Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain


Since 2009, the Rita Allen Foundation has awarded annually the Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain, recognizing emerging experts in basic pain research whose work holds high potential for uncovering new pathways to improve the treatment of chronic pain. Each year, the Foundation typically awards two grants, in the amount of $50,000 per year over three years, to early-career investigators who are pursuing innovative research on mechanisms that initiate and propagate pain in the nervous system. In 2019, three additional pain awards and in 2020 two additional pain awards were awarded by The Rita Allen Foundation with support from the Open Philanthropy Foundation.

Eligible candidates will have completed their training and provided persuasive evidence of distinguished achievement or extraordinary promise for a career in basic science research in pain. Candidates should be in the early stages of their career, with an appointment at the faculty level.

2021 Rita Allen Foundation Award In Pain Recipients
Past Rita Allen Foundation Award In Pain Recipients

Research Topics

Proposed research topics should be directed toward the molecular biology of pain and/or basic science topics related to the development of new analgesics for the management of pain due to terminal illness. The proposal should describe the proposed research in pain and why it is cutting edge. In addition, the candidate should describe their vision for a career in pain research and provide information or any examples of leadership in pain-related activities.  The entire award is made available to the recipient; university overhead is not supported.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Applications will be open from October 15 - December 15, 2022. Completed applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EASTERN TIME on December 15, 2022. Grant awards will be announced in early Spring 2023. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee that includes past Award in Pain recipients, as well as other leading pain basic researchers. The selection committee is, unfortunately, unable to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications. Subsequently, grant funds will be awarded for the initial twelve-month grant period upon satisfactory execution of a grant agreement between the Rita Allen Foundation and the grant recipient’s institution.

Application Requirements

The application requires the following documents written in English:

  1. signature page that must be signed by the Applicant/PI and the Institutional Official responsible for submitting applications for extramural support.
  2. An abstract (no more than 3,000 characters/300 words).
  3. Statement (no more than 3,000 characters/300 words) summarizing the candidate's contributions as a leader in the field of pain research and their vision for their career.
  4. NIH Biosketch (no more than 5 pages, see template).
  5. Research proposal narrative that is no more than 6 pages, with no less than 11-point Arial font, and 0.5-inch margins. A 7th page will also be included for references.
  6. Three letters of support:
    1. One letter from the candidate’s Department Chair or Division Chief that demonstrates strong support for the candidate’s proposed research and career development (start-up funds, lab space, and a tenure-track position). This letter of support will be appended to your attached application document.
    2. Two letters of support should come from the candidate’s post-doctoral advisor or influential advisor or mentor who has impacted the candidate’s research). When completing the application, candidates will provide email contact information for the individuals requested to submit letters of support. These two individuals will be contacted by the online system requesting that their letters be submitted to the application system.
  7. List of current and pending research support from all sources, as well as clarification as to whether there is any overlap between projects funded/submitted elsewhere and the current proposal (overlap should be avoided).
  8. Budget details and justification for the first year of grant funding as an RAF Award in Pain recipient, not to exceed $50,000. The budget justification paragraph should not exceed more than 3,000 characters/300 words.

For information about eligibility and in-depth details on how to apply, please click the button below:

Click here for more information about the 2022 application cycle

Assistance with Applications

For technical support (including questions about trouble logging in and technical issues in completing an application) or questions regarding eligibility: Please contact [email protected] (the office is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am ET-5:00 pm ET).  Emails received after hours and on weekends will be responded to on the next business day.

More information about eligibility, the application process, and application deadlines can be found on the Award in Pain page. If you have questions, please contact [email protected]