Table of Contents
- Application Guidelines
- Review Process
- Employment as an HHMI Investigator; Time Commitment to Research
- Compensation and Benefits for HHMI Investigators
- Grant and Other Nonprofit Funding
- Budgets, Indirect Costs, and Laboratory Staff
- Research Collaborations, Consulting, and Industry Funding
- Intellectual Property – Patenting and Licensing
- PhD and/or MD (or the equivalent).
- Tenured or tenure-track position as assistant professor or higher academic rank at one of the eligible US institutions, or, if at an eligible institution that has no tenure track, an appointment that reflects a significant institutional commitment. Federal government employees are not eligible.
- More than five but no more than 15 years of experience since beginning your first post-training, professional position. To meet this requirement, the applicant’s first post-training, professional position must have begun no earlier than March 1, 2005, and no later than April 1, 2015.
- As of April 1, 2020, principal investigator on one (or more) active, national peer-reviewed research grants with a duration of at least three years. Mentored awards and training grants do not qualify. Multi-investigator grants may qualify.
Individuals with administrative responsibilities are eligible to apply, but those appointed to be HHMI Investigators must devote at least 75% of their total professional time to the direct conduct of research.
- The permitted 25% of non-research activities include administrative duties, teaching, faculty service, and consulting (subject to HHMI’s policies on consulting).
- HHMI Investigators may serve in leadership positions (e.g., department chair, director of a departmental division, head of a research center or a graduate program, etc.) if HHMI determines that the duties are compatible with devoting at least 75% of their total professional time to the direct conduct of research.
- HHMI Investigators may not hold the positions of dean, provost, vice president, or president of an institution, as we do not believe it is possible for individuals in these positions to meet the 75% requirement. Also, see E4 concerning salary support for administrative responsibilities.
- you notify HHMI of your intent to change institutions no later than March 9, 2021;
- you provide a copy of your signed offer letter (with confidential information such as your salary and support, etc. redacted) by March 9, 2021;
- the new appointment starts no later than September 1, 2022;
- the new institution where you will hold your primary appointment is an eligible institution for this competition; and
- your new appointment is to a tenured or tenure-track position or, if the new institution has no tenure track, your appointment reflects a significant institutional commitment.
Years of Experience
The following positions qualify as post-training for calculating years of experience:
- Tenure-track Assistant Professor or higher rank positions.
- Positions at institutions without tenure-track positions that are most similar to a tenure-track appointment (i.e., in terms of institutional commitment to the employee, etc.).
- Research (non-tenure) track faculty positions, if the scientist:
- had institutionally assigned space independent of a mentor’s space, and
- received a start-up package as a Principal Investigator.
- Industry positions not identified as postdoctoral training positions.
- Full-time clinical positions without a training component.
In contrast, time in the following types of positions is not included when determining years of experience:
- Postdoctoral positions, regardless of position title.
- Medical internships, residencies, and fellowships.
- Fellow positions made through programs providing financial support for early career scientists to run independent groups.
- Research (non-tenure) track faculty positions that do not meet the criteria listed above or other positions in which the scientist works within a mentor’s laboratory even if leading projects, guiding students, or being a Principal Investigator on a research award.
B. Application Guidelines
B1. How do I prepare and submit my application?
Your application must be submitted electronically on the HHMI Application and Review Channel website. Formatting guidelines, the required bibliography template, and instructions are provided on the Channel website.Responses entered in the application and uploaded documents will be assembled into an application PDF. You can view your application PDF at any time while preparing your application by clicking on “View PDF” in the menu shown on the left side of the screen. We recommend reviewing the application PDF closely before submitting your completed application.
B2. What are the components of the application?
Applicants provide their research program title, scientific disciplines, research organisms (if any), and research areas, and may also provide keywords to describe their research.
Also required are a summary of the applicant’s major research contributions to date (250-word limit) and a list of active grants including titles, identifying numbers (if any), name of principal investigator, name of funding agency, and total award period (300-word limit).
Applicants provide the number of predoctoral trainees, postdoctoral trainees, MD Fellows, research staff (technicians, lab managers, research specialists, computation specialists), and undergraduates currently working in their laboratory.
Applicants provide a research program abstract (300-word limit) and description (not to exceed 3,000 words) of their ongoing and planned research program, with up to one page of figures and a list of essential references. Figures and accompanying legends may be interleaved within the body of the description. Figures, legends, and essential references are not included in the 3,000-word limit.
Applicants select five articles that report their most important scientific contributions with a focus on the most recent five years. For each article, the applicant provides a statement that summarizes the significance of the selected article (300-word limit). Only papers that are published, accepted, or deposited in a preprint server as of September 2, 2020, may be included.
Additional publications may be listed using the HHMI bibliography template, which is provided on the HHMI Application and Review Channel website. These should include only peer-reviewed publications and preprint articles listed in reverse chronological order. There is an eight-page limit on this subsection of the bibliography. A separate list of reviews, perspectives, other articles, book chapters, and patents are permitted. There is a two-page limit on this subsection.
Applicant provides contact details not previously entered on the Eligibility page.
Education & Training
Applicant completes an educational or research training record for each career stage starting with undergraduate education and continuing sequentially through all training positions. For post-degree training, applicant would select “No Degree” under “Degree.”
Note that the following are considered training positions for the purpose of this application:
- Postdoctoral positions, regardless of position title.
- Medical internships, residencies, and fellows.
- Fellow positions made through programs providing financial support for early career scientists to run independent groups.
- Research (non-tenure) track faculty positions unless the individual was (a) controlling his/her own research direction and laboratory space and (b) received a start-up package from the institution.
- Other positions in which the scientist worked within a mentor’s laboratory even if leading projects, guiding students, or being the Principal Investigator on a research award.
Applicant may enter records in any order. Records will appear in the application PDF sorted by start date from oldest to most recent.
Applicant completes an employment record for each position starting with their first post-training professional position and continuing sequentially through their current position(s). Additional notes provided under Education & Training, above, explain what to include as Employment History versus Education & Training.
If appropriate, applicant should explain any gaps in the sequence of educational programs, training experiences, and professional positions in the space allocated for explanatory notes (100-word limit).
Applicants have an opportunity to provide information about:
- significant professional activities including, for example, service on advisory panels, editorial boards, or consulting;
- honors and awards;
- significant outreach activities including, for example, science outreach in the community and contributions to equity and inclusion efforts; and
- significant curriculum and/or course development activities that extend beyond fulfilling institutional teaching requirements.
If a section is not applicable, N/A should be entered in the space provided. Responses are limited to 300 words.
It is voluntary and optional for applicants to provide demographic information about gender, ethnicity, and/or race. HHMI will aggregate this information for all applicants who provide it, and the data will be used to characterize the applicant pool for this competition and to help HHMI plan outreach for future competitions. We may also make aggregated information public in a way that does not permit the identification of any individual applicants.All applicants are required to acknowledge that responses to the questions on the Demographics page are not required. Demographic information will not be shared with reviewers.
B3. May the five significant articles required in the application include one or more deposited in a preprint server but not yet published or accepted for publication in a scientific journal?
Yes. All of the following are acceptable for inclusion among the five significant articles submitted in the application:
- peer-reviewed published papers;
- peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted for publication by a journal;
- articles deposited in a publicly available preprint server, such as BioRxiv.
B4. Will I be asked to provide reference letters?
B5. Can I send updates to my application?
B6. Can work supported by active or submitted grants be included in the Research Program Description?
B7. Should specific aims be included in the Research Program Description?
B8. Should I include background information in my research plan?
B9. What should I include in the Major Contributions section?
B10. Do I need endorsement or approval from my institution in order to apply for this competition?
C. Review Process
C1. How does the HHMI review process work?
C2. When is the symposium at which semifinalists will make brief presentations to HHMI scientific leadership and the final advisory panel?
C3. Who are the reviewers?
C4. Can I get a list of potential reviewers who might be assigned to my application?
C5. What are the criteria for selecting HHMI Investigators?
C6. Does HHMI give a preference to applicants who are already at institutions where there are other HHMI Investigators?
C7. When will I know the status of my application?
C8. Will I receive written comments on my application from the reviewers?
D. Employment as an HHMI Investigator; Time Commitment to Research
D1. I understand that as an Investigator I would become an HHMI employee. Would this affect my faculty status at my institution?
D2. I am a tenured faculty member at my institution and I also have a faculty appointment at another institution. Will I have to give up that other faculty appointment if I become an Investigator?
D3. If I am selected to be an Investigator, are there aspects of my current duties that could delay or even block my appointment as an Investigator?
- HHMI requires Investigators to devote at least 75% of their total professional time to the direct conduct of research, regardless of how funded. Up to 25% of total professional time may be spent on administrative duties, teaching, faculty service, and consulting (subject to HHMI’s policies on consulting). An HHMI Investigator appointment cannot go into effect until your pre-existing non-research duties have been reviewed.
- Industry-sponsored research funding in HHMI laboratories and consulting for companies are subject to review, and continuing arrangements will likely need to be modified before you can be appointed as an HHMI Investigator. Arrangements with start-up companies can present additional considerations under HHMI’s policies (e.g., nature of your role with the company, board of director service, equity ownership, and interactions between the company and your laboratory) and will need to be reviewed and modified accordingly. (Also see Section H. Research Collaborations, Consulting, and Industry Funding).
- In some cases, the terms of other funding arrangements are not compatible with status as an HHMI Investigator. If you have funding arrangements in this category, and they cannot be modified for consistency with HHMI policies, you will need to choose whether to forego appointment as an HHMI Investigator or discontinue the other funding arrangements. This is currently the case, for example, with Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigators and Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Member Researchers.
D4. If I am selected to be an Investigator, how long would my HHMI appointment continue?
D5. My institution allows me to consult or engage in other outside activities for up to one day per week. Does HHMI have a limit on outside activities?
D6. Can I move an HHMI appointment to another institution?
E. Compensation and Benefits for HHMI Investigators
E1. What is included in the compensation package of an HHMI Investigator?
E2. How will my initial HHMI salary be determined?
E3. How is salary determined subsequently?
E4. Can I receive salary supplementation from my institution for administrative or other duties?
E5. As an HHMI Investigator, could I continue to receive housing, tuition assistance, or other similar benefits offered by my host institution?
F. Grant and Other Nonprofit Funding
F1. Can I continue to receive government grant funding if I become an HHMI Investigator?
F2. I receive at least part of my salary from my federal grant funds. Because my entire salary must be provided by HHMI, would I be required to return those funds if appointed as an Investigator?
Your institution cannot continue to accept any such funds for your salary after your HHMI appointment is effective. Investigators typically negotiate directly with the granting agency regarding possible reallocation of grant funds.
F3. I am currently reporting very close to 100% effort on my government grants. Would that be an issue?
F4. Can I receive funding from other nonprofit sources for research in my laboratory if I become an HHMI Investigator?
Yes, provided the funding arrangements are consistent with the application of HHMI policies to your research. Upon appointment as an HHMI Investigator, you become an HHMI employee, and HHMI policies apply to the conduct of all research in your laboratory. There may be circumstances where the terms of another funding arrangement with a company or a nonprofit institution are not compatible with HHMI policies. Prior to appointment as an HHMI Investigator, HHMI reviews arrangements affecting your research in order to determine whether any modifications are required for compliance with HHMI policies. In certain cases, if an arrangement cannot be modified, you may be required to choose between an HHMI appointment and maintaining one or more of your other arrangements. See also Section H, Research Collaborations, Consulting, and Industry Funding regarding industry funding.
G. Budgets, Indirect Costs, and Laboratory Staff
G1. What does an Investigator’s budget include?
G2. How does HHMI establish an Investigator’s budget?
G3. Does HHMI pay indirect costs?
G4. If I am appointed as an Investigator, can some of my laboratory staff become HHMI employees? Would they be eligible for health insurance from HHMI? Who sets their salaries?
Yes. Any of your postdoctoral associates, technicians, and other research and administrative staff could become HHMI employees (subject to the limitations of your budget, and assuming the individual meets the requirements for an HHMI position). Although graduate students cannot become HHMI employees, funds from Investigator budgets can be used in support of students conducting research in the lab. Also, note:
- It is generally expected that you will have some HHMI employees in your laboratory in addition to yourself.
- Full-time and part-time (scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week) HHMI employees are eligible for benefits that include access to a 403(b) retirement plan, as well as health, dental, and vision coverage. Temporary employees, such as summer students, generally are not eligible for benefits from HHMI.
- You set salaries for HHMI employees in your laboratory, within HHMI salary guidelines.
- A lab member’s salary cannot be split among HHMI and another entity.
- There may be certain types of positions that are not permitted for an HHMI employee (e.g., full-time grant writer).
H. Research Collaborations, Consulting, and Industry Funding
H1. Can I receive industry funding for research in my laboratory?
Yes, provided the arrangements are consistent with HHMI’s Company Funding Arrangements Policy. Your host institution negotiates the terms for industry funding to your laboratory under similar circumstances as other faculty. However, HHMI staff reviews all arrangements to ensure that the terms are consistent with HHMI policies. Any existing company-sponsored research arrangements will be reviewed by HHMI and may need to be modified before you can be appointed as an Investigator.
H2. Can I collaborate with industry?
Yes, provided the arrangements are consistent with HHMI’s policies. Research collaborations with company scientists that include company funding are reviewed by HHMI for consistency with HHMI’s Company Funding Arrangements Policy. Unfunded research collaboration projects with company scientists are reviewed by HHMI for consistency with HHMI’s Research Collaborations Policy. All collaborations with companies, whether funded or unfunded, must be documented by an agreement that has been reviewed by HHMI’s Office of the General Counsel.
H3. Are collaborations with my academic colleagues also reviewed?
H4. As an HHMI Investigator, can I consult for a company?
Yes, provided the arrangements are consistent with HHMI’s consulting policies. Consulting activities with companies must be documented by an agreement that has been reviewed by HHMI’s Office of the General Counsel. Information about HHMI’s consulting policies can be found on HHMI’s Policies page.
Note that service as a member of a company’s board of directors is permitted only in limited circumstances, and service as an officer of a company is never permitted. Also, an Investigator may not consult for and collaborate with or receive funding from a company at the same time.
H5. Can I have equity ownership in a company, including a start-up?
H6. Can I consult for a nonprofit organization?
I. Intellectual Property – Patenting and Licensing
I1. How does HHMI handle intellectual property?
As the employer, HHMI owns any intellectual property developed by its Investigators and other employees. HHMI assigns intellectual property rights to the host institution, subject to certain retained rights for research purposes, and shares patenting and licensing expenses and any royalty income with the host institution to the extent specified in HHMI’s collaborative agreement with the Investigator’s host institution. The relevant host institution’s policy applies in determining the amount and timing of distributions of royalty income to inventors.
I2. Some technology I developed in the past has been licensed to companies. Will HHMI be concerned about those arrangements?
I3. If I get royalties from a company that licensed technology I developed in the past, can I collaborate with or consult for that company?
Yes, assuming that the license and collaboration or consulting arrangements are consistent with HHMI policies.
For more detailed information about HHMI’s research policies, please refer to the Policies page.