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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program 2023

To:Chairs and Administrators; Departments in the Biological Sciences; Associate Deans for Research; College/School Research Administrators
From:Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education
Date:December 06, 2022
Subject:Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program


Deadline for Internal Review:January 12, 2023

Project Description

Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a leading global healthcare company committed to delivering new, innovative pharmaceutical products to patients and championing the fight against disease and pain. Ono Pharmaceutical carries out these goals in cooperation with researchers, patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

The Ono Pharma Foundation was established to support academic research in relevant scientific fields, which have the potential of making significant impact on therapeutic approaches to disease. The Foundation’s competitive awards program, the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), is the embodiment of the Foundation’s commitment to focus on and accelerate researcher-driven open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possibly, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

The purpose of the Ono Initiative is to support scientist Principal Investigators (“PIs”) with creative ideas in selected scientific research fields with the mission of seeking discoveries/solutions and development of high impact science. The goals of the Ono Initiative are to:

  • Identify and develop innovative research proposals and results that could lead to the development of breakthrough treatment solutions for patients.
  • Support academic research and the career development of promising young and mid-career scientists.
  • Build strong relationships within the community in order to lead to transformative research aligned with the Ono Initiative’s goals.


Annually, the Ono Pharma Foundation considers proposals from PIs for research that could ultimately transform human health. Although additional areas of research may be added in future years, in 2023 the Ono Pharma Foundation will only consider proposals for scientific research projects addressing the following field of science:

  • Chemical Biology Research
    • Target research of Chemical Biology is not specified by the Ono Initiative.
    • Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology. The criteria for this field are deliberately broad so as not to disqualify potentially innovative and groundbreaking projects.


Amount per Award: $900,000 for the three year research project.
Duration of Award: Up to 3 years
Number of Awards: 3


To be eligible, the PI must fit the following criteria

  • PIs applying must be working at one of the nominating institutions. Nominating institutions might be replaced or added to in subsequent years.
  • The PI must have an MD and/or a PhD degree.
  • The PI must be a new applicant to the Ono Initiative, or, if they are returning, have applied over three years ago for a project different from the one they are currently proposing.
  • The PI must be a young and/or mid-career scientist (15 years or below of experience from starting independent academic position).
  • The PI may not already be engaged in other sponsored research with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and/or grant program with Ono Pharma Foundation.
  • The PI may not apply for funding to amplify current work. However, PIs may research a new idea based on a prior finding of the PI.


UW-Madison may nominate 2 applicants in Chemical Biology Research.


Internal Competition Application Instructions

Applications for Internal Review

To submit your application, attach a single PDF to an email to:

Please include the following:

  • Cover Page including: Name and academic title of PI, contact information, and title of program project
  • Vision of the Proposed Research: No more than 800 words – roughly one and a half pages when formatted. Figures may be included but should not exceed an additional two pages. If there is a figure that best explains your project, please indicate which one.
  • CV: NIH Biosketch format-disclose all grants or awards currently received or pending which would be relevant to the Proposed Research (no more than 5 pages)

Sponsor Deadlines

Letters of Intent are due to Ono Pharma Foundation by February 15, 2023. Applications are due to Ono Pharma Foundation by May 17, 2023.