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Discovery Awards: Application Guidelines

The application portal for 2024 Discovery Awards will open in fall 2023 with a deadline in February 24.


  • Only one application per lead PI will be accepted. There is no limit to the number of proposals you can participate in as a co-PI.
  • If you were the lead PI of a funded 2022 Discovery Award, you are not eligible to apply as the lead PI of a 2023 award. You will be eligible again in 2024.

Applications from all academic and professional disciplines at the university are welcome, and may cover fundamental, applied, or clinical research in any field, as well as the development of applied creative projects in the arts and humanities. Applications must include at least two faculty members and/or APL staff members representing at least two separate schools/divisions or affiliates of the university.

Schools/divisions and affiliates are as follows: Applied Physics Laboratory (APL); Berman Institute of Bioethics (BI); Bloomberg School of Public Health (BSPH); Carey Business School (CBS); Center for Talented Youth (CTY); Human Language Technology Center of Excellence (HLTCOE); Jhpiego; Krieger School of Arts & Sciences (KSAS); Peabody Institute; School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); School of Education (SOE); School of Medicine (SOM); School of Nursing (SON); Sheridan Libraries; and Whiting School of Engineering (WSE).

For example, Peabody and SOM co-PIs qualify as an eligible partnership, but two faculty members from different SOM departments would not qualify without a third co-PI from a different school or affiliate.

Students and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to participate on Discovery Award teams.


Teams may request up to $100,000, with an award term of one to two years, to explore a new area of collaborative work. Support may be used for salary, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows or technicians, equipment, travel, and/or consumables. Include fringe on all salary funding requests. The aim of this program is to incite novel interactions within JHU; therefore, no more than 10% of the grant should be allocated as a subaward. We highly recommend that your departmental administrator reviews your budget for accuracy. Applicants must describe a credible plan that assures they will make substantial progress during their funding period. Awards will be announced in late spring and funding will begin on 7/1/2023.

  • Proposals in energy aligned with the initiatives of the Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute ( may request up to $150,000.
  • Proposals in the brain sciences aligned with the One Neuro initiative may request up to $150,000. Three will be awarded. The One Neuro Initiative is seeking to build a One University neuroscience community to promote collaboration and reimagine the scale of neuroscience research at Johns Hopkins from molecules to the mind. One Neuro proposals are due by midnight on 2/28/2023.

For any Discovery Award proposals that include APL, ensure that the APL co-PI(s) coordinates their proposal with Jason Fayer ( prior to final proposal submission to JHU. APL proposals must be submitted to Jason by Friday, February 2nd at 11:59PM for internal technical and financial review.


Applications will consist of four elements:

  1. proposal, which should include five sections that succinctly describe the: (A) innovative hypothesis to be tested or goal to be achieved; (B) nature of the collaboration that enables the proposed work; (C) approach to be pursued during the year of funding; (D) expected impact of the proposed studies beyond the initial funded phase, including what future work would be enabled; and (E) potential source of funding to sustain the effort. Since the Discovery Awards are intended for new collaborative projects, no preliminary data are required.
    The proposal section can be no more than three pages, not including references. Please use 12 point font and margins no smaller than 1/2 inch.
  2. budget breakdown that describes how the funding will be allocated to each investigator on the team, and how it will be apportioned for any personnel, supplies, equipment or other project expenses. Any budget amount up to the cap can be proposed. Faculty salary and equipment costs can be included. No indirect costs should be included in the budget.
  3. current CV or biosketch for all investigators. Please include all current and pending support from sponsored and non-sponsored sources.
  4. Up to five key words to aid in reviewer assignment.

Please note: Letters of support will not be accepted to keep the review process fair and brief.

Review Criteria:

The review process will evaluate the innovativeness of the project, its potential long-term impact and the synergy expected to result from the proposed crossdivisional collaboration. Collaborators who have worked and published together in the past are not excluded, but the project itself must be both highly innovative and as of yet unfunded. Applications will also be judged on the likelihood of success in attaining future funding. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of distinguished faculty.

Post–Award Requirements:

Recipients will submit a final progress report, including any completed work, reports of invention, and any external funding applications/awards enabled by this funding. Recipients may also be asked to present their work at a Provost Research Symposium.

Learn about the 2023 Discovery Awardees

  • Contact

    Vice Provost for Research

    265 Garland Hall
    3400 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21218

    (443) 927-1957

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