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University of Pennsylvania
(Philadelphia, PA)
Discovery Research and Innovation Fund

The University of Pennsylvania is firmly committed to knowledge-driven basic research to advance human understanding of the world and beyond. At times the pursuit of fundamental discovery leads to findings with tremendous social impact. Discoveries in fundamental physics 30 years ago enable scientists today to “see” the tiniest atoms as well as the scope of the universe, transforming our understanding of matter and the universe. The cellular and biomolecular discoveries of 20 years ago underlie recent advances in treatments for cancer and neurodegenerative disease. The development of ENIAC, the first computing machine that enacted mathematical principles, enabled the computer revolution that has transformed society. At other times, interdisciplinary collaboration in fundamental processes is required to solve complex theoretical challenges about the natural world. For example, quantitative understanding of evolutionary processes still evades researchers across the natural sciences and computational mathematics.
The University of Pennsylvania has established the Discovery Research and Innovation Fund to support research directed at the most intriguing questions of our time, as well as high-risk investigations with the potential for transformative outcomes.


The Discovery Science Fund will support novel, early stage research that is unlikely to receive funding from traditional sources.


Faculty researchers with ambitious visions for transformative research in biomedical and life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics are eligible for support individually or in groups.


The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) will administer the Discovery Research and Innovation Fund. The OVPR will solicit applications for awards. The Vice Provost for Research will be assisted in selecting award recipients by faculty peer review committees defined by disciplinary areas: biomedical and life sciences, and physical sciences. Members of the peer review committees will be accomplished investigators in their respective fields, appointed by the Vice Provost for Research.


A multi-tiered support mechanism contains seed grants, long term research grants, instrumentation, and facilities development grants. Components include Discovery at the Beginning; Discovery at the Frontiers; Discovery at Intersections; Technology Enabling Discovery.

To learn more about the program, view the University of Pennsylvania Full Description.