How do you define a rare disease?

For the purpose of this call, we consider a rare disease if it falls within either the European Union definition or the US definition of a rare disease. The European Union definition is a disease affecting no more than 1 in 2,000 individuals. The US definition is a disease affecting fewer than 200,000 individuals.

Will ultra-rare diseases be considered?

Yes, these projects are eligible and will be considered.

What is the grant award amount?

£100K (UK) or USD$100K (US and CA) guaranteed grant award.

Opportunity to qualify for acceleration funds up to £250K (UK) / USD$300K (US, CA) and investment funds according to project requirements.

What is the grant period and how is the money allocated?

The grant period is two years. Scholars will receive £50,000 (UK) / USD$50,000 (US & Canada) in year one and £50,000 (UK) / USD$50,000 (US & Canada) in year two.

Drug development and business development support from Harrington's Therapeutics Development Center is guaranteed for one year, with the potential to renew for a second year based on milestones achieved.

When will the grant period start?

Q4 2024.

How many projects will you fund?

Up to 10 projects through this call.

What would be an ideal project for the OHC to support?

The focus of this award is therapeutic development. Any rare genetic disease will be considered, but the emphasis of this program is on brain, cancer and developmental/metabolic diseases. The target should be well validated and meet the rare disease definition. There should be a clear unmet need (e.g. there is no well-established therapy available). Any therapeutic modality will be considered, and there should be clear rationale for the chosen modality with preliminary data for a lead/candidate molecule.

What stage of development will you fund?

The OHC typically funds a project at a stage between lead optimisation and clinical trials.

What modalities are eligible?

Any therapeutic modality is eligible.

Are device, diagnostic or biomarker projects eligible?

OHC is seeking to fund projects that will deliver new therapeutics. Co-development of devices, diagnostics or biomarkers could be part of the proposal, but would not be funded as stand-alone projects.

Are you interested in a second use for a known compound?

Yes, but only if there is a clear path to new IP associated with the indication.

Who is eligible to apply?

The Principal Investigator (PI) must hold a faculty position at an accredited academic medical centre, university or research institution in the US, UK or Canada, and conduct the majority of their research at that institution.

A post-doc is not eligible to apply as the PI. If the award is to be used for part of a post-doc or technician salary, the individual must be identified in the application and in place at the start of the project term. The team member should be identified in the budget submitted with the application.

Are Co-Investigators allowed?

Yes, but only one PI is recognised as the Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Scholar and will have responsibility for project oversight and financial management.

If we have licensed our technology to a commercial partner, is our project eligible for funding?

No, we can only support projects in which the asset and ensuing IP are under full control of the Principal Investigator's not-for-profit institution.

Does the Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Centre take any intellectual property rights?

No, IP rights are retained by the Principal Investigator and their institution. This is a philanthropically-supported award.

What type of costs can the award funds be applied to?

Funds can be applied to direct costs only (no institution overhead or indirect costs). They can be used for salary of the PI (up to 10% of total award amount) and collaborators in a proportionate amount to the time spent on the project. Award funds cannot be used to pay students and cannot be used for travel costs, professional fees or publication fees. In addition, no more than 10% of the grant can be used for capital expenditures or equipment.

Can salary for other faculty members that are assisting in the project, such as junior faculty and clinical doctors, be covered?

Yes, the award may be used to cover salaries for post-docs (or junior faculty or clinical doctors) equivalent to the percentage of effort devoted to the project.

The post-doc must be identified and in place at the start of the project term. The post-doc team member should be identified in the budget submitted with the application.

Is it an issue if the PI is receiving grant funding from other sources?

No issue.

Will the information I send in my proposal be kept confidential?

Yes, all information received by the Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Centre is considered confidential. If the applicant is concerned about some aspect of the review process, they may contact us at Info(at)

Can one PI submit multiple proposals for consideration?


Is there any limit to the number of applications our university can submit?


Am I eligible to apply, even if I previously was awarded funds from Harrington Discovery Institute?

Yes, past recipients of Harrington awards may submit an application for this award.

How is this award different from other therapeutic development grant awards?

The key to the success of this program is that the award provides the recipient a team of advisors who are pharma-experienced industry leaders with significant proficiency bringing therapeutics to market. Academic scientists typically find the advice to be the most valuable part of the award. As one awardee noted, "I didn't know just how much I didn't know about drug development."

The award recipient also receives dedicated project management support. The cost for all of this advisory and management support is contributed by OHC and is provided in addition to the monetary award. Successful projects typically already have some level of funding with personnel in-place ready to implement the expert advice of the Therapeutics Development team. The provided monetary funds support the expansion of the project toward therapeutic development.