Since 1983, the Life Sciences Research Foundation (LSRF) has funded nearly 650 outstanding postdoctoral fellows in all areas of the life sciences, and raised more than $60 million from generous industries, foundations and individuals to support this effort.
We believe that discoveries and application of innovations in biology for the public’s good depends upon the training and support of the highest quality young scientists. Every year our selection committee identifies the top 5% of applicants from an international pool of nearly 900 postdoctoral applicants. Once chosen, the LSRF solicits individuals, companies and foundations for the funds to support these young scientists at a critical juncture of their training for the three-year award period. The number of awards depends entirely on our fundraising efforts that year. LSRF does not have an endowment or existing pool of funds. Each year we seek support for our current group of finalists. We were able to fund 27 of 55 finalists in 2018, 27 of 58 finalists in 2019 and 22 of 60 finalists in 2020.
In the late 1970s, biologists were founding and leading companies whose goal was to apply modern biological research technology to the solution of important problems in society. While academic and commercial branches of chemistry and engineering had a long history of collaboration, this had not been true of the biological sciences. In 1981 the founder of LSRF, Don Brown, sought to establish similar collaborations in biology, focusing on training the next generation of exceptional biologists. While for-profit enterprises of the life sciences were solicited as major sponsors for postdoctoral fellowships in the early years, sponsorship has evolved with the help of our scientific advisory board to include small and large not-for-profit foundations, and private individuals.
Because all scientists (Board, Peer Review Committee, LSRF Officers) serve LSRF without compensation, administrative costs to sponsors are approximately 4%.