Discovery Research Grants

Discovery Grants are for established scientists with a long history of published work in the maternal fetal health and related fields.
Discovery Grants

The highest tier of grants available through March of Dimes

These grants are awarded to seasoned researchers seeking to make consequential translational discoveries that will drastically alter clinical care for pregnant people and babies, whether through evidence-based prevention, diagnosis, or intervention.

Simply put, Discovery Grants are funding vehicles for research inquiries that are as practical as they are ambitious, as attainable as they are groundbreaking, and as transformative as they are necessary. These grants are given to researchers with inquiries that have the power to drastically reshape outcomes for families across the US and strike a decisive blow against the maternal and infant health crisis.

The proposed research should focus on one of these priority topic areas:

Priority topic 1

Spontaneous preterm birth

This topic focuses on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders leading to spontaneous preterm birth. Proposed studies must have the potential to improve clinical care to prevent adverse maternal and child outcomes.

Please note:

  • All studies must have the potential to improve clinical care and decrease the rate of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality;
  • All topics may include investigations looking at the periods of pregnancy, intrapartum, and up to one year postpartum;
  • Research may include human studies or studies with human tissue or studies at the population level;
  • Models systems research is discouraged, but is eligible if used to validate novel human disease processes;
  • Research proposals may involve information and communications technology innovations; and
  • We encourage multidisciplinary collaborations including those with community-based partners.

Award amount: $200,000 over two years inclusive of 10% indirect costs

Areas of research:

  1. Spontaneous preterm birth.
  2. Racial inequities as they relate to morbidity, mortality, and access to care.
  3. Cardiovascular health conditions developed during pregnancy or exacerbated during pregnancy.

Open to: health professionals, health researchers, epidemiologists, and social scientists with doctoral academic degrees and either a faculty appointment or equivalent at academic universities, hospitals, and research institutions; from those who are employees of small businesses, startup companies, non-profit organizations, or pharmaceutical companies committed to research in the area of maternal and infant health.

Note: The current cycle is now closed

 Application portal opens: June 6, 2024
 Application portal closes: September 6, 2024
 Notification of awards: December 20, 2024
 Award start date: January 1, 2025
 Award end date: December 31, 2026


Apply on portal


March of Dimes invites submissions from:

  • Health professionals, health researchers, epidemiologists, and social scientists with doctoral academic degrees and either a faculty appointment or equivalent at academic universities, hospitals, and research institutions;
  • Those who are employees of small businesses, startup companies, non-profit organizations; or
  • Pharmaceutical companies committed to research in the area of maternal and infant health.

These applications are not limited to US citizens/are open to global applicants. Applicants may not hold any other current March of Dimes grants when applying.

Requests for exceptions on timing (e.g. parental leave) may be submitted to Courtney Dower at ([email protected]).    

The entire process must be completed online at

Applicants may only submit one application, listing themselves as either a PI or Co-PI.


  • Application for the proposed research, which includes:
    • Title & Abstract of Proposed Project 
    • Statement of Objective and Hypothesis 
    • Preliminary data and Background Studies 
    • Research Approach and Intended Deliverables 
  • Budget and Budget Justification 
  • Candidate’s biographical sketch 
  • Facilities available 
  • Current and Pending Financial Support: list each grant or contract for the conduct of this research. If there is support, please state “NONE”

March of Dimes works with a variety of researchers from around the world. We hope that our awardees view their time as scholars, grantees, or center partners as mutually beneficial, and with value beyond the monetary consideration. 

We expect our awardees to attend key meetings that pertain to their award program, or assign an appropriate delegate if not possible. We expect members of our research centers to collaborate scientifically and collegially with other centers or non-profit organizations that are identified during the course of the award period. We expect that our awardees will attend scientific meetings that may be established by March of Dimes and use good faith efforts to help March of Dimes raise funds for future awards through attendance at some events, interviews, or other public-facing opportunities.

We expect our awardees to make an impact on the thematic areas outlined in our strategic plan as they relate to their awards. To that end, we expect awardees to notify us of publications, posters, and presentations so that we may help amplify their good work to the public. 

All these things we do so that our awardees can be successful now and in the future.

Please direct any questions to [email protected].

2022 award recipients

Last cycle’s grant recipients

Joshua Grolman, PhD

"Immunomodulation Via Extracellular Matrix Mechanics to Stimulate Spontaneous Healing in Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membrane"
Joshua Grolman, PhD
“Pro-Resolving Lipid Mediators in Preeclampsia: Therapeutic Potential of Aspirin and Statins”
“Improving Equitable Access to Evidence-based Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum People with Opioid Use Disorder”
“A Model for Building Health Equity: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Integrating an Implicit Bias Training into the Pregnancy and Parenting Partners (P3) Group Prenatal Care Program”

Elisha Wachman

“Effects of Prenatal Opioid Exposure on Placental DNA Methylation and Gene Expression”
Elisha Wachman

Making an impact with research

March of Dimes research is focused on ending preventable preterm birth. We do this by approaching research in several key ways: At both the bench and bedside—through descriptive research that aims to characterize and understand the factors that lead to preterm birth and other adverse outcomes, and through work that leads to mitigation and prevention of preterm birth—through therapeutics, diagnostics, and/or policy changes.

We know that pregnancy is complex. March of Dimes research approach takes a whole-system view and brings the best talent and minds to bear, so we can make a difference in our lifetime. 

Recent examples

  • How we're making a difference: March of Dimes research programs have made discoveries that lead to direct impact on the health of moms, babies, and families.
  • PRC microbiome studies leading to bedside testing; rapid, low-cost predictive testing.
  • Early detection of preeclampsia and other adverse pregnancy outcomes through several approaches, including cell-free RNA, data analytics, and other diagnostic markers.
  • Understanding maternal-infant nutrition, to wit, NEC, and how breastfeeding can improve outcomes.

Your support helps us fund research

There are several ways to support research at March of Dimes. Your time—through volunteering at events, raising awareness in your community, and recruiting new and impactful researchers to our network; your attention—by focused attention on how research can impact your community, your country, and the global family; and your resources—by way of funding, access to your network, and getting involved in research directly.

We need your help to continue developing diagnostics, therapeutics, and understanding of the complex factors that lead to preterm birth, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and overall adverse outcomes in pregnancy. Moms, Babies, and families can’t wait for you to step up and get involved.

Join our amazing volunteer community and make a difference in maternal and infant health across the country.

Advocate for healthy moms and strong babies with March of Dimes. Join our network and make a difference in maternal and infant health.

Help save moms and babies nationwide with your donation. Support lifesaving research and advocacy at March of Dimes.