We believe that the most transformative breakthroughs come when talented scientists are given the freedom to pursue bold ideas.
That’s why we take a “people, not projects” approach, providing generous and flexible support to talented scientists so they can go where their science leads.
We employ more than 260 Investigators, located at approximately 60 US research institutions, who are widely known for pushing the boundaries of basic and biomedical research.
In addition to conducting original research, HHMI Investigators also:
- Direct a research team and create a lab environment suited to tackling fundamental research questions
- Commit to mentoring and training the next generation of scientists
- Join an active community of HHMI scientists spanning career stages
- Teach and play leadership roles at their host institutions
HHMI Investigators do research that radically changes our understanding of how biology works, from molecular, biochemical and cellular processes to genetics, development and disease mechanisms, in a wide range of organisms. These fundamental discoveries have been broadly recognized by the scientific community, including Nobel Prizes to more than 30 current or former Investigators.
In general, to be eligible for the Investigator program, applicants must:
- Have a PhD and/or MD
- Plan to dedicate at least 75% of their time to research at an eligible US institution
- Hold a position that represents substantial commitment by their institution, such as a tenure-track faculty position
- Have a track record of peer-reviewed funding
- Meet the required length of post-training, professional experience prior to applying
Investigator competitions are open to researchers in basic and biomedical sciences, plant biology, evolutionary biology, biophysics, chemical biology, biomedical engineering, and computational biology.
HHMI aims to hold an Investigator competition every three years. Through these competitions, HHMI invites applications from eligible scientists. Applicants apply directly; there is no nomination process and no limit on the number of applications from a single institution.
Application requirements include:
- Description of five distinct scientific research contributions
- Program description focused on your ongoing and planned research program
Applicants can determine eligibility and apply directly at the HHMI Application and Review Channel website. The site includes formatting guidelines, the required bibliography template, and other instructions.
Specific information about the application can be found in the program announcement (PDF), the list of frequently asked questions, and the video on how to apply.
HHMI’s scientific leadership selects Investigators based on assessment by a panel of distinguished scientists, including members of HHMI advisory boards.
Investigators are appointed to a seven-year renewable term. Renewal decisions are made by HHMI scientific leadership, based on assessment and review by a panel of distinguished scientists, including members of HHMI advisory boards.
Once appointed by HHMI, Investigators:
- Become employees of HHMI and receive their full salary and employee benefits from the Institute
- Retain academic appointments and laboratories at their respective institutions
- Receive generous financial support for research, as well as access to capital equipment funds
- Belong to a community of more than 260 investigators and other HHMI scientists
- Attend annual scientific meetings to share new research with other HHMI scientists
Appointments also involve a collaborative agreement between HHMI and the Investigator’s host institution, where the Investigator holds a concurrent appointment and maintains their research lab.
The HHMI Investigator Program is the Institute’s flagship program aimed at sustaining innovation in science.