Foundation Grants

This is a selected group of foundation funding opportunities that support public health research and practice. To learn more about these and other opportunities and explore your work's alignment, please contact Brad Mallard, director of foundation relations and industry engagement for the Gillings School at

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A signature research program of RWJF. E4A awards grants to encourage and support innovative, rigorous research on the impact of programs, policies, and practices on health and well-being, with a particular focus on research that will help advance health and racial equity.

A signature research program of RWJF, administered through the Urban Institute. Since 2015, P4A has awarded over $32 million for research identifying policies, laws, and other system and community levers in the public and private sectors that can support RWJF’s vision. P4A grant-funded research explores the root causes of health disparities in America, and identifies potential solutions to improve health, equity and well-being.

A signature research program of RWJF that tests new ways of connecting the nation’s medical, social, and public health systems. The program supports research teams from across the U.S. in conducting scientific studies that evaluate the implementation and impact of novel approaches to systems alignment. The system alignment mechanisms include shared governance models, platforms for data exchange and integration, bundled and blended payment models, and cross-cutting workforce components such as navigators and integrators.

A signature research program of RWJF that aims to reduce the barriers faced in accessing rich data by serving as a conduit between data owners and interested researchers. Through each HD4A funding opportunity, RWJF will make data from unique data owners available to researchers. Limited grants awarded.

This program supports unconventional approaches and breakthrough ideas that can help lead the way to a future where everyone in the United States can live their healthiest life. Short online application and rolling application deadline

This program supports research on environmental and policy strategies to promote healthy eating among children to prevent childhood obesity.

Note: Most of these programs have robust newsletters you can subscribe to that keep you updated about any calls for proposals. You may also want to subscribe to RWJF’s funding news that will include all grant opportunities.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives. Newsletter signup for grant opportunities available.  

Burroughs Wellcome Fund

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund nurtures a diverse leadership in the biomedical sciences to improve human health through education and discovery. Funding programs include: 

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Focus areas include: Community Economic Development, Environment, Public Education, Social Justice and Equity, Strengthening Democracy. Funding programs:

American Cancer Society

The nation's largest private, not-for-profit source of funds for scientists studying cancer, the American Cancer Society is committed to funding basic, translational, clinical, and cancer control research.

NC Biotech Center

NCBiotech grants fill critical funding gaps along the innovation continuum - from building university infrastructure to supporting early stage development of university inventions to help move technology toward commercialization.

Donaghue Foundation

The Foundation supports a diverse portfolio of research projects, from understanding the mechanisms of disease, to improving clinical treatments, to public health initiatives that prevent illness:

Arnold Ventures

Arnold Ventures periodically issues RFPs in the areas of criminal justice, education, health, public finance, research, and evidence-based policy. The balance of their grantmaking is by invitation only.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Energy and Environment program’s goal is to inform the societal transition toward low-carbon energy systems in the United States by investigating economic, environmental, technological, and distributional issues.
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's programs center on addressing challenges in the scientific community by supporting technology development, interdisciplinary research collaborations, and partnerships.


Funds studies that can help patients and those who care for them make better-informed healthcare choices.

Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood

The Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood is an incubator of promising research and development projects that appear likely to improve the welfare of young children, from infancy through 7 years, in the United States. Welfare is broadly defined to include physical and mental health, safety, nutrition, education, play, familial support, acculturation, societal integration and childcare.

MacArthur Foundation/Lever for Change

Lever for Change competitions provide the opportunity for donors, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs to connect and solve global challenges together. 100&Change, a competition for a single $100 million grant, is open to any proposed solution to any critical problem of our time. Nonprofit and qualifying for-profit organizations may apply. The competition cycle repeats every three years.

Greenwall Foundation

Greenwall Foundation funds bioethics research

This opportunity operates through: UNC Limited Submissions.

Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation

Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation funds cutting-edge research in the fields of leukemia, lymphoma, and related cancers of the blood

This opportunity operates through: UNC Limited Submissions.

PhRMA Foundation

The PhRMA Foundation offers fellowships and grants in the areas of Drug Delivery and Drug Discovery, Health Outcomes, Value Assessment, and Translational Medicine.

Innovation Grants

This is a selected group of funding opportunities that support innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about these and other opportunities and explore your work's alignment, please contact Anne Glauber, MPH, Associate Director of Research and Innovation for the Gillings School at

Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program

The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) offers researchers from all disciplines of science and engineering funded by NSF the opportunity to perform translational research and technology development, catalyze partnerships and accelerate the transition of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace for societal benefit. Of note, this does not require establishing a business.

Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Research (SBIR/STTR)

SBIR/STTR grants provide small business entrepreneurs with non-dilutive funding for early-stage research and development. Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) offer these mechanisms, with slight variations:

NSF Convergence Accelerator

The NSF Convergence Accelerator builds upon basic research and discovery to accelerate solutions toward societal impact. The program funds teams to solve societal challenges through convergence research and innovation. To enhance its impact, the Accelerator also places teams together in cohorts, synergizing their work through facilitated collaboration.

Internal Funding Opportunities

This is a selected group of internal funding opportunities that support public health research and practice. To learn more about these and other opportunities and explore your work's alignment, please contact Alexia Kelly, PhD, Assistant Dean for Research for the Gillings School at

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

The Gillings Innovation Labs (GILs) are innovative, interdisciplinary, and strive to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in public health. GILs are focused on finding urgent, extremely important public health issues, and accelerating the translation of public health discoveries and knowledge into practice. All full-time faculty members are encouraged to apply.

UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility

The UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS) facilitates collaborations by funding transdisciplinary environmental health research aimed at identifying emerging issues that advance understanding about how pollutants and other environmental factors affect human biology and may lead to disease.

KickStart Venture Services

KickStart Commercialization Grants help faculty founders of early-stage companies meet commercial milestones, either on the technical side (prototype development, animal studies) or on the business side (regulatory pathway, market opportunity). The program also provides funding and access to internal and external business experts to assist faculty with the commercial translation of concepts for novel therapeutic small molecules, biologics, diagnostics, devices or digital health.

North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute

The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS) offers several funding opportunities across a variety of research topics aimed at translational discoveries and inventions for improving the health of the people of North Carolina. All UNC NCTraCS members, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, and UNC system school faculty are encouraged to apply.

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

The UNC Lineberger Developmental Funding Program is intended to support the development of cancer research led by faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and to stimulate new applications for extramural funding. All UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center members, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, and UNC system school faculty are encouraged to apply.

UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) funds one-year planning grants to help UNC faculty conduct pilot projects in health promotion/disease prevention research using a community engagement approach. UNC faculty who currently affiliate with the Center as Research Fellows as well as UNC faculty new to HPDP are encouraged to apply.

C. Felix Harvey Award

The C. Felix Harvey Award seeks to recognize exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects the University’s commitment to innovation. It is focused on outreach that will positively impact constituencies outside the University. Any UNC-Chapel Hill full or part-time faculty (excluding adjuncts) whose proposed project applies humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches to impact constituencies directly and positively outside the University are encouraged to apply.

Office of Research Development

The Office of Research Development (ORD) coordinates funding opportunities sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. These funding opportunities support faculty’s foundational research, creative practice, publication expenditures, and offset travel costs related to visiting extramural sponsors. These funding opportunities are open to any field of research and/or scholarship conducted by UNC-CH researchers.


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