Women’s Health

Program Overview

The Women’s Health Program will support collaborative projects that aim to improve the discovery, technical innovation, and/or analysis of datasets to answer pressing life science questions around women’s health.

Up to $5 million capital dollars is available for the current program round, with each award anticipated to be approximately $750,000 to support data generation and equipment at not-for-profit partners. Project teams should comprise of not-for-profit Massachusetts institutions collaborating with at least one Massachusetts company to solve a pressing life science question that affects women solely, disproportionately, or differently.

The application period will run from August 9, 2021 to November 19, 2021 at 1 p.m.

Eligibility & Evaluation

Applicants must be a Massachusetts legally organized “not-for-profit” entity such as an academic/research institution, a hospital engaged in research, business incubator or accelerator, or other not-for-profit entity that would be eligible for capital funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Institutions that are exclusively health care providers and/or requests for the purchase of equipment associated with standard healthcare delivery would not be eligible for capital funding.

Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be non-profit institutions, including research institutions and academic medical centers.
  • A Project Team, consisting of a principal investigator (PI) at Applicant institution and one (or more) Companies must submit each application. The Company will typically be a for-profit entity, but may include not-for-profits capable of technology commercialization/adoption, such as health insurance companies. Not-for-profits that are primarily funding organizations (disease foundations, other state or federal funding sources, etc.) will not fulfill this requirement.
  • The PI must have a full-time or part-time faculty position at a college, university, or non-profit institute in Massachusetts. The lead Company must have a presence and be registered to do business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • The requested funding must support the performance of translational research with an intention to accelerate the understanding of critical healthcare issues or develop new treatment methods for conditions, that solely or disproportionately affect women, or have a different presentation between genders (i.e. heart attacks). The requested funds can only be used to  support capital costs (equipment, supplies, reagents, etc.) at the Massachusetts non-profit institution.
  • Projects will be evaluated, in part, based on the level of support offered to the Applicant in a commitment letter(s) which delineates the amount of cash, in-kind, and/or other contributions (equipment donation, cell lines, drug or material samples, internal salary, etc.) to be provided by the Company and any other sources (grantee institution, etc.). The more MLSC dollars leveraged by additional third party support, the stronger the application.
  • In addition, the Applicant will be required to provide documentation of a cash component from the Company to support at least one new postdoctoral scientist for the entire duration of the project following grant award. The salary must, at a minimum, follow the NIH payscale plus fringe.
  • Applicants must demonstrate how they will work collaboratively with the Company to execute the project.
  • The intention of these funds is to catalyze new life science discoveries. Therefore, there will be no consideration of sponsored research agreements (or other similar arrangements) executed before November 19, 2021 between the parties as part of the letter of support for this program.
  • The Applicant and Company must comply with all other Center agreements, if any.
  • Applicants must demonstrate interest in the equipment and dataset (if applicable) by other academic and industry scientists. Resources developed/purchased under this award must be made available to other internal and external scientists.

An external panel of scientists from academia and industry with expertise in women’s wealth will review applications in the following categories:

  • Qualifications of the Team
  • Use of funds and value to the Massachusetts ecosystem
  • Proposed plan, including the following: unmet need/market opportunity, data generation and sharing (if applicable), scientist training, and approach to solving a key question in women’s health

There may be a request of top applicants to meet with our review panel. Those applicants will receive a notification of that request.

Please view the full list of eligibility requirements and evaluation process.


Post-award deliverables, confidentiality, and general conditions

Sample Application

Learn more about the MLSC’s Women’s Health Initiative

Impact on the Ecosystem

Massachusetts recognizes there has been a lack of development in novel solutions to treat conditions that solely or disproportionately affect women or have a different presentation between genders. 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 who are developing novel solutions in this area of need.

Learn more about the 2020 Women’s Health awardees, including the principal investigator, industry partners, and the innovative projects.

Connect with us to Learn More

If you have any questions regarding the application process, e-mail: WomensHealth@Masslifesciences.com.