Program Rationale

In this funding cycle, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) required all Clinical and Translational Science Centers, including Harvard Catalyst, to identify and then mitigate roadblocks that impede health-related research. The opportunity presented below is focused on studying and addressing one such roadblock at Harvard University and its healthcare affiliates: “That critical research resources are frequently invisible, difficult to access or both.

This problem should resonate if you have ever wanted your research to go in a direction which required specialized instruments or technologies, but you didn’t know if:

  • they existed at Harvard University
  • they were available to you
  • regardless of access, you had enough expertise to design and implement a good experiment


Previous Harvard Catalyst programs have suggested that subsidized access to core facilities and expertise allows investigators to learn more about Harvard University’s extensive, but not always obvious, core support. The improved evaluation of new ideas and technologies then informs and speeds their subsequent translational research.

To extend those observations and prospectively evaluate the utility of subsidized time in cores, this pilot program is designed to:

  • Provide up to 50 participants with three to eight hours of free (subsidized) time at selected Harvard University cores.
  • Harvard Catalyst program managers will help coordinate and facilitate participants’ core access and use.
  • Explore the impact of making access and use of these resources easier.
  • Examine which characteristics of investigators, scientific questions, core structures and processes best facilitate investigator learning and technology adoption.
  • Characterize investigators’ perspectives on benefits or lack thereof that accrue to subsidized core access, including help with experimental design, learning about applicability of a new technology to current or anticipated work, performing a critical experiment.

To achieve these goals:

All applicants and awardees will be asked to complete brief surveys asking about their motivations and experience at two to three points during the program.


To participate in this pilot program, you need to:

  • Submit a very brief statement of interest [Applications are now closed] outlining why and or how you would like to explore the applicability of these resources to your research. This may be highly exploratory (simply a desire to learn more and why) or related to a topic-specific question or application (see FAQs).
  • Attend either a Zoom information session with core facility directors to explore their resource offerings or arrange to visit the core facility of your choice.
  • After attending a Zoom information session or visiting a core facility of interest submit a more focused brief application for a specific core.
  • For all applicants, provide survey information about their experience at two to three timepoints.


Zoom Information Session 1: December 13, 2023 | 9:00-10:00am

Zoom Information Session 2: December 15, 2023 | 11:00am-12:00pm

Applications requiring the use of non-human samples/models, addressing basic research questions will not be considered unless there is a clear and direct link to subsequent investigations of human health OR their use facilitates exploratory educational exercises such as learning whether a technology could address a question in future human samples.


To address the underlying need to expand exposure and access to research resources, this call for applications targets junior or mid-level investigators  who are less likely to have the means or knowledge to access such cores.

  • Investigators from any academic field are welcome to apply.
  • Investigators with appointments as lecturer, instructor, research scientist/associate, or postdoctoral assistant/fellow are eligible to apply with the support of their PI or department chair (form supplied in application).
  • Faculty who hold a Harvard appointment as assistant professor, are also eligible to apply.
  • Associate and full professors are not eligible to apply as PIs although their qualifying lab members may do so.

Key Dates

Statement of Interest due: December, 10, 2023

Zoom Information Sessions:

  • Zoom Information Session 1: December 13, 2023 | 9:00-10:00am
  • Zoom Information Session 2: December 15, 2023 | 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Or complete onsite core facility visit by December 15, 2023

Full application due:  January 12, 2024

Funding Decisions Announced:  late January 2024

Anticipated Funding Start Date: February 2024


Step One: Submit Statement of Interest
Step Two: Attend Zoom Information Session
Step Three: Detailed Application


Why is there a three-step process?
Can I submit multiple ideas?
Who can apply?
Do you have any examples of the kind of projects that would be suitable?
Can you provide more details about the additional information that I will be asked to provide?
Why do I need to attend a Zoom information session or visit a core facility?
Do I need to provide you with any regulatory documentation related to the project?
Why is Harvard Catalyst offering investigators access to core facilities?
What is the rationale for Harvard Catalyst paying the core facilities directly? Why can’t I just get the dollar equivalent?
What are the next steps after I've attended a Zoom information session or visited my selected facility?
What about indirect/F&A or other costs?

Award Information

Review Process
Details of Core Subsidy Awards