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The Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology is a $75M program that exists to incentivize research through prize philanthropy and grant funding to rapidly develop a permanent, single-dose, nonsurgical sterilant for male and female cats and dogs.

Apply for a Michelson Grant

Scientists wishing to be considered for Michelson Grant funding for research in pursuit of nonsurgical sterilization methods for cats and dogs must submit a brief letter of intent (LOI). LOIs may be submitted at any time, and we aim to review all LOIs within one month of submission.

To submit a letter of intent, please follow the steps below.

Step 1: Review our Online Resources

Found Animals provides valuable online resources to assist applicants in submitting successful letters of intent. The following resources must be reviewed prior to LOI submission:

Investigators are encouraged, but not required, to review the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs (ACC&D)'s white paper entitled Contraception and Fertility Control in Dogs & Cats. This document provides information about advantages and limitations of current approaches.

Step 2: Prepare your LOI

The LOI must contain:

  • Investigators' names, institution, address, phone, email, and a title descriptive of the work proposed
  • Proposed approach for developing a single-dose, permanent, nonsurgical sterilant
  • The rationale for proposing this approach
  • An overview of required research (budget estimates not required)
  • Confirmation that the applicant has reviewed the aforementioned resources

The LOI must be limited to two typed pages, have 3/4 inch margins, use 11 point Arial or Helvetica font, and be submitted in English. Found Animals reserves the right to decline LOIs that do not conform to these guidelines.

As a reference for applicants, Found Animals has created a fictional sample letter of intent, which is formatted to the LOI guidelines.

Sample LOI

Tips for Applicants:

  • Applicants should be aware that Santa Cruz Biotechnology, a large distributor of antibody and siRNA products, has been accused by the USDA of being in willful violation of the Animal Welfare Act; more information about this can be viewed here. As an animal welfare foundation with the health and well-being of animals being of utmost importance to us, Found Animals is encouraging applicants not to consider using this vendor in their proposed Michelson Grant-funded research until the company's alleged animal welfare violations have been resolved.
  • When developing an approach, investigators are encouraged to keep in mind the mission of the Michelson Prize & Grants program, which is to reduce shelter euthanasia of pets with a single-dose, permanent, safe sterilant.
  • An injectable or implantable route of administration is preferred to oral, intranasal, or other formulations. LOIs pursuing bait or feed products will not be considered.
  • Though the board will consider approaches hypothesized to be effective in a single gender or species only, the potential product must represent a significant improvement over existing products in order for the proposal to be funded (information about current products is available on the ACC&D website).
  • For an unproven concept, we recommend proposing a small pilot/proof of concept study rather than a large project.
  • Preliminary data should be provided to justify the proposed approach. These data may have been generated in the applicant's laboratory, another laboratory, or may be referenced from the literature.
  • Investigators with controlled release technologies or other sophisticated delivery approaches are encouraged to consider potential collaborations. Email addresses are provided for all Michelson Grant-funded researchers.
  • The title for your letter of intent should be descriptive of the work proposed [i.e. Not: "A Nonsurgical Sterilant for Dogs and Cats"; But: "Destruction of Hypophyseal GnRH Receptors Using Intravenous Kryptonite: Proof of Concept Study in Mice"]
  • You do not need to include information about pet overpopulation in your letter, as we are already aware of the magnitude of this problem.

Step 3: Submit your LOI

Send your LOI as an attachment to michelsonprize@foundanimals.org. In the text of the email, indicate where you first learned about the funding opportunity.

Review Process

If the LOI is approved, the applicant will be invited to submit a full proposal and will be provided with the guidelines for proposal submission. Proposals must be submitted within two cycles of approval of the LOI.

Comments from Scientific Advisory Board reviewers are provided to applicants at both the LOI and proposal stages, and applicants have one opportunity to resubmit LOIs or proposals that were disapproved, addressing reviewers' comments in a revised document. Final decisions on grant funding are at the sole discretion of Found Animals.

Upon approval of the Michelson Grant proposal, applicant institutions enter into grant agreements with Found Animals. Read more about Grant Agreements.