Application Instructions

The 2023 Application Portal is CLOSED. 


Dates related to eligibility have been updated below and are valid for the 2024 application cycle. Additional information and pdf downloads are available below. 


Instructions | FAQs | AwardDetailsBlankSampleApplication | Eligibility Chart


We receive about 500 applications each year and are able to make 18-27 awards annually. The number of awards depends entirely on our fundraising efforts that year. LSRF does not have an endowment or pool of funds. Each year we seek support for our current group of finalists. 

Timeline for Application Submission, Evaluation and Funding

August 4: Changes, if any, to the upcoming award cycle are posted on the LSRF website
August 15: Online application system opens for submissions
October 1: Application deadline – 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time
November 1: Proposed supervisor and reference letters deadline – 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time
Late – November: Applications sent to members of the Peer Review Committee for initial review
Early – February: Peer Review Committee meets to choose approximately 50-60 finalists
Late – February: Applicants are notified of their proposal status – Finalists or Non-Finalist
March – August: LSRF solicits existing and new potential sponsors to fund our finalists. Awards are made as funding is secured for a finalist.
August 1: Award activation date – THIS IS THE ONLY AWARD ACTIVATION DATE


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

Eligibility – dates updated for the 2024 application cycle

You must meet ALL of the following requirement to apply for an LSRF award. There are no exceptions to the eligibility requirements.

  1. 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.
  2. Applicants must apply within 5 years of receiving their PhD (or MD/DVM whichever was awarded later) as of October 1, 2024. If you received your PhD (or MD/DVM) before October 1, 2019, you are not eligible to apply. You may apply before defending your thesis, but must have your PhD (or MD/DVM) degree by the time the award is activated on August 1, 2025
  3. You must have begun (or will begin) working in your proposed postdoc lab between August 1, 2023 and July 31, 2025.
  4. The application requires a letter of acceptance from your proposed postdoctoral supervisor (the Principal Investigator of the lab where you will conduct your postdoctoral training).
  5. You must complete your postdoctoral training in a lab different from that of your graduate (thesis) lab. 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.

All complete applications received through our online application portal will be reviewed by our peer review committee. A complete application means that an applicant has completed and finalized their submission before 8:00pm EST on October 1, 2024 AND that the required three (3) reference letters and one (1) proposed supervisor letter were received before 8:00pm EST on November 1, 2024. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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, Research Proposal, Letters of Reference and Supervisor Letter, and Demographics. Instructions for completing 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/resumé. Requested information includes current contact data, education history, a list of peer-reviewed publications to date, 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.

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 seven (7) total pages: five (5) single-spaced pages for the research plan including figures and tables and two (2) pages 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 seven-page Research Proposal is uploaded as a single pdf file.

Letters of Reference and Supervisor Letter

Applications must have a total of four (4) letters – three (3) reference letters and one (1) proposed 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 application system also allows you the option to request your letters of reference before you finalize your application. The letters are typed or copy/pasted into the reference field, not uploaded as a pdf file. The deadline for receipt of these letters is November 1. Each letter writer will receive an email confirmation when they have submitted their reference. You will receive a notification each time a letter is submitted on your behalf.

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 the applicant’s thesis advisor is unable to provide a letter, an alternate faculty member most familiar with the applicant’s thesis work may be substituted. This does not apply to M.D. applicants. The Proposed Supervisor may not serve as one of the three referees.

Proposed 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.


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 and a diverse range of institutions, 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, for example) wishing to aggregate and analyze applicant and funding trends from private postdoctoral funding organizations. No identifying information will be released. We began collecting this information as of the 2020 application cycle.


Confirmation emails will be sent from LSRF ( when your application is finalized and when each reference/supervisor letter is received by LSRF. Confirmation and notification emails will be sent to the email account you used to register for the LSRF Application Portal. If you fail to receive these confirmations, check your spam/junk inbox. You may check the status of submission of reference letters by clicking the link in your application submission confirmation email.

Your list of peer-reviewed publications may include those “in press” and pre-prints uploaded to established preprint databases such as BioRxiv, ChemRxiv, etc.

A laboratory may have only one LSRF awardee at a time. If you are selected for funding your award would begin next year when the current recipient’s award ends and there is no overlap. Should multiple applicants from the same laboratory be selected as finalists only one applicant will be awarded. This holds true even if your proposed supervisor is listed as a co-mentor on another application or is a co-mentor to a current awardee – whether or not this applicant or awardee is in your laboratory or not. Talk with your proposed supervisor about whether your project requires a co-mentor or not.

You are responsible for ensuring that reference and proposed supervisor letters arrive on time. You are able to send your references reminders from within the application portal and will receive email notifications when letters are received on your behalf. If your letter writers have an assistant, you may wish to let the assistant know about the requirements and deadlines as well.

We strongly recommend that you contact potential reference letter writers and your proposed supervisor as far in advance as possible to confirm that they are willing to write letters of recommendation on your behalf and will meet the November 1 deadline. Let your letter-writers know they will receive an email from “” with a link to type or copy/paste their letter into the application portal. The letters are copy/pasted into a field, not uploaded as pdf files. The subject line of the email from LSRF will be: “LastName, FirstName has Requested a Letter of Reference” (substitute your last and first name for the above placeholders). This information will help them find the email. PI-s likely receive an overwhelming amount of email and we cannot absolutely guarantee that our email won’t get caught in an overly aggressive spam filter.

LSRF will not extend the application deadline or accept submissions after the deadline for any reason. We strongly suggest collecting your application information and working on your proposal before the application portal opens in mid-August. Submit your application well before the deadline of October 1 to avoid missing it altogether due to an unexpected delay such as a computer glitch, health issue, or personal or family emergency. You cannot access your application to edit or add material  after October 1. You may not add or change the name of a reference after October 1. 

We encourage you to provide a copy of your completed application to your sponsored programs office, so they are aware of your submission. Approval or from your sponsored programs office is not required for  submission of a proposal. You may refer your sponsored programs office to our Award Details page for more information about the award process and requirements.

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