Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a science philanthropy whose mission is to conduct basic biomedical research. HHMI’s guiding principle is to support “people, not projects” because it is individual scientists with their creativity, curiosity, and persistence who break through barriers to advance scientific knowledge. HHMI selects outstanding researchers for HHMI Investigator positions, employs them for seven-year terms that may be renewed through a peer-review process, and provides them with long-term research support that gives them the freedom to follow their scientific curiosity and intuition. During their HHMI appointments, Investigators remain on the faculty of their university, hospital, or research institution.

HHMI expects its Investigators to be talented and productive scientists. They should demonstrate a combination of the following attributes that clearly distinguish them from other highly competent researchers in their field:

  • They identify and pursue significant biological questions in a rigorous and deep manner.
  • They drive their chosen research field into new areas of inquiry, being consistently at its forefront.
  • They develop new tools and methods that enable creative experimental approaches to biological questions, bringing to bear, when necessary, concepts or techniques from other disciplines.
  • They forge links between basic biology and medicine.
  • They demonstrate great promise of future original and innovative contributions.
  • They are active in service and training in their host institutions, and in the greater scientific community.

An advisory panel of distinguished scientists reviews the accomplishments of the current appointment period and prospects for future contributions. Advisory panel members are provided the evaluation criteria and are asked to assess the impact and quality of the contributions of the Investigator during the current appointment period relative to those of others in the field. The panel considers materials submitted by the Investigator and others, as well as an oral presentation by the Investigator. HHMI scientific leadership then assesses the evaluation by the advisory panel and makes the final decision regarding renewal of the appointment. 

Investigators are asked to provide review materials, such as:

  • A brief description of the research program, including significant research accomplishments and major efforts during the current appointment term, as well as future plans and goals. These achievements should be placed in the context of the work of others in the field and should identify collaborative efforts. 
  • Choose five of their most significant articles and provide a brief statement for each that describes the significance and impact of that contribution.
  • A bibliography that focuses on the current appointment period, within specific guidelines. (Articles submitted to preprint servers, but not yet published, are permitted.)
  • A list of all predoctoral students (PhD and MD/PhD) and postdoctoral fellows trained in their laboratories during the past 10 years, including current trainees, with certain detailed information regarding training and subsequent and current positions.
  • A report that describes the highlights of significant activities in training and service to the scientific community during the current appointment term.
  • A Curriculum Vitae that includes specific information.

(Additional detailed requirements and instructions apply to the review process and each of the above review materials.)