Start-up Grant: How to Apply

Grant Criteria


The Hillblom Foundation offers grants to qualified researchers to initiate independent research careers in one of the two areas of stated interest to the Hillblom Foundation.

Grant Making Procedures

The Start-Up Grant shall be made directly to and administered by the office of contracts and grants at the applicant’s Institution, which shall be responsible for the expenditure of the grant funds. Annual renewal of a Start-Up Grant shall be subject to the Foundation’s approval.

Expectations of the Host Institution

The host institution will provide a faculty appointment (ordinarily at the Assistant Professor level) to the applicant. The host institution will include a detailed statement ensuring its obligation to provide a full Start-Up package (including financial and non-financial support), proving its commitment to a long-term relationship that fully supports the investigator's own independent lab. The applicant will be provided with an office, administrative support, research space and required core facilities to support the proposed work.  The Institution will limit teaching and/or clinical practice requirements to no more than one day per week. The Institution salary contribution will be made independent of clinical practice revenue.

Expectations of the Investigator

Investigators must be highly promising based on performance during training and have shown promise that they are ready to make the transition to independent investigation. Preference will be given to applicants that have not held a faculty position or equivalent for more than one year. The investigator must demonstrate that they have a research plan that is distinct from the work of their mentors’ program, is important and is achievable. The investigator will be asked to identify planned research milestones. The investigator must indicate how core facilities at the Institution are sufficient to allow completion of the proposed studies within the proposed budget. The principal investigator will be required to submit an annual report to the host institution and the Foundation (submitted electronically via the LLHF Grant Management System). Additionally, the investigator will be required to attend the Annual Hillblom Scientific Meeting to give a presentation on the findings of their research to date. The annual renewal of any Start-Up Grant for the three year time period will be contingent upon a satisfactory annual report and presentation at this forum. Renewal / non-renewal decisions by the Board of Directors of the Hillblom Foundation are final and not subject to appeal or review.

Grant Restrictions

In awarding Hillblom Start-Up Grants, preference will be given to applicants able to devote at least 80% of their research effort in Year 1 of the grant to the project described in the application and those whose first year of funding from non-Hillblom sources will not interfere with that 80% commitment.

Furthermore, preference will be given to applicants whose effort is devoted principally, if not exclusively, to the project proposed for funding. Additional support will be considered for a similar project (providing there is disclosure to the other funding entity) but not for one that is completely distinct and for which the applicant has committed significant effort. Consideration will be given as to what other research commitments have been made and what other funds are available to support the project.

Extramural funding is encouraged in Year 2 and Year 3 to foster independence and growth of the Investigator. Year 2 and Year 3 require 80% of the Investigator’s time dedicated to research and at least 20% effort and salary from the Hillblom Foundation Start-Up Grant.

Applicants who have held a faculty position for more than 3 years prior to the application date are not eligible for this grant.

Research Costs

Personnel costs are restricted to those named and justified in the budget with a maximum of $25,000 per year for supplies, a maximum of $5,000 per year for equipment and a maximum of $2,500 per year on travel (including the Annual Hillblom Foundation Scientific Meeting).


All publications and presentations related to the Hillblom Grant should cite support by the Hillblom Foundation.

Start-Up Grant Details

  • Qualified Institutions: The PI’s lab must be affiliated with an institution within the state of California
  • Funding Areas: Diabetes or Aging
  • Maximum Funding: $120,000 per year
  • Duration of the Award: Up to three (3) years, subject to annual Foundation approval, non-renewable
  • Maximum Allowable Indirect Costs: 10% included in the total grant
Important Dates to Remember
  • Application Submission Start Date: December 29, 2023
  • Application Due Date: January 31, 2024 at 5PM PST
  • Funding Decisions Announced: June 2024
  • Anticipated Start Date: July 2024

Start Your Application and Online Help

Start an application

You must have an account on in order to submit your application. Click the "Start New LLHF Grant Application" or "Start New LLHF LOI" button on the right to begin your application/LOI process.

Navigating and Viewing the Online Application Form

Once you start a new application, you may review all the pages of your online application form by clicking through the PAGE NAVIGATION at the top of each page.

  • We recommend that you use this PAGE NAVIGATION at the top of each page to jump from page to page to review your application.
  • Using the NEXT or PREVIOUS buttons will force you to fill out required fields before moving to another page.

Clicking "NEXT" and "PREVIOUS" Buttons

When you click NEXT or PREVIOUS buttons at the bottom of the online application form, your information will be saved. NOTE: Clicking NEXT will require you to fill out all required fields.

Uploading Files

  • When asked to upload a file to complete your application, you may only upload a PDF formatted file. Do not upload MS Word or any other type of files. The system will only accept PDFs.
  • You may only upload ONE PDF file per question.
  • You may open and preview your PDF upload once you save your application. You can save your application by advancing to the next page or using the "Save and Continue Later" feature at the bottom of the page.

Save and Continue Later

You may start an application and continue it at a later date.

Generate a PDF Preview of Your Application

Generate a PDF copy of your application for a final review by you and your colleagues.

  • Click the "Generate PDF Preview" button on the last page of the application form to generate a PDF copy of your application for a final review.
  • Your PDF will be emailed as an attachment to the email address associated with your application (the address you inserted in section 1. of the cover page).
  • Note: after this step, from your dashboard, you will be able to "edit" the application to make changes or "submit" your final application (with the required signatures).

Editing Your Application PDF

You may edit your application until the deadline date, from your dashboard. Click on "Edit" under the "Edit Application" field.

  • If you update your application but your PDF is showing the previous version, please contact us.
  • NOTE: Please remember, your temporarily link is no longer valid once you have generated a PDF preview; therefore, any changes must now be made from your dashboard and an updated PDF will be emailed to you as an attachment for review.


  • Signatures can be added after you have generated a PDF preview of your application.
  • Once you have made all of your revisions in the "Edit Application" field and you have received a final copy of your application PDF, you must add your certified e-signatures using a program such as Adobe Acrobat or DocuSign.
  • Your application will be considered incomplete if you do not insert both signatures to your application cover page.
  • NOTE: After you have added signatures to your PDF, you will need to upload a copy and submit it to the LLHF in the "Upload Final App with Signatures" field on your dashboard.

Submitting an Application

  • To officially submit your application to the Foundation you will need to upload your final application PDF on your dashboard. Please follow directions on your dashboard.
  • You will only be allowed to submit your application once, so please make sure that you do not submit the PDF until it is signed and final.
  • Applications will not be accepted after the deadline date.

Apply Online

All grant applications must be submitted via our online grant management system.

Start New LLHF Grant Application

Important Quick Tips

  • Whenever you use the “Save and Continue Later” feature, make sure to copy the temporary link provided and email it to yourself. (Note: you will receive the same link every time you use this feature and this link is only valid for 30 days.)
  • You must edit your online form from the link provided.  Your application PDF will not be emailed or appear in your dashboard for editing until you have completed all of the required fields and have generated a "PDF Preview" (the last step of the online form).
  • Once you generate a PDF preview of the application, the temporary link that was provided is no longer valid; therefore, if you need to edit the application after this step, it must be done from the PI’s dashboard.
  • Note: your application PDF will only be emailed to you AFTER you generate a PDF preview. After you receive the PDF, you will also have the option to "edit" your application and "update" it from your dashboard and then a revised PDF will be emailed to you again.

PDF Formatting Requirements For Your Application

Formatting Requirements for PDF uploads (consistent with NIH PHS 398 Guidelines)


  • Use Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype or Georgia typeface and a font size of 11 points or larger. (A symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies.)
  • Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 15 characters per inch.
  • Type may be no more than six lines per inch.
  • Use black ink that can be clearly copied.
  • Print must be clear and legible.

Page Margins

  • Use standard size (8 1⁄2” x 11”) sheets of paper.
  • Use at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages, including continuation pages.


  • The file must be single-sided and single-spaced.
  • For new Grant Applications, please do not add page numbers when you upload your PDFs.
  • For Progress Reports, consecutively number pages throughout the report. Do not use suffixes (e.g. 5a, 5b). Do not include unnumbered pages.

Figures, Graphs, Diagrams, Charts, Tables, Figure Legends, and Footnotes

  • You may use a smaller type size but it must be in black ink, readily legible, and follow the font typeface requirement.