Over the years, The Campbell Foundation has heard from our grantees the many reasons they have been denied grants from governmental agencies and other funding agencies. Some, because there simply wasn’t any money; others because the researchers didn’t have the preliminary data required to obtain funding.
Many researchers find themselves between a rock and a hard place, they may be on to something, but they can’t move forward because they don’t have the money to do so. This is particularly true of junior investigators who are just starting their research careers.
For example, one UCLA scientist (her 2011 Campbell-funded project was entitled “Assessing Cardiovascular Risk & Impact of Hep C Treatment on Cardiovascular Risk Biomarkers in HIV-Infected Persons), told us:
“I believe the grant funding I received from The Campbell Foundation has been critical to my efforts as a junior HIV investigator to build a research career. I was a postdoctoral fellow at the time I received the funding and am now in my first year as faculty at UCLA. These data will be used in my application for K23 funding to continue research in the same area.”
We also have been fortunate to have assembled a pro bono Peer Review Board to scientifically review all grant proposals. Our reviewers are scattered across the country, so we have a good geographical representation.
Many of our PRB members have been serving for more than ten years and when one steps down we are able to get referrals from our other PRB members for a replacement.
The fact that they serve pro bono allows The Campbell Foundation to take the money we would have spent on consulting and direct it toward grant funding instead. We cannot express how valuable their service is to the foundation – their insight and expertise helps us to get grant money out into the field and fund the best science there is.
While other organizations allow for unfettered “indirect costs” in their research budgets, The Campbell Foundation has a strict policy in place: No more than 10 percent of indirect costs are allowed in any budget we receive. This limits the amount of money that may fall into the ‘black hole’ at any university or medical school. It also allows the research team to receive the lion’s share of funding to work on their projects. Each of our PRB members has a firm grasp on the foundation’s desire to keep politics out of our process and focus on the science.
Further, The Campbell Foundation is unique among other funders in that we provide each and every grant seeker the full review commentary (anonymously as we protect the identities of our PRB members), whether a grant is funded or denied.
We have been thanked time and time again, as researchers tell us no other funding entities they have dealt with provides not only the review commentary, but also the re-evaluation comments if a grant makes it to that phase. Our philosophy is that an outright “NO” (with no explanation or reasoning) really doesn’t help anyone. We want every grant seeker to know that their work was given a fair and thorough vetting, regardless of the final funding status.
Since its inception in 1995, the Campbell Foundation has awarded almost $10 million to researchers who not only are hoping to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, but who also are helping to make the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS better.