Applications for the Shaw Family Pioneer Award are now closed. Please visit this page again in Fall 2020 for the next RFP. 


The Women’s Health Research Institute sponsors the Shaw Family Pioneer Awards which provide funding for  sex-inclusive research, focusing on sex-based determinants of health and disease. These awards are not designed to provide ongoing support for a long-term project, rather they are intended to assist in obtaining pilot data required for larger grant applications. 

Specifically, this program:

  • Supports Northwestern University investigators who conduct or are interested in sex-based research.
  • Enables early career investigators to conduct pilot studies that will help build their portfolio, thereby enhancing their ability to compete for large federal grants.
  • Provides a mechanism for senior investigators to mentor young scientists who are interested in sex-based research.
  • Promotes sex-inclusive science through collaborative and innovative research. 

Application Process:
Applications are accepted though an on-line form and require the following information:

  • An abstract limited to 500 words.
  • A summary of the proposed research plan (limited to 3 pages) including the following:
    • Introduction  
    • Goals and objectives 
    • Approach
    • Project timeline
    • Relevance to sex-based discoveries 
  • An NIH-style biographical sketch
  • A budget summary (limited to 2 pages) including the following:
    • Amount of funds requested, not to exceed $12,000
    • An itemized budget and rationale for resources needed  
    • Additional current and pending sources of funding for the proposed research 

Please note that the award cannot be used towards conference support, including travel, registration, and lodging, or the use of consultants.

Review Criteria:
A panel will review and evaluate award proposals and select the most meritorious projects based on the reviews and specific criteria requested. The WHRI will not provide individuals critiques of submitted proposals. Award proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Impact of the project
  • Innovation of the project
  • Approach of the project
  • Relevance to sex-based discoveries

Award letters will be issued in early January, 2020 and a formal announcement will be made at the 4th Annual Symposium on Sex Inclusion in Biomedical Research which will be held on January 24, 2020. Award letters will include additional information regarding disbursement of funds and indicate if additional documentation or steps are required prior to the initiation of the project. Awardees will be required to submit a stewardship report upon completion of the project period and agree to cite the WHRI as a source of support in presentations, publications, or grants resulting from their proposed research project. It is the responsibility of the awardee to notify the WHRI of these relevant activities.

Key Dates
September 3 – Applications open 
December 6 – Applications due
January 24, 2020 – Awards announced
February 1, 2020 – Project period begins  
February 28, 2021 – Project period ends

Questions regarding the Shaw Family Pioneer Awards or the application process should be directed to:
Nicole Woitowich, PhD
(312) 503-1385 


Please click here to submit an application.