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Huck Institutes establish the Huck Innovative & Transformational Seed (HITS) Fund

Through the establishment of the HITS Fund, the Huck Institutes seek to support truly innovative and transformational research within the life sciences arena at Penn State.
Image by Eric McNulty [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via

Image by Eric McNulty [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via

The Huck Institutes seek to support projects that are bold, have high impact, and would transform our understanding or provide a solution to a pressing issue.

We expect high risk, but if the project works, a very high return.


We don’t require preliminary data or evidence of previous collaboration, and we definitely do not want to see proposals that are transitional, incremental, built on current research programs, or seeking to bridge potential funding shortfalls in otherwise strong programs.

We are looking for ideas too innovative or risky to attract conventional NIH or NSF funding at the current time, but with the expectation that conventional grant agencies would scramble to catch up if your idea pans out.

Review and funding

There is no upper limit to what you may request in funding, but requested funds should be justified to be cost-efficient and commensurate with potential for high impact or return.

You may also request two-stage funding, with pilot funding followed by proof of concept.

A panel of reviewers will rank the most exciting ideas and then decide what level of funding would be appropriate.

Successful projects may be funded in full or in part, and project modifications may be requested based on review and feedback.


Proposals can be in any area of life sciences — including genomics, infectious disease, plant sciences, neuroscience, metabolomics, food and health, and biomedical research — or at the intersection of life sciences and other strengths at the University, notably materials science, cyberscience, social science, and environmental science.

Proposals should be no more than two (2) pages of text, and should include the following components:

  1. Brief background
  2. Your idea and approach
  3. The project team and role of investigators
  4. Evidence of prior innovative science
  5. Why your idea defies conventional funding mechanisms
  6. A brief budget (do not include faculty salaries or excessive support of students)


Applications should be submitted to Megan Matthews by May 1st, 2012.

Decisions will be made and feedback provided within 4 weeks.