Application Instructions

The 2020 application cycle is closed

The 2021 application cycle will open in mid-August 2021.

Information on our website and at the application portal may be used as a guide for the 2021 application process. Updates, if any, will be posted before the application cycle opens in mid-August. 


Our application and peer review process identifies exceptional postdoctoral researchers engaged in high-quality, creative science in all areas of basic life sciences. We solicit 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.

We receive nearly 900 applications each year and are able to make 18-27 awards per year. 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 financial 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.

Timeline for Application Submission, Evaluation and Funding

Mid-August Website opens for applications
October 1 Application deadline
November 1 Supervisor and reference letters deadline
December Applications sent to members of the Peer Review Committee for initial review
Early February Peer Review Committee meets to choose approximately 50-60 finalists
February/March Applicants are informed if they are finalists. (Non-finalists are also notified.)
February/March to August LSRF solicits existing and new potential sponsors to fund the finalists. Finalists are notified immediately if funding is secured for their project.
August 1 Award activation date – THIS IS THE ONLY AWARD ACTIVATION DATE


The award is open to U.S. and non-U.S. citizens.

U.S. citizens are eligible to work in any geographic location. Non-U.S. citizens must work in a U.S. laboratory to be eligible for an award.

Applicants must apply within 5 years of receiving their PhD or MD degree (whichever was awarded later). If you have held a PhD or MD degree for more than 5 years at the application deadline of October 1, you are not eligible to apply.

You may apply before defending your thesis however, if your project is selected for funding, you must have your PhD or MD degree by the time the award is activated on August 1st.

The application requires a letter of support from your proposed postdoctoral supervisor (the Principal Investigator of the lab where you will conduct your postdoctoral training).

Applicants planning to remain in their thesis labs for the duration of their postdoctoral training period are not eligible. Remaining in your thesis lab for a few weeks or months after receiving your degree, before moving to your postdoc lab, is acceptable.

Visit our FAQs page for answers to many common questions about eligibility and the application process.

Application Information

The application contains four tabs, Applicant Information, Demographics, Research Proposal and Letters of Reference and Support. Instructions for filling out the application are provided below and within the application system.

Applicant Information

Complete all required fields. Much of this information may be pulled from your curriculum vitae/resume. Requested information will include current contact data, education history, a list of peer-reviewed publications to date (including those in press), a list of honors and awards received, a 300-word summary of your thesis dissertation and the name and contact information of the grants or sponsored program official at the institution where you plan to carry out your research.


Complete all required fields. None of the information in this section is used in the review process or visible to our peer review panel. We collect this information to ensure that our award information is reaching as wide an audience as possible, that we are receiving applications from a diverse population, to help identify areas of research where we should focus our fundraising efforts each year and identify general research trends. If requested, we may provide gender and race data to reputable organizations (FASEB, AAAS, Chronicle of Higher Education) wishing to aggregate and analyze applicant and funding trends from several private postdoctoral funding organizations. We have begun collecting this information as of the 2020 application process.

Research Proposal

This section consists of a 250-word abstract field and an upload area for your Research Proposal file.
The Research Proposal is limited to six (6) total pages: five (5) single-spaced pages for the research plan including figures and tables and one (1) page for the literature cited. The proposal and literature cited should be formatted with one-half inch (0.5) margins on all four sides of the paper and 12-point Times New Roman or 11-point Arial as the minimum font size for the text of the proposal and literature cited. You may use 10-point Times New Roman or 9-point Arial font type for figure legends and tables. The style/presentation of the proposal is determined by the applicant, not LSRF. Be concise. Experts in the field review proposals; extensive background information is not necessary. Complete literature citations must be included – all authors’ names, article title, journal name, year, volume and page numbers. The six-page Research Proposal is uploaded as a single pdf file.

Letters of Reference and Support

Applications must have a total of four (4) letters – three (3) reference letters and one (1) supervisor letter. You will enter the name and email address for each person providing a letter. When you finalize your application LSRF will send an email to each of these people with a link to submit their letters online. The deadline for receipt of these letters is November 1.

Reference Letters: must come from associates who can critically appraise the applicant’s qualifications. One letter should be from the applicant’s thesis advisor (if applicable – this does not apply to M.D. applicants). You may still apply if you do not submit your thesis advisor’s letter, but your file will not be as strong. The Supervisor may not serve as one of the three referees.

Supervisor Support Letter: must acknowledge acceptance of the applicant to their laboratory and the willingness of the Institution to administer the award. The letter will indicate the role expected of the applicant in the broad framework of the supervisor’s research noting the size of the research group and the degree of independence the applicant will have. *If you have co-supervisors, please note that only one supervisor letter may be submitted. The letter should state each supervisor’s role and include the names and contact information for both co-supervisors.

You will receive confirmation emails when the application is finalized and when each support letter is received by LSRF. If you fail to receive these confirmations, please check your spam/junk inbox. You may also check the status of submission of these letters by clicking the link in your application submission confirmation email. You may begin your application as soon as the application system opens in mid-August. You cannot access your application to edit or add material after October 1. This also means you cannot add/change the name of a reference.

Visit our FAQs page for answers to many common questions about eligibility and the application process.