E.W. "Al" Thrasher Awards

Program Summary

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, offering the potential for practical solutions to these problems. Such solutions should be innovative and have the potential for broad applicability with low barriers to implementation. Projects with a shorter distance to clinical applicability are given priority.​ Hypothesis-driven research critical- exploratory, hypothesis-generating research will not be competitive. 

If you would like to improve disease diagnosis, please ensure that there are well researched, effective treatment options available to patients upon diagnosis.

We do not fund projects whose main focus is educational outreach for patients or caregivers, including classes or counseling on health habits, treatments, or stress coping. In addition, projects focusing solely on disease mechanism would be outside the scope of the fund. 

What we do not fund- E.W. "Al Thrasher Award

  • Research on human fetal tissue

  • Research conducted in animal models

  • Behavioral science research

  • Educational programs including training for patients, caregivers, or hospital staff

  • 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)

Application Tips and Requirements

Thrasher's focus is on child outcomes- we want to fund science that will make meaningful progress in the way diseases are diagnosed and treated. Competitive grants often focus on severe, or high incidence diseases. The aims include child driven outcomes, and the proposals are far enough along in the research process to make a clinical difference within a few years. 

If the submitted grant includes study sites outside the Principal Investigator home country, applications must include a co-investigator from each country included as a study site. Capacity building and buy in from local leaders and clinicians is critical to our mission for improving child health. 

Please feel free to reach out to out Research Managers with inquiries about project ideas or proposal aims. We are happy to discuss specifics and give you an idea of what will be competitive. 


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.


As of October 2020 our application process is now a deadline based system. These changes will allow for better comparison of proposals and streamlined application decisions. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to one of our research managers. 

2022 Spring Cycle

Concept Submission DeadlineJuly 20, 2021 (Noon Mountain Time)
Concept Paper DecisionsBy August 20, 2021
Full Proposal Submission DeadlineBy October 29, 2021 (Noon Mountain Time)
Peer Review CompletionApprox. December 2021
Response to Peer ReviewApprox. January 2022
Peer Review of RevisionApprox. February 2022
Proposal Materials to Advisory CommitteeFebruary 11, 2022
Proposal Materials to Executive CommitteeFebruary 25, 2022
Final DecisionMarch 14, 2022

2022 Fall Cycle

Concept Submission DeadlineJanuary 18, 2022 (Noon Mountain Time)
Concept Paper DecisionsBy February 18, 2022
Full Proposal Submission DeadlineBy April 29, 2022 (Noon Mountain Time)
Peer Review CompletionApprox. June 2022
Response to Peer ReviewApprox. July 2022
Peer Review of RevisionApprox. August 2022
Proposal Materials to Advisory CommitteeAugust 13, 2022
Proposal Materials to Executive CommitteeAugust 27, 2022
Final DecisionSeptember 10, 2022


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 $370,000. Grants are rarely given over $550,000.

Investigators and co-investigators in need of salary support may apply for 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. Salaries for support staff, students, and others do not have the 20% restriction.

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. Applicants whose concepts generally fit with the current priorities of the Fund are invited to submit a full proposal. Applicants have about 10 weeks 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.

Click Here to Submit Concept Paper


Video Submission for Committee Meetings

We invite our applicants to create a PowerPoint video, no more then three and a half minutes, to be submitted at the same time as the proposal revision after peer review. These videos should convey the need for the project, focusing on the research gap and potential for improved clinical care. They should also cover the hypothesis, aims, and study design of the proposal. 

Videos are played in Committee Meetings as each project is discussed. We hope that they allow applicants to convey what they see as the most important aspects of the project and make a case for funding.  

For large files, research managers can provide you with a link to submit the presentation.

Instructions for creating a PowerPoint video:

Open your PowerPoint, in the ribbon click on “Slide Show” and “Record Slide Show- Record from Beginning”

Click “Record”

Go through the presentation, using a voiceover only or video option. To bring up a pointer, just hold “control” while you click the mouse.


Trying to convey your enthusiasm is critical. These can be compelling and help our committee understand the reasons behind the work, what is frustrating about current clinical practice that will be addressed with your proposal?

From a production side, it helps to talk louder then you would normally, it helps with playback.

Success Rates