We Care Fund 2023 Faculty Seed Grants - the 2023 call has closed

WeCare logo

The We Care Fund for Medical Innovation and Research Committee is requesting applications for seed funding by faculty with a primary or secondary appointment in the Department of Surgery. Grants may be awarded in two categories:

  • $50,000 Matthew J. Riese, MD, PhD Promising Pilot Grant, distributed over 1 year
    Dr. Riese was a native of Wisconsin and a graduate of the Medical Scientist Training Program of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Following training in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Hematology-Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, he returned to his alma mater where he established a cutting-edge translational program in solid tumor immunotherapy. Beloved by his colleagues for his wit and sagacity, this We Care Grant honors the memory of Dr. Riese, his legacy of scientific achievement and his love of medicine.

  • $100,000 Multi-PI Grant, distributed over 2 years
Key Dates
  • Request for Applications (RFA) Release Date: Thursday, January 19, 2023
  • Full Application Due: Friday, March 31, 2023, by 5 p.m. CST
  • Recommended for Funding Notifications: No Later Than – Monday, July 24, 2023
  • Anticipated Start Date: Friday, September 1, 2023
The mission of the We Care Fund is to use contributions made available by the philanthropic community to support Department of Surgery faculty who are creating innovative therapies and clinical programs that benefit patients in Wisconsin and throughout the world. Proposals should demonstrate the importance of innovation and discovery to advance science and the clinical care of patients. Any level of science is eligible for funding; preference will be given to those proposals that effectively articulate a translational theme even if the bedside application may be in the future. Proposals may include innovative basic science or clinical research projects. Potential for extramural funding will be a consideration for these applications as the goal of We Care is to stimulate preliminary data for a larger NIH (or equivalent) proposal.
Key Eligibility Requirements
  • A faculty member of any rank with either a primary or secondary appointment in the Department of Surgery must be the Contact Principal Investigator (PI). The Contact PI will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the scientific, safety, and ethical responsibilities of the grant award. The Contact PI will have the additional expectation of managing the award through the eBridge system. They will be responsible for all grant reporting and fiscal management.
  • Each application may list a maximum of one additional Principal Investigator (Multiple PI or MPI) and two Co-Investigators (Co-I) from any department or center at MCW.
  • MPIs must hold a faculty appointment.
  • Co-Is can be faculty, postdocs, fellows, or project-appropriate professionals.
  • A faculty member may participate as PI or MPI on only one proposal per grant cycle.
  • Consultants or other significant contributors are allowed in addition to the key personnel.
  • We Care Fund PIs and MPIs who have an active award at time of application due date (including no cost extension) are not eligible to be a Contact PI or MPI on a proposal. Former We Care Fund Grantees whose awards have ended and remain in good standing are eligible.
  • $100,000 Multi-PI grant requirement:
    • To promote interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative partnerships, it is required that the project be program-based and involve at least two Divisions in the Department of Surgery or one Division in Surgery plus one other Department or Center at MCW.
    • It is required that the application be an MPI proposal, and the additional principal investigator must be from another Division, Department, or Center than the Contact PI. A Multi-PI Leadership Plan is required (see #7 under application).
    • Research teams should be new or enhanced collaborations with the intent to pursue new research directions or integrate new research perspectives. Types of collaborations can be:
      • Translational collaborations of 2 or more investigators from different stages of the translational T0-T5 spectrum
      • Interdisciplinary collaborations integrating unique expertise in order to generate knowledge, models and/or approaches that would not likely occur otherwise
      • Junior/established investigator collaborations to expand the capacity of junior investigators and leverage expertise/resources of established investigators
  • $50,000 Promising Pilot grant requirement:
    • This should be a novel proposal. It should not be an extension of prior work or utilized as supplemental funding for an ongoing project.
  • Reapplications are allowed. Prior We Care faculty seed grant applicants may incorporate reviewer feedback into their proposal and resubmit.

Download application documents:

01 Request for Application (RFA) (PDF)

02 Cover Page Form (PDF)

03 Biosketch Template (DOCX)

04 Cost Sharing Form (PDF)

Post-Award Considerations (PLEASE READ PRIOR TO APPLYING)
  • If awarded, any necessary regulatory approvals for use of human subjects, human material, animals, radioisotopes, carcinogens, toxic chemicals, pathogens or recombinant DNA must be in place within 6 months of award selection notification (by January 30, 2024) or it will result in forfeiture of the award.
  • The Department of Surgery and the We Care Fund require that award recipients submit a research proposal to a national peer-reviewed funding source within 18 months of the project end date.
  • Award recipients must acknowledge the We Care Fund in any publications, scientific abstracts (where permitted), posters at scientific meetings, press releases or other media communications, and internet-based communications.
  • A progress report, including a summary of progress and financial reconciliation, will be due on August 1, 2024 for the 1-year $50,000 pilot grant.
  • An annual progress report, including a summary of progress and financial reconciliation, will be due on August 1, 2024, and a final report due August 1, 2025 for the $100,000 collaborative grant.
  • Up to 12 months of no-cost extension is allowed pending request approval, due at time of the final report submission. If extension is granted, this report will be considered a progress report and a final report will be due at the determined end date.
  • Failure to comply with requirements will make PI ineligible for further We Care support.
  • Awardees will be requested to sign a post-award contract agreeing to the terms of the award.



Krissa Packard

Research Program Director

Division of Research

Department of Surgery

(414) 955-1861

To learn more about the We Care Fund for Medical Innovation and Research, please visit the We Care Fund website.