Ludwig Center at Harvard 2020 Request for Proposals

December 11, 2019


Release date:  December 11, 2019

Proposal due:  March 2, 2020

Award Announcements: June 1, 2020



Background and Purpose

The Ludwig Center at Harvard brings together investigators from across Harvard to develop strategies to overcome barriers that limit the efficacy of current and emerging cancer therapies.  The Center prioritizes collaborative research that draws on diverse expertise to address fundamental problems of therapy resistance, including analysis of underlying cellular programs that are co-opted to protect cells from cancer therapies, and the design of therapeutic strategies to prevent resistance.  The Center places a strong emphaisis on community to maximize the cross-fertilization of ideas, and to create opportunities for synergies to advance scientific understanding and clinical translation.  More information about the Center can be found on our website:

We invite Harvard-affiliated investigators to submit short (no more than 1 page) concepts outlining how they would propose to add the ongoing collaborative research effort.  Current areas of ongoing research include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and hematopoetic cancers.  Priority will be placed on new projects that intersect with current projects, or technologies or mechanisms that are disease-agnostic and can be applied across multiple cancer types. Funded investigators must be willing to work collaboratively, either through a proposed collaborative project or by integration with other ongoing efforts.


I. Application Timeline

December 11, 2019                                RFP release

March 2, 2020                                         Deadline for submission of proposals (5 pm ET)

June 1, 2020                                           Announcement of awards

July 1, 2020                                            Funding start date


II. Program Eligibility

Applicants Eligible for Funding: Full-time faculty members in the Harvard community with an appointment level at or above Assistant Professor (or equivalent appointment) are eligible to apply.

Activities Eligible for Funding: Proposals for collaborative, cross-disciplinary research related to therapy resistance in cancer, as described in Background and Purpose section above.


III. Award Types and Funding Levels

The maximum award level per investigator will be $150,000/year for up to two years. Subject to receipt of a sufficient volume of meritorious applications, the Ludwig Center anticipates making up to 4 new awards in this cycle. 


IV. Proposal Submission, Review, and Selection Process

Proposal Submission (deadline: March 2 at 5 PM EST)

Please submit a one page document that outlines your proposed research direction and approach, including innovation, need/opportunity, and significance of the proposed work, and a description of proposed collaborations and interactions with the Ludwig community. Ludwig Center leadership will work with selected Awardee(s) to further refine specific research plans, where appropriate, including potential interactions with other Ludwig investigators.

Email proposals to (subject header:  2020 RFP Proposal)


Evaluation criteria

The intention of these awards is to support collaborative research that addresses resistance to cancer therapies. Review criteria will include: 

  • Novelty and opportunity to build new approaches to combat cancer therapy resistance.  Proposed projects should not be currently funded through other mechanisms.
  • Potential for collaboration and interaction with other projects across the Ludwig community.
  • Interest in active participation in the Ludwig community, including participation in regular meetings and sharing research progress with the community. 

For more information about the Ludwig Center at Harvard, see Questions about the proposal submission, eligibility, review, and selection process may be sent to


V.   Budget

The initial proposal does not require an accompanying budget.  Awardee(s) will be asked to provide a budget following a simple template that will be provided.

Funding may be used only for research directly related to and budgeted under the project.  Budget items may include personnel expenses, supplies, equipment, services, and other appropriate non-personnel research expenses.   

Indirect costs cannot be reimbursed under this program due to specific provisions in the Ludwig donor terms as well as limitations under Harvard University policy. However, explicit non-research costs specifically incurred by your lab in carrying out this project, including computer/office supplies and administrative support, may be included as direct costs up to a maximum of 20% of the requested budget.  Such costs should be detailed and justified within the budget justification submitted with the application.

Funds may be re-budgeted without prior approval as long as no single direct cost category in the budget changes by an amount that exceeds 25 percent of the total costs awarded. Changes to the budget that lead to an increase or decrease in a single direct cost budget category of more than 25 percent of the total costs awarded require prior approval from Ludwig Center at Harvard staff.

The responsibility for management of the award is held by the awardee. The Ludwig Ceter at Harvard will regularly monitor the use of the funds.


VI. Other Requirements: Anticipated Terms and Conditions of the Award

Time and Effort: All personnel on funded projects must commit time and effort appropriate to their roles on the project.  


Award Terms, including Inventions and Intellectual Property:   Ludwig Center at Harvard awards to employees of a Harvard-affiliated institution are subject to the home insituttion’s acceptance of the terms included in a non-negotiable Memorandum of Understanding (“Agreement”). Such Agreement includes, among other terms, a requirement to share royalties of Ludwig Center-Funded Inventions for reinvestment in the Ludwig Center. Several Harvard-afiliated institutions have already reviewed and accepted the terms of the Agreement.  If your institution has not already accepted the Agreement terms and would like to request a copy of the template for review or otherwise request further information, please email with Ludwig Center in the subject line.


Research Compliance:  Ludwig Center at Harvard awards are an internal funding mechanism for Harvard-based Lead PIs and collaborating Co-PIs and will therefore not be set up in GMAS or require OSP/ORA approval at the proposal stage.  Ludwig Center staff strongly recommend that Co-PIs based at Harvard-affiliated institutions obtain institutional approval at the proposal stage. The PI, Department or non-HMS institution are responsible for meeting all compliance requirements associated with the award, including any human or animal subject research approvals. Documentation of such approvals must be provided to Ludwig Center staff prior to release of the awards.


Publications: The Ludwig Center at Harvard, as reflected in the formal award letter/agreement, must be cited in all presentations and publications that describe work supported by this initiative. Reprints of all publications containing this acknowledgment should be provided to the Ludwig Center at Harvard staff.


Reporting Requirements: Details about the format of required reports will be provided in the formal award letter/agreement. It is anticipated that a progress report will be due every six (6) months during the period of the award. Periodic financial reports will be requested by Ludwig Center at Harvard staff to verify the appropriateness of project expenses.

Proposal submission deadline: March 2, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET



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