April 23, 2014

Frank R. Lillie Research Innovation Award Program

The University of Chicago and the Marine Biological Laboratory announce a new MBL research award program that will provide funding for scientists to develop novel, collaborative projects based at the MBL. The Frank R. Lillie Research Innovation Awards are named in honor of the early 20th-century embryologist who served as the MBL’s second director and as chair of UChicago’s Department of Zoology. They represent the first new formal research opportunity since the June 2013 announcement of the affiliation between UChicago and the MBL.

Lillie Awards FAQ

The decision to name the awards after Frank R. Lillie highlights the collaborative aims of the new UChicago-MBL affiliation. Lillie was a student at both the MBL and UChicago under Charles O. Whitman, the MBL’s founding director, who also served as the founding chair of Zoology at UChicago. Lillie became a faculty member at the University of Chicago in 1900 and remained there until his death in 1947.  In addition to his role as Zoology chair and MBL director, Lillie later served as Dean of UChicago’s Division of Biological Sciences.  Present in Woods Hole every summer for 55 years, Lillie was instrumental in developing the MBL as a pre-eminent biological laboratory. “We have laid the principle of cooperation at [the MBL’s] foundation,” Lillie said, “and we have attempted to build it into every one of our activities.”


General Guidelines

Awards will be open to teams of collaborators drawn from the world-wide MBL research community.  Awards are open to individuals of faculty-level principal investigator rank, including MBL scientists and scientists from other institutions who currently participate or propose to participate as visiting researchers or course faculty in the MBL’s summer programs.

The Lillie Awards wilres.awardees.5.sml provide for two years of pilot research for a total of $125,000 per award, in honor of the MBL’s 125th anniversary. They are intended to bring together interdisciplinary teams that have not collaborated before, for a project that represents a new area of inquiry for the investigators.  The goal is to stimulate “blue sky” thinking by investigators that have the potential lead to significant external funding with a consortium of collaborators working together on a big problem.

Teams who receive the Lillie Awards will be able to develop their projects over a period including two or three successive summers, working in residence as a team at the MBL, in addition to continued progress on the project during the traditional academic years in between MBL visits.

Applications will be accepted starting on October 1, with a deadline of December 15, 2013 for the first round of submissions. An external scientific panel will be established to review proposals in early 2014, with award notices provided by March 31, 2014. The institutions will make two awards available in each of the next two years, with each round of the two, two-year projects beginning in Spring 2014 and Spring 2015, respectively.


How to apply

The application form can be downloaded as a Word template here. Please follow the directions enclosed. Completed applications are due by 5 pm ET, Sunday December 15, 2013 and should be emailed as a single PDF document to researchprograms@mbl.edu.

If you have any questions about the application, the awards, or the awards process please email the office of the Office of the Deputy Director of Research and Programs, at researchprograms@mbl.edu or call 508-289-7173.