Charles E. Kaufman Foundation: Grants for Science Research


OVERVIEW: The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation is housed within the Pittsburgh Foundation and gives to basic science in biology, chemistry, and physics at research institutions in Pennsylvania.

IP TAKE: Kaufman prioritizes Pennsylvania-based researchers. Awards are given through a competitive application process, with LOI deadlines early in the year. Those based outside of Pennsylvania are not eligible.

PROFILE: The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation was created when Charles Kaufman passed away in 2010 and left his $50 million estate to the Pittsburgh Foundation who would oversee giving in his name. Kaufman gives through cycles of competitive awards, with separate categories: New Investigator Research Grants and New Initiative Research Grants. Kaufman prioritizes biology, chemistry, and physics and supports fundamental research for the betterment and understanding of human life.

The New Investigator program seeks early career researchers and invites applications for scientists “as they transition into academic positions as independent investigators.” The competition looks for innovative ideas that will lead to transformative advances. Applicants must have received their Ph.D’s within the past eight years. These grants max out at $150,000 over two years.

The New Initiative program is for “investigators with strong records of research accomplishments to establish collaborations that facilitate innovative interdisciplinary approaches” to their work. The collaborating researchers can be from separate departments, but different approaches must be combined to form a new project. Awards are for as much as $300,000 over two years.

It is important to note that in both programs, projects must be focused on “basic” or “pure” science, and that “applied or clinical studies are not supported.”

The Kaufman Foundation maintains a team of experts to serve as a Scientific Advisory Board tasked with guiding the award decisions. The board has seven members from a variety of fields and universities, although at least four at any time must be in Pennsylvania, and at least two must be from outside the state. A full list of previous grantees can be seen here.