Skip to main content

Application and Evaluation Procedures

TDF Award Eligibility

All Rockefeller research faculty, Clinical Scholars, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students are eligible for the TDF awards.  Each project must have a principal investigator (PI). If the PI is not a Head of Laboratory, an HOL must co-sponsor.

Application and Review Processes

Proof-of-Concept Awards

The PI for the project prepares a short letter of intent (not to exceed 500 words) as described in the Request for Proposals.

Projects will be selected for funding through a multi-stage review process. Submitted letters of intent will be triaged for suitability with respect to the objectives of the Therapeutic Development Fund prior to the first level of review. Presentations—in a chalk-talk format followed by a question-and-answer period—are made to an independent committee of experts comprised of experienced business development, venture capital, and scientific professionals.

Following the review, projects will be divided into three groups:

  • Not suitable for funding at this time. PIs will be encouraged to work with the Program Director to formulate an enhanced proposal for a future funding round.
  • Suitable for full or partial pilot phase funding. PIs will work with the Program Director to formulate a budget that will be milestone driven. Funding will begin immediately.
  • Suitable for advanced proposal submission (requests up to $300,000).  PIs will work with the Program Director to craft a full advanced proposal as described in the Request for Proposals. Proposals will be reviewed by two or more external reviewers.

Pre-Clinical Lead Optimization (PCLO) and
Early Clinical Development (ECD) Awards

The PI should meet with the Program Director prior to starting the application process. The Program Director will work with the PI to define the appropriate milestones to be considered and will provide specific application instructions and the appropriate template.

Applications for PCLO and ECD Awards from the Therapeutic Development Fund will be evaluated by two or more external reviewers with expertise in early drug development. Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Strength of current data package
  • Target and therapeutic validation
  • Presence of milestone-driven stage-gates
  • Feasibility to ultimately reach first-in-human clinical trials
  • Medical impact relative to current standard of care
  • Potential for commercial impact

Project Implementation Summary

Funding is awarded in tranches according to a milestone-driven schedule pending the achievement of agreed upon objectives. Quarterly study updates and final reports must be submitted to the Program Director. Meetings may be held as needed to discuss the direction of the project.