September 3, 2015

Lillie Research Awards

Download the 2015 Lillie Research Innovation Awards poster

The University of Chicago and the Marine Biological Laboratory announce the 2015 Lillie Research Award program to 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.

Frank R. 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 from the entire MBL research community and will require a PI whose primary appointment is in the MBL resident research program and a PI from the University of Chicago or Argonne National Laboratory.  Awards are open to individuals of faculty-level principal-investigator rank.

The Lillie Awards will support up to two years of pilot research at $125,000 per award.  They are intended to bring together interdisciplinary MBL and UC teams for a project that represents a new collaborative area of inquiry for the investigators.  The goal is to stimulate “blue sky” thinking by investigators that has the potential to 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 November 1, with a deadline of December 1, 2014. An external scientific panel has been established to review proposals in early 2015, with award notices provided by March 1, 2015.

How to Apply

To apply for a Lillie Research Innovation Award, click here.  Completed applications are due by 11:59 pm EST, December 1, 2014.  Notification of decisions will be made by March 1, 2015.

If you have any questions about the application, the awards, or the awards process, please see Lillie Award FAQ sheet, email the Office of Research Administration & Programs at or call 508-289-7173.