Synergy Award


The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is pleased to announce the new Synergy Award to encourage collaboration among health researchers from across disciplines to advance the study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  The award will fund groundbreaking or unconventional methodologies, whose risky outlook is justified by the possibility of a major breakthrough. The Synergy Award will provide $100,000 in research support for one year to each investigator on the team, up to a total of $300,000.

To apply for this competitive grant opportunity, individuals must participate in the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s annual Innovations Symposium. This event brings together some of the finest minds from a variety of scientific disciplines to discuss their work, spark novel ideas and set new directions in IBD research. The Synergy Award is intended to encourage synergistic, discovery-oriented projects that are cross-functional, creative, and feature interdisciplinary collaboration.

Program Information

The Synergy Award is open to two or more investigators working together with differing areas of expertise who wish to pool their talents and resources toward a well-defined research goal.  This goal otherwise may not be attainable by the investigators working independently.

A successful project will include:

  • innovation and creativity in addressing IBD;
  • a collaborative approach to problem-solving that will capitalize on each investigator’s expertise and resources; and
  • an idea that involves inherent risk, but has the potential to lead to breakthroughs that could improve the diagnosis, therapy or prevention of IBD.


The Synergy Award will provide $100,000 in research support for one year to each investigator on the team, up to a total of $300,000. Additional funding for the selected project(s) will be available on a competitive basis after the initial grant term has ended, and will be based on the progress achieved during the first year.

Funding criteria include:

  • Innovation
  • Scientific merit
  • Strong evidence of collaboration
  • Investigators’ capability to execute project


The research team must include at least two or more investigators, tenure track or equivalent, that have the capability to execute the proposed project. To be considered for the 2014 Synergy Award, one or more of the researchers from the team must register and attend the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s 2014 Innovations Symposium, Taming the Microbiome, on July 15-16, 2014.

The Foundation funds US organizations and non-profit organizations located outside of the US that are exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code and are classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a). The Foundation also make grants to government and public agencies, as well as to independent projects that have a qualified tax-exempt fiscal sponsor.

Application Process

Applications will be accepted online from July 17 through August 15, 2014 (until midnight PST). The online application will not be available outside of this application timeframe. Please visit the Foundation’s website during this timeframe and click on the “apply now” button to begin the process.

A completed application consists of the following information:

  • Clearly state the innovative idea you will test in one sentence
  • One to two sentences explicitly stating why this project needs to be approached by more than one group (e.g., complementary expertise, etc)
  • Approximately three pages of science (online application provides allowable limits on text) that expands on the innovative idea to be tested and how the researchers will test the idea, plus one page for figures
  • One page budget (template provided online)
  • A National Institutes of Health (NIH) formatted bio-sketch
  • IRS ruling or determination letter classifying that your institution is tax exempt as described in Code Section 501(c)(3) or completion of a Foreign Public Charity Equivalence Affidavit

The Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board will review the grant applications and the final selections will be made by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and announced in October. Applicant selection will primarily be based on the project’s alignment with the funding criteria described above.


For additional information, read the Synergy Award FAQs [pdf], or email your questions to

About the Kenneth Rainin Foundation

The mission of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation is to enhance quality of life by championing and sustaining the arts, promoting early childhood literacy, and supporting research to cure chronic disease. The Foundation believes that people trying to affect change need an early champion for their ideas. Like its founder, the Foundation listens to and invests in innovative and collaborative projects that can achieve real breakthroughs to make life better for us all.

The Foundation’s Health Program supports innovative research projects that are potentially transformative to diagnosing, treating and curing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Recognizing the inherent risk in unconventional methodologies and innovation, the Foundation funds ideas that may not be eligible for funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other more traditional sources.

Download Synergy Award Guidelines [pdf]