Research Grant Awards: 2020 COVID-19 Fund


March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every family can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy, we support every pregnant person and every family.

For more than 80 years, March of Dimes has empowered families with programs, information and tools to have healthy pregnancies. Today we’re building on that legacy to level the playing field for all moms and babies, no matter their age, socio-economic background or demographics. We support moms throughout their pregnancy, even when things do not go according to plan. We advocate for policies that prioritize the health of moms and babies and pioneer research to find solutions to the biggest health threats they face.

Currently, these health threats include the COVID-19 viral pandemic where pregnant women and babies are at risk of infection and subsequent complications. The March of Dimes COVID-19 Fund was created to support the urgent need for COVID-19 specific research in maternal-child health, to help women preparing for childbirth, the families caring for a newborn, and healthcare providers during this time.

Through this effort, we are proud to announce research grant awards to the following teams: 

  • Dr. Andrea Edlow, Assistant Professor and Investigator, Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital: Through a multi-hospital COVID-19 pregnancy consortium, the team will examine the effects of COVID-19 on transferring protective antibodies between mom and baby through the placenta and breastmilk. The clinical data will provide important insight to inform strategies for breastfeeding during the pandemic, and COVID-19 therapeutic and vaccine development for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Drs. Rebecca Simmons, the Hallam Hurt Professor of Neonatology and a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and a Neonatologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Samuel Parry, Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania: By studying pregnant women with COVID-19, researchers will examine the effects of the virus on the placenta. Specifically, they will examine how extracellular vesicles derived from the placenta and maternal immune-cells may alter this important organ and potentially cause placental dysfunction. In addition, they will analyze if changes to the placenta in COVID-19 cases correlate with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, stillbirth, fetal growth restriction and hypertensive disorders. 


The grant application period has closed. 

We requested applications that propose research in one of the following priority areas:

  • Clinical characteristics: Includes studies that examine clinical and socio-demographic predictors of perinatal health outcomes and treatments associated with COVID-19 for the mom-baby dyad. Predictability may include, the role of the placenta in pregnancy outcomes in women who are infected and/or use of a ventilator in treating COVID-19.
  • Maternal Immunity and Neonatal Health: Includes studies examining the role of antibody testing in birth planning and postpartum care, sustainability of antibodies/immunity in mom-baby dyad, the viability of passive immunity through breastmilk, and mom-to-baby contact.

March of Dimes sought proposals that involve translational and actionable science that will lead directly to improved diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately prevention for mothers and infants in a pandemic climate.

We invited health professionals, health researchers, epidemiologists, and social scientists with doctoral or terminal academic degrees with a faculty appointment or equivalent at academic universities, hospitals and research institutions; small businesses or startup companies in biotech and/or pharmaceuticals, committed to research in the area of maternal and child health to apply. 

Prospective: Proposals should extend to 12 months, with a budget range of $100,000 – 125,000. 

Retrospective: Proposals should range from 3-6 months, with a budget range of $100,000 – 125,000. 


July 29, 2020…..……..……….Submission Window Opens
September 4, 2020.………...Full Application Due
October 7, 2020………………Notification of Award


Proposal should include the following information in this order (templates available, download the below templates as a zip file): Application guidelines (PDF, 84KB)

  1. Cover Page 
  2. Abstract
  3. COVID-19 Research Plan Template
  4. Certification for Human Subjects
  5. Research Plan & Citations
  6. Budget Excel Template
  7. Certifications for Animal and/or Human Use
  8. Professional Personnel
  9. Budget & Justification
  10. Current & Pending financial support: list each current grant or contract for the conduct of this research. If there is no current support, state “NONE”
  11. Candidate’s biographical sketch
  12. Facilities available 
  13. Payee Information


Please direct any questions to Rachel Hauser, Research Grants Administrator, [email protected]