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The Catalyst Award is now accepting applications through September 1, 2023.

Apply here

The Undergraduate Catalyst Award has been established through the generosity of a group of Johns Hopkins alumni (Team Polair) to provide early-stage funding for undergraduate projects involving the betterment of human health – whether focusing on mental health and wellbeing, community health, alleviating disease, or more. These projects should be in service to others, especially in the communities Hopkins call home.

Program Details:

Award type: individual or team award

Award amount: Applicants (individual or team) may request from $100 to $1000 in award (in $100 increments only)

Number awarded annually: a minimum of 5 awards (not more than $5000 total per year)

Opens for applications: June 1              Apply here

Deadline to apply: September 1 (11:59 pm)

Award announced: on or about October 15

Length of award: 1 year from award date

Be sure to consider the Catalyst Review Rubric  when putting your proposal together.

HOUR staff is happy to review your documents prior to uploading into the system. 

Schedule Your Meeting

Send Your Latest Draft at Least 24 Business Hours before Your Scheduled Review Session!

  • Send your latest draft to, and indicate in your email which future Office Hours you plan to attend, or what date/time (and who) you scheduled for a one-to-one appointment to receive feedback.
  • NOTE:  Your email with draft AND your feedback date/time must be received at least 1 business day prior to your meeting.

Questions? Please review the FAQs below and contact us at with other questions.

Who is eligible to apply?

All registered Hopkins undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, the Peabody Institute, and the Whiting School of Engineering (freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors that are NOT graduating prior to December of the academic year of the award) in good academic standing (i.e. not on academic probation, suspension, or leave for any reason) are eligible. Applications may be by individuals or teams of undergraduates.

HOUR especially encourages applications from students from underserved backgrounds (e.g. first-generation students, low-income backgrounds), students who are underrepresented in their field of study, and/or those who may not have previously had an opportunity.

What kind of projects are accepted?

Individual or team undergraduate projects in early-stage development that need funding to create a prototype or pilot program to assist in their viability/ competitiveness for larger competitions/ award programs, patent application or other considerations. All projects should involve the betterment of human health – whether focusing on mental health and wellbeing, community health, alleviating disease, or more – in service to others, especially in the communities Hopkins call home.

This funding is NOT intended for curricular class assignments like CBID, senior capstone, honors projects, or other regular course projects (independent research for credit is the exception).

Does the project have to be related to my/ our majors or minors?

No, we strongly encourage interdisciplinary teams to apply. We are happy to consider projects directly related to your major/ minor or passion projects based on your other interests as long as they meet the spirit of the program.

Do I need to have a mentor?

A mentor is NOT required. If you do not have a mentor and would like assistance identifying one, HOUR staff is happy to work with you.

What is required to apply?

  • Basic information for the online application
  • Project proposal, clearly articulating the project design, health impact, timeline, and goals/ next steps
  • Basic budget outlining use of award funding (in $100 increments but not more than $1000 total request)

Can I apply to and or receive HOUR opportunities more than once?

Yes, you are encouraged to continue to apply to our programs throughout your undergraduate career at Hopkins. Projects evolve, interests change and HOUR wants to encourage your exploration. In the case of “tied” review scores in an individual program cycle, preference will be given to students that have not previously received funding through HOUR programs.

Is there a formal presentation due at the end of the project?

Yes, all HOUR program recipients are expected to present their project at a DREAMS (occurring in the Fall and Spring semesters) or other HOUR approved presentation event. Projects can be presented in many formats. See the DREAMS page for examples. This presentation should occur within one academic year after the award period is complete. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis after the recipient contacts the HOUR office about a conflict.

How is funding distributed?

The sole applicant or identified project lead will be awarded the funding as a fellowship payment to be used as outlined in the provided budget for the project.

What can the funding be used for?

The Catalyst Award is intended to assist in covering related expenses to move the awarded proposal from concept to prototype or pilot program. A general budget of anticipated expenses is required at time of application.

How much funding can we request and will the amount impact our chances of being awarded?

Students or student teams may apply for amounts up to $1000, in increments of $100 (i.e. $100, $200, $300, etc.). No requests for amounts above $1000 will be considered. All submissions will receive equal consideration regardless of the amount requested. Applying for a lower amount does NOT give you/ your team a better chance.

What are the tax implications of this award?

Fellowship payments are subject to all applicable payroll taxes. Questions and concerns should be directed to the University Tax Office at

How are submissions reviewed?

A team of ILLD (Integrative Learning and Life Design) Staff will review all submissions utilizing the Catalyst Review Rubric. In the case of tied results, final decisions will be made by the Director of HOUR and the Vice Provost for Integrative Learning and Life Design.

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