Start-Up Grant

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

How To Apply

Please use the following information as a guide to help you prepare your grant application. NOTE: This is just an overview of what to expect in our online application form; more detailed instructions will be available once you start an application.

Please sign in or create an account to view complete application instructions.

Cover Page

Complete the online LLHF Grant Application Cover Page.

Requirements of the Host Institution

The applicant for the Start-Up Grant must have the support of his or her departmental chair or center director, who is required to provide the following assurances:

  • The applicant must be provided a faculty position.
  • Explain in detail how the applicant will be provided a full Start-Up package (financial and non-financial support), proving the institution’s commitment to a long-term relationship that supports the investigator’s own independent lab.
  • The applicant must be provided with sufficient resources including an office, administrative support and equipment to complete the proposed studies.
  • The applicant must be provided sufficient protected time (80% or more) to pursue the proposed research.
  • Provide evidence to support the applicant’s qualifications for independent investigation.

Requirements of the Applicant for the Start-Up Grant

  • Summary of Proposal in Lay Terms
  • Compatibility to LLHF Goals
  • Research Plan
  • Timeline
  • Cited References
  • CV/Biosketch
  • Published Papers: Please do not include papers in review or not yet published.
  • IRB and/or IACUC
  • LLHF Budget Form

Start An Application

All LLHF Grant Applications must be submitted via our online grant management system.

Please sign in or create an account to start a new application.

Funded Research


Roarke Kamber, PhD

Systematic Identification and Characterization of Regulators of Senescent Cell Clearance by Macrophages

Chuankai Zhou, PhD

Dissect the Effects of Long-Term Environmental Stresses on Cellular Physiology and Aging

Isha Jain, PhD

High Altitude-Inspired Therapies for Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

Zoe Quandt, MD

Mechanisms of Autoimmune Diabetes Provoked by Cancer Immunotherapy

Ryo Higuchi-Sanabria, PhD

Actin-Mitochondria Interactions During Stress and Aging

Katlin Silm, PhD

Role of Cysteine String Protein in Dopamine Neuron Function and Vulnerability to Degeneration

Fleur Ferguson, PhD

Chemical Tools for Deciphering Parkinson's Disease Signaling

Claire Clelland, MD, PhD

Using Genetics, CRISPR and Patient iPSC to Model C9orf72 FTD/ALS

Timothy Chang, MD, PhD

Rare Genetic Risk and Cell-Type Gene Networks in Tauopathy Across Ancestries

Ahmet Arac, MD

Neural Circuit Mechanisms of Age-Related Decline in Motor Skills

Sara LaHue, MD

Biological Signatures of Neurodegeneration and Aging in Postoperative Delirium

Tatyana Gurlo, PhD

Establishing Tissue-Specific Optimal Animal Models for Drug Discovery in Type 2 Diabetes