Innovation Awards

student and professor looking at laptop

Our Innovation Award program funds cutting-edge research projects with the potential to greatly impact regenerative medicine and stem cell research.

Awards support UCLA faculty pursuing their most bold and ambitious ideas, providing the financial resources necessary to generate proof-of-concept data that becomes the foundation for successful applications for extramural funding.  

By supporting the exploration of new research directions and catalyzing interdisciplinary collaborations, these awards seed the ground for new discoveries that could lead to therapies for patients who need them most. 

  • This program is open to UCLA Westwood campus tenure track or in-residence faculty. 

    Each faculty applicant may only submit one proposal on which they are named principal investigator per cycle. 

    Collaborative proposals are strongly encouraged; such projects must designate a single lead principal investigator.

  • Award amounts vary with a maximum of $250,000 to support direct research costs for one year.

    Eligible costs:

    • Personnel 
      • Principal Investigator salary and benefits must be no more than 10% of the total award
    • Supplies
    • Travel to scientific meetings 
      • no more than $3,000 per year
    • Equipment*
      • * only funded in exceptional cases with specific justification
  • Timeline:

    • Early February: A call for letters of intent, or LOIs, is circulated via email
    • Mid-March: LOIs due
    • Mid-April: Successful LOI applicants are invited to submit a full application
    • Mid-May: Full applications due 
    • Mid-June: Funding decisions announced 
    • July 1: Award start

    Review criteria: 
    Applications undergo a competitive and confidential review for scientific merit and priority ranking conducted by intra- and extra-mural peer reviewers.

Since 2008, our center has distributed more than $22 million through more than 150 Innovation Awards. 

This award program has proven to be highly effective in fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, accelerating the pace of discovery and translation and positioning faculty to secure sizable grants from various state, federal and non-profit organizations.

Past awardees have gone on to secure more than $600 million in follow-on competitive awards from funding entities including the National Institutes of Health, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and private foundations. 

Fuel innovation in stem cell research by donating below, or contact Development Director Sabrina Ayala at or 310-321-8976 to learn more.