Brown Investigator Award Guidelines

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO). In addition the guidelines, faculty interested should also consult the FAQs.

Program Summary

The Brown Science Foundation seeks to support bold ideas for curiosity-driven basic research.  The Foundation believes that there is a reservoir of great scientists who have demonstrated their talent and capability by earning tenure at leading US universities, but who cannot pursue their most daring ideas because of the often conservative nature of government funding.  Therefore, the Foundation intends to provide significant funds to a small number of such scientists in physics and chemistry departments with few funding restrictions and limited reporting requirements.  Because the Foundation wants to support basic research, which may have eventual technological impact, it has chosen to award grants to investigators working in atomic and condensed matter physics and fundamental areas of chemistry.

The foundation makes grants to universities to fund exceptional faculty members.  Candidates must pursue new research avenues that are highly creative, and for which conventional sources of research funding may not be readily available.  These investigations may include not only the exploration of new phenomena, but also the development of new approaches to the collection of new data for use by future researchers, the development of new and original techniques to detect or measure properties and processes, and new ideas for the analysis of newly observed phenomena.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST August 30, 2021

Sponsor Nomination Deadline: September 16, 2021

Sponsor Application Deadline: December 13, 2021

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Research Statement (4 pages maximum, 12-point font, 1 inch margins): Please describe why the research is important, the state of the field, and outline the general goals for the next five years. The statement should also indicate, in general, how funds will be used. A detailed budget is not required and will not be binding on the actual use of funds. The research statement should also explain why funding from government agencies for the proposed research is especially difficult to obtain. The Science Advisory Board is composed of both physicists and chemists, so it is important that the research statement be accessible to this broad audience.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae
  • Recommendation Letter: The letter should come from a department chair, institute director or dean and should describe the nominee's talents and experience that prepares her or him to undertake high risk-high payoff basic research.

To access the online application, visit:


Candidates must be faculty members in the chemistry or physics department, who have received tenure within the past 10 years. If the Applicant is a member of the chemistry department, the primary interest must be in the area of fundamental chemistry.  If in the physics department, the interest must be in either condensed matter or atomic physics.

Areas not under consideration for funding are biomedical research, applied or engineering research, astronomy, astrophysics and particle physics.

Universities are advised not to nominate those who control discretionary funds of $500,000 or more, and those with funds as HHMI Investigators, or from Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowships or similar awards.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Only one nomination is allowed.

Award Information

If the Applicant is a theorist, the maximum grant is $1,250,000 and, if an experimentalist, $2,000,000. The maximum time span is 5 years.