First Look Awards

Program Overview

The First Look Awards are part of the MLSC’s Women’s Health Initiative. This program is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School. The goal of this grant program is to support early-stage exploratory translational research at Massachusetts research institutions that furthers our understanding of sex and gender differences especially for diseases or conditions that affect women solely, disproportionately, or differentially.  The First Look Awards align with the Connors Center First.In.Women Precision Medicine Platform, which advances the inclusion and specific investigation of women in the development and utilization of new drugs, devices and digital therapeutics in order to produce sex-specific and sex-differentiating knowledge about newly developed treatments.

Up to $250,000 is available for the program, and we anticipate making five awards of up to $50,000 to Massachusetts-based women’s health researchers.

The application period will run from July 31 to Nov. 17, 2023 at 5 p.m. EST.

Eligibility & Evaluation

An eligible applicant must be a full or part-time employee at a Massachusetts-based research institution proposing an exploratory project as a Principal Investigator to begin developing translatable solutions for women’s health and furthering our understanding of gender biology.

An external panel of scientists from academia and industry with expertise in women’s health will review applications.

Please see full list of eligibility requirements and evaluation process.


Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology

Sample Application

Deliverables, Confidentiality, and General Conditions

Learn more about the Women’s Health Initiative

R.E.D.: Research Equipment Database

D.A.T.A. (Databases, Algorithms, Tools, and Analyses) Repository

Impact on the Ecosystem

Massachusetts recognizes there has been a lack of development in novel solutions to treat conditions that affect women solely, disproportionately, or differently. This impacts not only patients but also employers and the healthcare system. The consequences are profound, with women more likely to have adverse drug reactions than men, and the lack of effective therapies results in reduced quality of life. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center aims to support and incentivize translational project teams developing research towards the understanding of conditions and development of solutions in this area of need.

Learn more about the 2021 2022, and 2023 First Look awardees, including the principal investigator and the innovative projects.

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have questions regarding the application process, e-mail: with “First Look” in the subject line.