The William F. Milton Fund


(Updated January 23, 2017)

All applications should be submitted online at

Questions about the Milton Fund should be sent to


The William F. Milton Fund, established in 1924, is one of the oldest bequests made to Harvard University. Funding research projects in the fields of medicine, geography, history and science, the winning projects must either promote the physical and material welfare and prosperity of the human race, or investigate and determine the value and importance of any discovery or invention, or assist in the discovery and perfecting of any special means of alleviating or curing human disease.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research administers the Milton Fund.  The Office invites eligible faculty and fellows to submit proposals for funding no later than February 1, 2017.  Applications are accepted through the Harvard University Funding Portal (HUFP).  


Reviewers will evaluate applications on intellectual merit, interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, and likely impact on all fields of medicine, geography, history and science.  Funds awarded through the Milton Fund support research to explore new ideas, to act as the catalyst between ideas and more definitive directions, and to consider new methods of approaching global solutions.

Available Funding

Applicants may apply for up to $50,000 payable over one year. Grants are non-renewable, but no-cost extensions may be applied for, in writing, at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration date of your grant.  The maximum extension available is a one-time, 12-month extension. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research reserves the right to terminate any grant at any time for cause.


Applications are invited from individuals who hold a faculty appointment at a Harvard school (including those based at affiliated hospitals) and who have principal investigator rights at that school.  Junior Fellows of the Harvard Society of Fellows are also invited to apply.  Preference will be given to junior investigators

Disqualifiers:  Anyone who has received a Milton Fund grant within the previous five years.

Submission Cycle Timeline

  1. The online application portal will open on December 1, 2016.
  2. Full Proposals will be due on February 1, 2017 at 11:59 PM.  
  3. Award Decisions will be announced in May, 2017.  
  4. Funds will be made available in June, 2017.  Fund disbursal will occur upon receipt of signed award terms and conditions, and provision of any other required documentation.  Delayed receipt of documentation may delay the disbursal of funds.
  5. Technical Research Reports of research will be due from award recipients 1 year after initial receipt of funds. Reports may be no longer than two pages.
  6. Financial Reports will be due from award recipients 1 year after initial receipt of funds, concurrent with Technical Research Reports. Financial reports should be submitted using Harvard’s standard financial reporting template.

Application Requirements

To apply for funding from the Milton Fund, please visit Harvard’s online application portal at You will be asked to submit the following information and documentation by February 1, 2017: ­

  1. Contact information for the PI, PI’s department administrator(s) and PI’s department chair. 
  2. A 200 word summary statement describing the project in lay person's  terms. (This summary will be typed directly into the electronic application dashboard. Applicants may first write the summary in a Word document and then cut and paste it into the feild within their application)
  3. Four-page Proposal Narrative that describes the specific aims and methodology of the proposed project.  Bibliographical references and/or related graphics may be placed on consecutive blank pages after the written narrative.
  4. Assurance of Compliance  All recipients of an award from the Milton Fund are expected to comply with all University, (or local institutional, if awarded through an affiliated entity), policies governing the conduct of research including, but not limited to, the use of animals, human subjects, hazardous materials, and export controls.  Applicants must provide the name and contact information of a school or department administrator who, in addition to the principal investigator, will certify that the project complies with all relevant policies.  Funds will not be made available, and invoices from non-Harvard entities will not be reimbursed, without such certification.  All applicants are subject to audit.
  5. Biosketch, limited to five pages, per principal investigator and any co-investigators.
  6.  Letter(s) of Reference, required for Junior Fellows of the Harvard Society of Fellows only. One letter is required, but up to two letters may be submitted. The single required letter, and the optional second letter, may not exceed a maximum of one page in length.
  7. Project Budget requires both a Budget Form and Budget Justification.
    1. Budget Form must be presented in tabular form, must use 9 point font, and should not exceed one page.  
    2. Budget Justification should explain each budget line item. The narrative should be no more than one page in length.


i. Salary support may be requested for the Principal Investigator*, postdoctoral scholars*, research assistants and laboratory technicians to the extent that they work on the Milton-supported investigation (*please note that Junior Fellows may not request salary support for themselves).  Any benefits-eligible personnel expenses in the budget must include the appropriate fringe rates for the year. Applicants should consult with Human Resources at their home school for applicable rates.


ii. Only expenditures for the purposes of the proposed investigation are allowable for Milton Fund grants. Funds for large pieces of equipment planned to improve the general facilities of the laboratory will not be approved. Funds for maintenance or service contracts are not allowable. Equipment becomes the property of Harvard University upon the termination of the project.


iii. Travel to collect specimens or obtain data necessary to conduct the proposed research is allowable and must be explained thoroughly in the budget justification. Travel to scientific meetings is not an allowable budget item unless it can be related directly to the funded project.


iv. All research-related supplies are allowed.


v. Not allowed.

Other Support

Provide a detailed list of active and pending support for the Principal Investigator.  Information provided should include: name of sponsor, award period, award amount, and name of project.  Also include a short narrative (no more than one paragraph) which demonstrates the applicant’s need for Milton funding.

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