The Searle Scholars Program makes grants to selected academic institutions to support the independent research of outstanding early-career scientists who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track appointment. Grants are $300,000 for a three-year term with $100,000 payable each year of the grant, subject to the receipt of acceptable progress reports. Generally, the program makes 15 new grants annually.

Submissions are restricted to selected candidates from invited institutions only and are not open to individuals who have not been selected by their institution to participate in the competition. The list of invited institutions can be found on the Participating Institutions page. Individuals from an invited institution who are considering submitting an application should consult with the individual at their institution who handles limited submission awards to determine how many applications their institution has been allowed to submit, as well as how selections will be made within their institution.

Program Participation

Institutions which are not currently invited to participate in our program may send a one to two-page letter of appeal requesting inclusion in our competition. This letter should be signed by an appropriate institutional official and addressed to the Searle Scholars Scientific Advisory Board - Searle Scholars Program, 225 West Washington Street., 28th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606. These requests are considered once a year, generally in February and must arrive in our office by February 1 for consideration in the next competition. Information to include in the letter: contact information including an email address for response to the appeal, an overview of the institution, especially its biomedical and chemistry research departments, and any significant plans for expansion of research faculty, addition of new facilities or other enhancements for the research community. In reviewing an appeal, information available on departmental web sites will also be explored.

Selection Process

Applications will be screened by a Scientific Advisory Board comprised of experts in the fields of interest to the Program. All applicants will be advised of competition results by the end of April of the award year. Applicants are asked to refrain from contacting the Program to ascertain the status of their application prior to this time.


Questions about scientific aspects of an application or about eligibility should be addressed to the Scientific Director, other questions should be directed to the Administrative and Grants Coordinator.