Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Award Solicitation

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary

Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a leading global healthcare company committed to delivering new, innovative pharmaceutical products to patients and championing the fight against disease and pain. Ono Pharmaceutical carries out these goals in cooperation with researchers, patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

The Ono Pharma Foundation was established to support academic research in relevant scientific fields, which have the potential of making significant impact on therapeutic approaches to disease and pain management. The Foundation’s competitive awards program, the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), is the embodiment of the Foundation’s commitment to focus on and accelerate researcher-driven open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possibly, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

Annually, the Ono Pharma Foundation considers proposals from PIs for research that could ultimately transform human health. Although additional areas of research may be added in future years, in 2020 the Ono Pharma Foundation will only consider proposals for scientific research projects addressing the following field of science:

  • Chemical Biology Research: 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.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST January 6, 2020

Sponsor Letter of Intent Deadline: February 20, 2020

Sponsor Invited Proposal Deadline: May 14, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • PI Curriculum Vitae (in NIH biosketch format): The CV must disclose all grants or awards currently received or pending which would be relevant to the proposed research.
  • Research Plan (2-3 pages maximum): Please include the following:
    • Background on the area(s) of research and key gaps in our understanding of the field or important challenges to be addressed.
    • Recent progress by the PI, focusing on the past five years. Do not repeat material adequately covered in the prior CV or Biosketch. Do not include a Publication List. Only include references as needed from the CV.
    • Overview of the Research Proposal. This should be a description of the key questions or challenges the PI plans to address and the general strategies. A detailed experimental plan is not expected. The proposed direction of the PI’s scientific project will be considered in the review process.
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://cuboulderovcr.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/6441/home


  • 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 a prior finding of the PI.

Limited Submission Guidelines

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

Award Information

Applications comprising laboratory investigation will be considered. Project duration may last up to three years with 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 three-year grant would be up to $1,035,000.

Five awards are planned for 2020, contingent upon Ono Pharma Foundation appropriations and the submission of sufficient meritorious applications.

Review 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