Novartis Global Scholars Program Grant Opportunity: $1M Over 3 Years to Pursue Breakthrough Science

$1M grant over 3 years available. Pre-proposal deadline May 5, 2023.

Student observing a fluid in a clear bottle at the College of Medicine Phoenix.

The Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) is seeking to advance science through the NIBR Global Scholars Program (NGSP). NGSP matches innovative thinkers from select academic institutions with NIBR scientists to explore new and exciting research directions to discover and develop transformative medicines.

An Exclusive Opportunity for University of Arizona Innovators

The University of Arizona is one of a select group of institutions globally invited to engage in this opportunity. Through this program, NIBR will support projects focused on novel science that can be translated to discovery research.

Resourcing for Breakthrough Science

Selected research proposals, not typically funded by traditional grant support, will receive up to USD $1M over three years. Additionally, a dedicated NIBR Alliance Manager will support the collaboration to ensure smooth operations between NIBR and the academic institution; in other words, the scientists can focus on the science.

Access to Inter-disciplinary Expertise

Academic scholars will have access to disease area drug-discovery and translational research expertise. Each selected scholar will join forces with Novartis’ entrepreneurially motivated scientists to challenge the status quo, take bold risks for potential big rewards, and advance research into early development stages in some cases. Furthermore, the scholar will have an opportunity to participate in NIBR’s virtual drug discovery and development project simulation course used to train/on-board Novartis scientists.

How It Works

All communications are driven through Tech Launch Arizona. The UArizona has signed a universal participation agreement. Principal Investigators and faculty are eligible to apply. Submissions, which must be based on NIBR’s Scientific Needs List, are accepted only via an online NGSP Request For Applications (RFA) portal. There is no institutional limit on the number of non-confidential pre-proposal submissions. Based on Novartis' review of pre-proposals, selected applicants will be invited to submit a confidential full proposal. Funded projects will also have a NIBR Scientific Sponsor, whose role will be to engage with the scholar providing oversight, drug hunting expertise and monitoring the progress of the project.

Important to Know

  • This is an invitation-only program for select institutions, including the University of Arizona. All materials related to this program are considered confidential and not to be shared outside of UA.
  • Only UA PIs are eligible to participate (post-doctoral and graduate students are not eligible) and third-party collaborations are not permitted
  • Pre-proposals cannot contain any personally identifiable information as the review process is blinded at this stage


April 10, 2023 Application portal opens for pre-proposal submission
May 5, 2023 Deadline for pre-proposal submission
Week of June 26 Finalists selection communicated to participating institutions
July 3, 2023 Application portal opens for Finalists to submit their full proposal
July 28, 2023 Deadline for full proposal submission
Mid-November, 2023 Scholars announced to participating institutions

Ready to Get Started? Here's how.

  1. Request a copy of the confidential Novartis' Challenge Questions to learn more about their specific areas of interest and the pre-proposal template. Contact Ann Chihak Poff, TLA's Marketing Associate, for these documents at
  2. Draft your non-confidential pre-proposal answers. For writing assistance contact Meg Bennett with RII Research Development Services at
  3. Send your pre-proposal to TLA. Copy 1) Tod McCauley,, 2) Ann Chihak Poff,, and 3) your licensing manager for initial review.
  4. After TLA's review/approval, Ann will reply with the application portal link and UA-designated institute code.
  5. PIs must submit their pre-proposals via the portal. NOTE: If it is your first time, you will need to register with your UA email address. PIs cannot apply on others' behalf. You will receive a confirmation email after you've submitted the pre-proposal. 


Got questions?

  • For IP and subject matter questions: Tod McCauley, TLA’s Assistant Director of Licensing, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences,

  • For NGSP application help, institutional code, and administrative assistance: Ann Chihak Poff, TLA’s Marketing Associate,

  • For proposal writing assistance: Meg Bennett, RII Research Development Services,