Resources-at-Initiation Process

The HESI Resources-at-Initiation (RAI) process is a mechanism established in 2009 to respond to well-defined and time-sensitive projects. The RAI process includes requirements for dedicated funding up front by the proposal submitter(s), as well as tripartite engagement and relevance to the mission of HESI. The process is outlined below as a series of questions and answers.

RAI Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Who can apply?

    Anyone can submit a project proposal via the HESI RAI process. As long as the required criteria are met (see below), proposals will be considered from HESI sponsors, private sector organizations that are not currently HESI sponsors, government organizations, academia, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and other public sector organizations.

  • What is the timeframe and process for submission and approval of a proposal?

    The proposal form (click here) can be submitted to Cyndi Nobles, HESI Branch Administrator (, at any time.  Proposals are reviewed as they are received, and a response (positive or negative) is provided to the submitter within 4-6 weeks of submission. The review process will involve three stages according to defined criteria (see below).

    The first stage will be a review by senior HESI staff with an emphasis on the availability of staff resources. The second stage will be a review by the leadership of the HESI Emerging Issues Committee (EIC), who will evaluate the scientific merits of the proposal with an emphasis on objectives and relevance. At the discretion of the EIC leadership, additional scientific opinions may be sought from the membership of the EIC. The final stage will be a review by the Executive Committee of the HESI Board of Trustees, who will integrate staff and EIC recommendations into their decision.

  • What are the criteria for selection of proposals via the HESI RAI process?

    A qualifying proposal will meet the following criteria:

    • The project has clearly defined and achievable objectives that are consistent with HESI’s mission and operating principles.
    • The project addresses an issue of relevance to HESI stakeholders.
    • The project proposal has tripartite participation (or a commitment to have tripartite participation at the onset of the project). The tripartite participation must include current HESI sponsor companies.
    • The project proposal is supported by five or more organizations (the number of supporting organizations is flexible) and includes an initial commitment of at least $75,000 in funding. Funding may come from public or private sources or a combination thereof. If the support comes exclusively from public sources, then there must be a commitment from current HESI sponsor companies to provide ‘sweat equity’ to the project.
    • The proposal submitters identify a leadership team (i.e., Chair, Vice Chair, and/or Co-Chairs), which must include at least one representative from a current HESI sponsor company. If the proposal is approved, the committee will need to formally endorse the initially identified Chair, Vice Chair and/or Co-Chairs, or elect others to serve in these capacities, at its first meeting.
    • The proposal submitters indicate an understanding that industry representatives, in conjunction with qualified non-industry scientific advisors appointed by the committee, shall guide the activities of the proposed project if it is accepted as a committee. 
    • HESI staff resources are projected to be available to support (or manage) the project for the timeframe of the proposed activity.

    Note: These criteria are set out as a guideline. If a proposal diverges in whole or in part from these guidelines, the submitter is encouraged to contact HESI staff to discuss feasibility.

  • If my proposal is approved by HESI, will a new Committee be established within the HESI Scientific Portfolio and for how long?

    Upon approval of an RAI proposal, the activity will become a scientific committee within the HESI portfolio. As is the case with existing components of the HESI portfolio, non-sponsor companies will be allowed to participate on a new RAI activity for one year before they will be required to consider HESI sponsorship. The new committee will be subject to a review under the HESI Stewardship Program managed by the Board of Trustees Program Strategy and Stewardship Committee (PSSC). The committee will be reviewed by the PSSC approximately one year after its initiation. For more information about the HESI Stewardship Program, click here.

  • Do I need to have dedicated funding to propose a project via the HESI RAI process?

    Yes. Proposals submitted via the RAI process should, at the outset, include a commitment from multiple organizations and at least $75,000 in funding. If accepted, HESI will commit staff time to the execution of the project (concomitant with the project budget), but will not match or augment the project funds in any way. This approach is similar to the funding mechanism for existing HESI scientific committees.

Submit a proposal

Click the link below to download the RAI project proposal form. For questions about submitting a proposal, contact Jennifer Pierson at

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Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI)
Phone: +1-202-659-8404
Fax: +1-202-659-3859

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