Postdoc Fellowship via Lilly Innovation Fellowship Award (LIFA)

Kate Stuart
December 28, 2015

The announcement below is about a post-doc fellowship award through the Lilly Foundation. For more information, see the website below and attached documents.


Eli Lilly and Company is pleased to announce the opening of the 2015 Lilly Innovation Fellowship Award (LIFA) program, a competitive post-doctoral fellowship award.  This program is designed to foster post-doctoral career development through the recognition of highly innovative pre-competitive post-doctoral research proposals by providing the recipient with up to 4 years of funding and a unique training experience. 


Recognizing that many post-doctoral training programs cannot always prepare young scientists for the full cross section of job opportunities available to them (academia, industry, biotech/start-up, government, not-for-profit research), Lilly has designed this program to broaden a post-doctoral scientist’s training experience.  Key to the success of this program is the establishment of an academic-industry training partnership where a post-doctoral scientist and their academic mentor are paired with a Lilly scientist who serves as an industry mentor. 


The two mentors work together for the benefit of the post-doctoral trainee.  To provide more flexibility to the post-doc, Lilly is making the following changes to the LIFA program.

Under the new LIFA program, the post-doctoral scientist is not required to be a Lilly employee.  The following research arrangements are available to accommodate a broader range of circumstances, and may be elected upon mutual agreement with the fellow’s academic mentors.


1. All research performed at academic institution in collaboration with Lilly mentor.

2. Research performed at academic institution, with a limited number of short-term (less than 6 weeks)“visiting scientist” trips to Lilly.

3.   Research begins at academic institution and after a pre-determined time point, the post-doctoral scientist will transition full-time to a Lilly research site to complete the project under the LIFA Agreement.


Note:  For research arrangements 1 and 2, the post-doctoral scientist will be an employee of the academic institution.  However, in the research arrangement 3, the post-doctoral scientist will be an employee of the academic institution while at that location and then a Lilly fixed duration employee while at a Lilly site.


The research conducted under the Lilly Innovation Fellowship Award must be pre-competitive in nature; thus publication is both encouraged and expected.   Lilly will provide salary, benefits, a travel stipend and a fixed amount of unrestricted institutional payment to support post-doctoral scientist. This year we have asked our top Lilly scientists and leaders to nominate universities for an invitation to participate.  Your university was nominated by senior leadership in view of your school’s exceptional track record of productivity and innovation that aligns with the challenges the pharmaceutical industry faces to deliver innovative medicines.  We invite your School to nominate outstanding post-doctoral scientists to apply for this competitive Award. 


The preliminary application package must be submitted via email to LIFA@Lilly.comThe deadline for receipt of applications is January 28, 2016.

Program Requirements

  • To qualify for consideration, the LIFA applicant is expected to be within 4 years of having received his/her PhD, MD or equivalent degree, and must have an academic post-doctoral mentor at their institution. 
  • Recent doctoral graduates may apply provided they complete their doctoral degree by May 31, 2016 and have obtained the commitment of an academic post-doctoral mentor in their School who will support them in their application process. 
  • All applicants must have the support of their institution.  There is no limit on the number of applications submitted by a school. All applications must be sent to Lilly by the institution.  Applications received directly from individual applicants will not be accepted.
  • If selected to receive a LIFA fellowship, the applicant must begin their post-doctoral appointment at their academic institution no later than August 2016.

Application Process

The application process will be initiated by submission of the post-doctoral scientist’s CV and a brief non-confidential preliminary research proposal for review.  Applications with appropriate pre-competitive nature and alignment with current research areas of focus under the LIFA program (see Grand Challenges document) will be assigned a Lilly scientific mentor, who will work with the post-doctoral applicant and the academic mentor to prepare a final research proposal.  A rigorous, merit-based review of final applications will determine LIFA Awardees for 2015/2016.  Applications will be judged on: strength of the candidate, the research proposal and the track record of the academic mentor. LIFA awardees selected by the merit review process will be notified in June 2016. Execution of a LIFA agreement between the sponsoring institute and Eli Lilly and Company by the published deadline is required before the Award is finalized.

All requirements must be successfully completed before a formal Award offer can be made.  It is our goal to make formal LIFA offers beginning in June 2016, with salary start dates commencing in August 2016.

For over 135 years, research at Eli Lilly and Company has been at the forefront of innovation, and our company is synonymous with excellence in training and leadership development.  We hope that you find this program exciting and that a post-doctoral scientist from your group will apply for the Lilly Innovation Fellowship Award.   Please remember that this is a competitive Award program, so only a portion of the applicants will receive the Award. 

Additional details regarding the LIFA program, including the preliminary application form, and related materials, are attached.  Additional information can be found   We have also provided answers to a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  If you have any additional questions, we encourage you to contact us at




Jikesh Shah

Six Sigma Blackbelt

Consultant – Strategic Sourcing ¦LRL Six Sigma

Eli Lilly and Company 
317.277.2463 (office) | 317.363.5628 (mobile)
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