Since 2009, the Rita Allen Foundation has awarded annually the Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain, recognizing emerging leaders in basic pain research whose work holds high potential for uncovering new pathways to improve the treatment of chronic pain. Each year, the Foundation typically awards two grants, in the amount of $50,000 per year over three years, to early-career investigators who are pursuing innovative research on mechanisms that initiate and propagate pain in the nervous system.

Please see below for a list of recipients of the Award in Pain.

Eligible candidates will have completed their training and provided persuasive evidence of distinguished achievement or extraordinary promise in basic science research in pain. Candidates should be in the early stages of their career, with an appointment at the faculty level, yet prior to achieving tenure.

Research projects proposed as part of the Award in Pain application should be directed toward the molecular biology of pain and/or basic science topics related to the development of new analgesics for the management of pain due to terminal illness. The entire award is made available to projects specifically chosen by the recipient; university overhead is not supported.

Applications are reviewed by a selection committee that includes past Award in Pain recipients, as well as other leading pain researchers. The selection committee is unfortunately unable to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.


To be eligible for the Award in Pain, applicants:

  • Must have received committed start-up funds and independent laboratory space from their institution.
  • Should be in the first three years of their appointment.
  • Should be appointed to a tenure track or equivalent position at their respective institution, but not have received tenure at the time of the application. (Senior postdocs and Associate Professors should not be applicants for the Award in Pain.)
  • Must conduct their research and be appointed at an institution in the United States or Canada.

Applications will be open from April 26 – August 6, 2021. Completed applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on August 6, 2021.