Rita Allen Foundation: Grants for Science Research

OVERVIEW: The Rita Allen Foundation focuses its science research grantmaking on early-career scientists studying cancer, immunology, and neuroscience.

IP TAKE: Allen seeks to fund the early stages of groundbreaking research.

PROFILE: The Rita Allen Foundation, based in Princeton, New Jersey, has been investing in “transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems” since 1953. The foundation has kept a fairly low public profile over the years; it was not until 2009 that it opened its first office and hired its first CEO. The foundation supports science research through The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Program.

The Scholars program supports early-career biomedical scientists conducting pioneering research in cancer, immunology, and neuroscience. Grantees receive grants of up to $110,000 per year for up to five years. The funds, according to the foundation, allow scientists to establish their own labs and “pursue research directions with above-average risk and promise.”

The Allen Foundation also awards grants for pain research: awards are made for up to three years, at $50,000 per year. Pain research grants are made in collaboration with the American Pain Society.

Scholar program funds must be used for direct project expenses, which includes up to 50 percent of the grantee’s compensation. To get a broader sense of the foundation’s funding priorities, browse its listing of recent scholars.

In general, the Allen Foundation takes a proactive approach to its grantmaking by identifying organizations for funding. However, the foundation reviews unsolicited letters of inquiry (LOIs) twice per year, from December 1 to January 15, and from May 15 to June 30.


  • William F. Gadsden, Chair
  • Elizabeth Good Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer