E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards

Program Summary
Research Interests
Budget Guidelines
Application Process
Review Cycle and Success Rates

Program ​Summary

The Thrasher Research Fund has been awarding grants for children's medical research for over 40 years. The purpose of the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards is to improve children's health through medical research, with an emphasis on projects that have the potential to translate into clinically meaningful results within a few years. The Fund awards grants two times per year, with no fixed number of awards given in each funding cycle or in each year.

Research Interests

The Thrasher Research Fund is open to applications that address a variety of significant pediatric problems. Both incidence and severity are considered when determining the significance of the proposed topic. The Fund supports research both within and outside the United States.
Ideal applications for the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Award address significant health problems that affect children in large numbers and offer the potential for practical solutions to these problems. Such solutions should be innovative and have the potential for broad applicability with low financial and/or technical barriers to implementation. Hypothesis-driven research is preferred over exploratory, hypothesis-generating research. Projects with a shorter distance to clinical applicability are given priority.​
Animal Models
Although the Fund has been open to animal models in the past, after analyzing our data we note that only two animal studies for the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Award have been funded in the past six years, with the most recent in 2010. This is due to the rise in applications that have a shorter distance to application than most animal studies.  The Fund's Executive Committee is concerned about wasting the efforts of applicants for a class of projects that are being funded so infrequently.  Therefore, the Fund is not currently accepting studies that will be primarily conducted in animal models for the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Award.  As the Early Career Award Program is a separate mechanism and serves additional purposes, animal-model studies will continue to be considered. 
What we do not fund 
  • Research on human fetal tissue
  • Research primarily conducted in animal models for the E.W. "Al" Thrasher Award
  • Behavioral science research
  • Educational programs
  • General operating expenses
  • General bridge funding for incomplete projects
  • Construction or renovation of buildings or facilities
  • Loans, student aid, scholarships, tuition
  • Support of other funding organizations
Requests are rarely approved for purchase of major project-related equipment (greater than $4,000)


Principal Investigators must be qualified in terms of education and experience to conduct research. A doctoral-level degree is required. There are no citizenship or residency requirements. The Fund is open to applications from institutions both inside and outside the United States.


Below is an outline of the review process along with a timeline to assist in determining the best time to submit Concept Papers and Proposals.  Once a Proposal is submitted, we will work as expeditiously as possible to move your project through the peer review process.  Proposals recommended by peer reviewers for further consideration are reviewed by the Fund's Committees in March and September.

Review Process


Concept Paper Submission

Rolling Basis

Staff reviews Concept Papers

Weekly Basis

Executive Committee reviews Concept Papers

Monthly Basis

Time to Concept Paper decision

1-6 weeks

Submission of Proposal

Up to one year after Concept Paper approval

Internal review of Proposal and Identification of Reviewers

1-3 weeks

External Peer Review

5-8 weeks

Reject or invite PI to respond to reviewers

1 week

PI Response

2-4 weeks but can vary depending upon raised issues

Final peer review recommendation

2 weeks

Staff submits Proposal and reviews to Committees

First part of February and first part of August

Final Decision

Late March, Late September

Bottom Line: Based on the estimates above, for consideration in the March funding meetings, submission of a Proposal* in October should provide sufficient time to complete the review process. Likewise, for consideration in the September funding meetings, submission of a Proposal* in April should provide sufficient time to complete the review process.  To expedite the identification of potential peer reviewers, please notify a member of the Fund's staff two weeks prior to submitting a proposal.
An earlier submission can provide some buffer if the peer review takes longer than anticipated or if extra time is needed to respond to reviews.

*A Concept Paper should be submitted within a timeframe to allow for full review of the Concept Paper and the drafting/writing of the Proposal to meet the suggested Proposal submission dates.

Budget Guidelines

The grant amount is based on the actual budgetary needs of the project. The duration of the project can be up to three years. Indirect costs of no more than 7% of direct costs will be paid on E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards. In 2012-2016 the median grant was $320,000 (total, not annually).
Investigators in need of salary support for a specific project may apply for modest support (no more than 20 percent, based on a 40-hour work week). The Fund limits the maximum salary upon which an individual can request salary support. The maximum amount will be based on the NIH guidelines for salary support.
Requests for purchase of major equipment (items >$4,000) are discouraged and rarely funded. The Fund does not pay tuition or fees for students supported as part of the application.
The final budget should be consistent with the budget amount proposed in the approved Concept Paper.  All exceptions must be cleared through the Fund.
The Fund is open to a variety of different opportunities that include co-funding of projects with different funding sources. The portion of the project proposed to Thrasher should be discrete, although it may be dependent on portions of the study funded from other sources such as testing of additional hypotheses from an ongoing trial. Proposals requesting Thrasher to commit money to a larger pool of funding with no distinct project proposed to Thrasher will not be funded. Co-funding requests are dealt with on a case-by-case-basis. Interested applicants may consult with one of the Fund's Research Managers to discuss specifics of their individual situations.

Application Process

The Fund uses a two-step process for E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards. The first step is the submission of a Concept Paper. These Concept Papers are reviewed by the Fund's staff and Executive Committee. Applicants whose concepts generally fit with the current priorities of the Fund are invited to submit a full proposal. Applicants have up to one year to submit a full proposal from the date of invitation. Full proposals are reviewed by external peer reviewers with specific expertise in the subject being proposed. Proposals recommended by peer reviewers are considered by the Fund's Committees. The Committees meet to make funding decisions in March and September.

Review Cycle and Success Rates