Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award

Funding Agency:
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

Supporting outstanding researchers who are embarking, or continuing, on their independent research careers.

They are conducting concerted translational research in line with their personal and professional interests that will one day grow into a body of distinguished work that sheds light on the U.S. maternal fetal health crisis. Named in honor of the first MOD Chairman and President, this award, given two recipients annually, is comprised of a $150,000 grant over a two-year period. It prioritizes investigators proposing to conduct impactful research studies that will advance our translational understanding of, or lead to improved clinical treatment of, any serious medical conditions that affect the health of a woman’s pregnancy or the health of mothers and newborns in the first year postpartum. 

Reflective of our mission, applications should focus on preterm birth and health equity. They should clearly outline a path from discovery to functional studies to clinical translation, with the eventual goal to cure or greatly mitigate conditions that adversely impact the health of pregnant women and newborns.

The award is $150,000 for two years, including 10 percent indirect costs to sponsoring institutions.

Deadline: June 9, 2023

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Areas of Research: any serious medical conditions that affect the health of a woman’s pregnancy and/or mothers and newborns within the first year postpartum.

Applications focused on preterm birth and health equity are prioritized.  

Eligibility Requirements

The Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award is intended to be an early career grant to young investigators who are just embarking on an independent research career. Eligibility is thus restricted. Please consider:

  • MD or MD/PhD applicants should be four to nine years past the last year of clinical training required for medical specialty board certification and must hold a full-time tenure-track faculty position (or equivalent) at their current U. S. based institution. 
  • For PhD scientists, the same timeline applies, but the four to nine year window begins upon completion of their terminal degree. They must have either primary or secondary appointments in clinical departments related to maternal or child health. 
  • Applicants who have transition faculty-mentored awards (e.g. K99/R00) are welcome if they still have one year of the mentored portion. If not, application should be deferred. K12 and K08 grantees are encouraged to apply.  
  • Candidates may not simultaneously hold a grant for any other March of Dimes research program.  
  • Applicants may not have total grant support exceeding $200,000 per year before the BOC award start date (e.g. R01). 
  • Those who have previously submitted an application to the Basil O’Connor program are not eligible for resubmission. 



Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

June 9, 2023