Partners in Research

Partners in Research

Partners in Research provides a way for individuals to join forces with more than 400 scientists working at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) to improve the health and well-being of all people through disease-focused research. It was created in response to the enthusiastic desire of community participants to support the research discussed by Georgetown faculty at our Doctors Speak Out events.

Partners in Research pools donations of varying sizes and provides grants of $30,000 to the pilot research projects chosen by the Partners. In addition, Partners can fund an individual project that interests them personally. Recent projects include research in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, autism, pancreatic cancer, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain, to name just a few. Under the direction of Dean for Research Robert Clarke, PhD, DSc, biomedical researchers at GUMC perform basic and clinical research in 20 centers, institutes, and core facilities. They collaborate with clinicians at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and other hospitals owned by MedStar Health, the medical center’s clinical partner.

Georgetown researchers have been responsible for numerous groundbreaking discoveries including:

  • invention of the CAT scan
  • development of the first artificial heart valve
  • the country’s first clinical trial using gene therapy to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease
  • codevelopment of Gardasil (the first vaccine for cervical cancer)
  • creation of Allegra (the popular antihistamine drug)

In the 2016–2017 funding year, our Partners raised almost $240,000 and funded eight projects—with a total of over $800,000 contributed and 22 projects funded since the program began five years ago!

Why is private funding so important?

With a shortage of federal funding, the environment for biomedical researchers is extremely competitive. Promising discoveries that could improve or save lives go unexplored unless private organizations and individual donors take the lead.

Funding from private donations is critical to supporting medical research at Georgetown, particularly in two areas:

  • Seed funds to support new projects to the point at which they qualify for submission to a major funding agency.
  • Bridge funds to ensure that scientists can continue pursuing current research projects and pilot studies between other grants.

By pooling donations contributed through the Partners in Research program, individuals can support the early stage research of GUMC scientists and follow their progress throughout the academic year.

How does Partners in Research work?

Partners in Research grants are awarded annually using the total collected donations for each funding year. All donors from Partner Level to Leadership Level have an equal say in who receives funding. Biomedical researchers at Georgetown submit request for funding proposals to the Dean for Research, a committee of peer researchers prioritizes the requests according to National Institutes of Health guidelines, and the top five are presented to our Partners for their consideration at an annual selection meeting. At the end of the meeting, each Partner prioritizes their choices, the results are tabulated, and the grantees for that year are announced. In addition to determining which projects are funded, Partners receive a written update on the progress of the funded projects, an invitation to attend the showcase meeting at which final research findings are presented, and other benefits as outlined in Levels of Giving.

How can I become a Partner in Research?

Exciting discoveries are always in the works at Georgetown. It’s easy to become a part of the innovative research explored by our faculty scientists!

Learn more about supporting biomedical research at Georgetown by exploring our ways to contribute funding and downloading our brochure about Partners in Research.


If you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact a member of our staff.

Click here to get in touch about supporting biomedical research at Georgetown.

Paula Frishman
Assistant Vice President for Advancement

Rosemarie Treanor Martini
Associate Director of Development

Maja Breznik
Senior Development Associate

202-687-8463
PartnersinResearch@georgetown.edu