costs and allowing a higher proportion of funds to be awarded to grantees; and
Provide funds with only a minimum of required reporting, thereby freeing recipients from the burdensome paperwork often associated with grants.
These three mechanisms for operating a grants program were successfully used by the Markey Trust and provide a model for other foundations. However, future funders of programs in the sciences should consider comprehensive program evaluation and prospective monitoring of outcomes as an integral part of the overall design of a project.
During the 15 years following its creation, the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust spent more than $500 million on three basic biomedical sciences grant programs that supported the education and research of predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, and senior researchers. In response to a request by the Markey Trustees, the committee is evaluating the Markey Trust’s grant programs in the biomedical sciences. This evaluation addresses two questions: (1) Were the Trust’s funds well spent? and (2) What can others learn from the programs of the Markey Trust both as an approach to funding biomedical research and as a model of philanthropy?
The Markey Trust made awards reflecting the three main stages of a biomedical research career: basic training, development of young faculty, and research by experienced scientists. These three categories became referred to as the following: (1) General Organizational Grants, (2) Markey Scholars and Visiting Fellows Awards, and (3) Research Program Grants. However, some grants do not fall neatly into one of these categories and for evaluation purposes were assigned to one or another of the programs.
The growth of a gap between biomedical research and its clinical application has been recognized. The Markey Trust funded awards to provide training in translational research to diminish this gap, including (1) programs that provided significant opportunities for M.D.s to engage in basic research during and immediately following medical school and residency, and (2) programs that provided significant clinical exposure for Ph.D.s while they were predoctoral or postdoctoral students. General Organizational Grant programs were funded for approximately five years and were not renewable.