Dear Friends and Alumni of the Life Sciences Research Foundation:
The mission of the LSRF is to establish partnerships between those who support research in the life sciences and academic institutions for their mutual benefit. The simple vehicle for achieving this partnership is a highly competitive postdoctoral fellowship program.
This web site for our prestigious postdoctoral fellowship program contains important information that is relevant to future applicants, potential new sponsors, current fellows and sponsors, and alumni.
The modern era of biological research led to the founding of LSRF. By the late 1970s it became clear that the new biology would be relevant to research-oriented companies. The academic and commercial branches of chemistry and engineering have a long history of collaboration, but this had never been true of the biological sciences. For the first time, biologists were starting and leading companies that expected to apply this new powerful technology to the solution of problems that had previously been the province of chemists. The discoveries behind this revolution had been made exclusively in non-profit academic institutions, and it was academicians who first realized the commercial possibilities of biological research. In this new era, the non-profit and the for-profit constituencies of the life sciences have come together. Research-oriented companies now must keep up with the latest basic biology that takes place in academic institutions, and positions in industry have become a much more attractive option for academicians. The first class of LSRF fellows was awarded in 1983.
Fostering partnerships between sponsors and academic institutions by a highly competitive postdoctoral fellowship.
To foster partnerships between research-oriented companies and academic institutions for their mutual benefit, LSRF provides the framework for a sponsor to help fund the training of the very best young scientists. The annual process begins by ranking the top 8% from an international pool of over 500 applicants. Academic scientists review the applicants and administer the program for extremely low costs. This is possible because no scientist associated with LSRF is paid. Once the finalists are chosen, a sponsor can select the individual(s) whose research is closest to its interest. The fellow is named after his/her sponsor, and LSRF encourages close interactions between sponsors and fellows. Our annual meeting displays the talents of the best and brightest young scientists at the critical time when they are exploring their first job options.
Our inexpensive but high quality peer review service has attracted a diverse group of sponsors who believe as we do in the cost effectiveness of supporting the training of the very best young scientists. Past and present sponsors include industry, one government agency, individual philanthropists, and one medical research organization. A variety of foundations team up with LSRF to support fellows including disease-targeted, family, and community foundations. Once the finalists are chosen, a sponsor can select the individual(s) whose research is closest to its interest. These sponsors realize that LSRF does all of the work and the sponsor receives the credit. We welcome the involvement of any organization or person who wishes to make use of our peer review service.
The success of LSRF is ultimately the training of the young inspired scientists. Indeed, LSRF alumni have a remarkable record of becoming independent research investigators in academics and industry. Many have gone on to become leaders in their fields and even to establish new fields. Therefore, the importance of a small independent agency like LSRF, that selects candidates by peer review in all of the varied areas of the life sciences, is greater than ever.
To continue the important work of LSRF, we welcome your assistance in our search for new sponsors, a process that must, by necessity, begin anew every fall. We now have three offices that share the responsibilities of running LSRF. Christine Pratt in our Baltimore office at the Carnegie Institutions Department of Embryology administers current fellowships. Fundraising is carried out jointly at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School by Steven McKnight and in Baltimore by Christine Pratt, Douglas Koshland and me. The peer review process is organized and managed in the Molecular Biology Department of Princeton University by Susan DiRenzo, Tom Silhavy and Jim Broach.
Donald D. Brown