Ono Pharma Foundation
Ono Pharma Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program?

The purpose of the Ono Initiative is to support scientist Principal Investigators (“PIs”) with creative ideas in selected scientific research field, Chemical Biology, with the mission of seeking discoveries/solutions and development of high impact science.

The goals of the Ono Initiative are to:

  • Identify and develop innovative research proposals and results that could lead to the development of breakthrough treatment solutions for patients.
  • Support academic research and the career development of promising young and established scientists.
  • Build strong relationships within the community in order to lead to transformative research aligned with Ono Initiative's interest.

What is the length of this award?

Each Award may last three years.

What is the funding level of these Awards?

Awards will consist of annual funding of $300,000/year, totaling a maximum of $900,000 for the normal term of a research project. The Ono Pharma Foundation will provide up to a maximum of an additional 15% ($45,000) per year of the funding to be used for indirect costs of the PI’s institution. The total amount of the grant for three-year research would be up to $1,035,000.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must meet the following requirements. Letter of Interest (LOI) and final Proposals from applicants not meeting the requirements listed below will not be considered.

  • PIs applying must be working at one of the nominating institutions. Nominating institutions might be replaced or added to in subsequent years. 
  • The PI must have a MD and/or a PhD degree.
  • The PI must be a young and/or mid-career scientist (15 years or below of experience from starting independent academic position).
  • The PI may not already be engaged in other sponsored research with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and/or grant program with Ono Pharma Foundation.
  • The PI may not apply for funding to amplify current work. However, PIs may research a new idea based on prior findings of the PI.
  • More detail as to eligibility criteria can be found in the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program: Program Information & Overview” document.

Is the PI eligible if their experience is over 15 years when awarded?

A PI is eligible if when they submit their LOI they have 15 years or below of experience from starting independent academic position. When selected, if an awarded PI has a little over 15 years of experience – they are still eligible. The PI is not eligible if when applying to the Ono Initiative they have over 15 years of experience.

Which are the Nominating Institutions?

2021 Applicant Nominating Institutions in Chemical Biology Research *

  1. Baylor University
  2. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  3. Boston College
  4. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
  5. California Institute of Technology
  6. Columbia University
  7. Cornell University
  8. Duke University
  9. Emory University
  10. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute
  11. Georgia Institute of Technology
  12. Harvard University
  13. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  14. McGill University
  15. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  16. Michigan State University
  17. Northeastern University
  18. Northwestern University
  19. Oregon Health and Science University
  20. Princeton University
  21. Rice University
  22. Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  23. Southern Illinois University
  24. Stanford University
  25. The Rockefeller University
  26. The Scripps Research Institute
  27. The University of Chicago
  28. The University of Texas – Austin
  29. The University of Texas – Southwestern Medical Center
  30. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  31. The University of Utah
  32. University of Alberta
  33. University of British Columbia
  34. University of California – Berkeley
  35. University of California – Davis
  36. University of California – Irvine
  37. University of California – Los Angeles
  38. University of California – San Diego
  39. University of California – San Francisco
  40. University of Colorado – Boulder
  41. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
  42. University of Massachusetts – Amherst
  43. University of Massachusetts – Medical School
  44. University of Michigan
  45. University of Minnesota
  46. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  47. University of Pittsburgh
  48. University of Toronto
  49. University of Washington
  50. University of Wisconsin – Madison
  51. Vanderbilt University
  52. Weill Cornell Medicine
  53. Whitehead Institute
  54. Yale University

*Each Nominating Institution may nominate up to two (2) applicants in Chemical Biology Research.

What are the research requirements?

Applicants/PIs are expected to:

  • Design studies to generate novel science to address the Scientific Research Area of interest for 2021:
    • Chemical Biology: Target research of Chemical Biology is not specified. Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology. The criteria for this field are deliberately broad so as not to disqualify potentially innovative and groundbreaking projects.
  • Complete the two-step application process which is: (i) submission of a Letter of Interest, and, (ii) if selected, to submit a full Proposal within the time designated by the Ono Pharma Foundation.

What are the Selection Criteria?

Applications will be assessed, and Awards will be made based upon the following criteria:

  • Scientific merit of the research Proposal.
  • Relevance of proposed research to the mission of the Ono Initiative.
    • Significance
    • Innovation
    • Approach
  • Technical considerations for the research.
  • Qualifications and relevant experience of the PI.
  • Evidence of a suitable research environment.

What is the application process?

The application processes for the scientific research is:

  • PIs should first contact the administration office of their Institution. Institutions will be asked to nominate PIs, but only the PI may submit LOIs and Proposals.
  • An LOI should be submitted through the Ono Pharma Foundation online portal. To access the website, please click on the link below, select “REGISTER,” and follow the online instructions. You will be asked to enter a code which will be sent to you by Ono Pharma Foundation once Institutions have submitted nominations. If this is your first time visiting the portal, you will be sent your login information within 48 hours of submitting your “Registration.” 
  • Proposal submission by LOI applicants and selected by a Scientific Advisory Board will be invited by the Ono Pharma Foundation to submit a full Proposal. The Proposal must be submitted through the Ono Pharma Foundation Portal. Please access the Application Portal on Ono Pharma Foundation website.
  • More detail as to the application process can be found in the “Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program: Program Information & Overview” document.

Please see below for links to the Ono Pharma Foundation website and application portal:

How will I know if I am invited to submit a full proposal?

The Ono Pharma Foundation will make announcements about LOI selections and send Request for Proposals (“RFP”) to selected PI/Applicants on April 22, 2021. RFPs will be made based on:

  • Eligibility of Applicant.
  • Completion of Research Requirements.
  • Strength of proposed project against Selection Criteria.

What is the timetable?

StepTimelineResponsible Party
Funding Opportunity Program AnnouncementNovember 20, 2020Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
LOI submission openNovember 20, 2020Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
LOI submission due dateFebruary 18, 2021, 5pm ET *Responsible Party:
PI/ Institution
Request for Proposal (“RFP”) sent outDue: April 22, 2021Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
Proposal due dateDue: May 18, 2021, 5pm ET *Responsible Party:
Announcement of the AwardsDue: July 12, 2021Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
Project StartDue: August - October, 2021Responsible Party:

*Addenda, supplemental materials, changes, or updates will not be accepted after the deadline for submitting either the LOI or the Proposal.

How many Awards are given?

Three Awards are planned for 2021, contingent upon Ono Pharma Foundation appropriations and the submission of sufficient meritorious applications.

Who will make the decisions about the Awardees?

The Ono Pharma Foundation selects all Awardees based upon recommendations of its Scientific Advisory Board (“SAB”), which is comprised of outside experts from the fields of Chemical Biology.

How is the SAB selected?

The members of the SAB are selected by the Ono Pharma Foundation based upon their expertise and reputation in the fields of Chemical Biology.

Who is TCC Group?

Formed in 1980, TCC Group provides strategic planning, program development, evaluation and management consulting services to foundations, nonprofit organizations, corporate community involvement programs, and government agencies. Its consulting staff includes individuals with wide-ranging expertise and experience in a diverse range of issues including education, arts and culture, community and economic development, human services, health care, children and family issues, and the environment. TCC Group is providing ongoing support for Ono Pharma Foundation.

What about the Oligonucleotide Medicine Research scientific field?

The Oligonucleotide Medicine Research field has been merged with Chemical Biology. The selection process has been simplified for the modalities. The reason is because Chemical biology is a comprehensive research category that includes Oligonucleotide Medicine. PIs research in Oligonucleotide Medicine are still eligible for the 2021 Ono Initiative, but have to compete with the other PIs working with Chemical Biology.

What leaves factor into the 15 year requirement for eligibility?

Parental leave (but not any other leaves) will be considered in calculating eligibility as "mid-career".

What is Ono Pharma Foundation’s policy regarding intellectual property?

The parties intend and agree that, to the extent allowable by U.S. intellectual property law, all intellectual property rights related to activities and research funded by the Grant shall be exclusively owned by the Institution.  The Foundation disclaims any intellectual property and related rights developed by the research activities supported by the Grant.

Where is Ono Pharma Foundation located?

In the past four years, we have been working in the NJ office. As of September 3rd 2020, Ono Pharma Foundation decided to continue our remote work even after the COVID-19 situation is over. The organization moved from NJ to NY, where TCC Group is supporting our work. This will not impact our commitment and 501(c)(3) activities.