 1983, the Life Sciences Research Foundation, without benefit of endowment, has administered yearly peer reviews to select the highest quality candidates seeking postdoctoral fellowships in all areas of the life sciences. Sponsors of the fellows are research-oriented companies, foundations, and philanthropists. The foundation is run pro bono by academic scientists.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is one of the world's largest philanthropies, with laboratories across the United States and grants programs throughout the world. The Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization that employs hundreds of leading biomedical scientists working at the forefront of their fields. HHMI investigators work in Hughes laboratories at more than 60 universities, medical centers, and other research institutions throughout the United States. In a complementary program at HHMI's Janelia Farm Research Campus in Loudoun County, Virginia, leading scientists are pursuing long-term, high-risk, high-reward research in a campus specially designed to bring together researchers from disparate disciplines. In addition, through its grants program and other activities, HHMI is helping to enhance science education at all levels and maintain the vigor of biomedical science worldwide. Its headquarters are located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.