HHMI catalyzes discovery science by investing in outstanding researchers with generous and flexible funding for significant periods of time. HHMI selects people, not projects. Our investigators ask tough questions in science, even at the risk of failure. They develop new tools and methods that make it possible to ask previously unapproachable questions. Many forge links between biology and medicine. They are committed to mentoring and training the next generation of scientists.
With HHMI’s backing, scientists have radically changed our understanding of cells, the brain, the immune system, the development of organs, and the causes of human diseases. To date, 29 current or former HHMI investigators have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
HHMI employs and supports nearly 300 investigators, who are based at over 60 universities, colleges, and other research institutions across the U.S. In addition to their research programs, HHMI investigators participate in educational activities and hold leadership roles at these host institutions. With our backing, as well as support from other funding sources, investigators direct a research team and create a laboratory environment well suited to tackle profound science questions.
HHMI Investigator Attributes
HHMI investigators have a combination of the attributes listed below. These attributes are used both in review of applicants during competitions and during review of investigators for appointment renewals:
- 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 concepts or techniques from other disciplines when necessary.
- 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.
Through periodic competitions, HHMI invites applications from scientists who meet the eligibility criteria. Although specific criteria may vary for each competition, in general:
- Applicants must hold a PhD and/or MD.
- Applicants must plan to perform research at one of over 200 eligible U.S. institutions.
- Applicants must hold a position that represents substantial commitment by their institution, such as a tenure-track faculty position.
- Applicants must have a track record of peer-reviewed funding.
- Each competition defines a required length of post-training professional experience prior to the application.
- Each competition defines the breadth of scientific disciplines to be considered; however, most competitions are open to all biomedical disciplines.
Application and Competition Information
Through periodic competitions, HHMI invites applications from eligible scientists. Subscribe to HHMI News to receive updates on future competitions.
- Applicants apply directly; there is no nomination process and no limit of the number of applications from a single institution.
- Application requirements include a CV, five highlighted research articles, and a program description focused on research achievements during the last five years and future research plans.
- Selection of investigators is made by HHMI scientific leadership and is based on assessment by a panel of distinguished scientists, including members of HHMI advisory boards.
The HHMI investigator appointment has a seven-year renewable term. Renewal decisions are made by HHMI scientific leadership, based on assessment by a panel of distinguished scientists, including members of HHMI advisory boards.
- Investigators are employees of HHMI and receive salary and benefits from the Institute.
- Investigators are provided generous financial support for research as well as access to capital equipment funds.
- Investigators belong to a community of nearly 300 investigators as well as other HHMI-funded scientists. They annually attend one of several scientific meetings that highlight science within the Institute.
Appointments involve a collaborative agreement with the investigator’s host institution, where the researcher holds a concurrent appointment and the research is performed.
The HHMI Investigator program is the Institute’s flagship program aimed at sustaining innovation in science.