FasterCures LeadersLink Program

FasterCures LeadersLink Program

Meet the 2020-21 LeadersLink Participants! 

FasterCures is excited to announce the 2020-21 LeadersLink participant cohort! From an exceptionally well-qualified pool of candidates, FasterCures selected five applicants to be the first LeadersLink participants. Collectively, this group represents a variety of small- to medium-sized patient organizations, located in the US and UK, addressing both rare and common diseases. Learn more about the selected participants.

What is the FasterCures LeadersLink Program? 

The FasterCures LeadersLink Program is a new capacity-building program to support the personal development of an emerging cadre of leaders of nonprofit organizations that fund or conduct biomedical research. LeadersLink focuses on building participants’ leadership skills and professional network and addressing their top priorities through a capstone project, mentorship, a series of in-person convenings, and virtual collaboration.  

What Are the Goals of the Program? 

The program aims to help promising nonprofit research leaders from around the world build high-performing organizations and facilitate the growth of their peer support network. Participants set and address goals as part of their capstone project that are tailored specifically to their organizational and individual professional priorities. Each program cohort will have a different theme that participants will focus on as part of their capstone project goals. This year’s theme is venture philanthropy investing. Through the course of the two-year program (April 2020-December 2021), participants will develop knowledge and connections that can aid them in bringing about positive changes within their organizations and throughout the biomedical ecosystem. 

Who Can Participate? 

LeadersLink is primarily geared towards chief executives of nonprofit organizations that fund or conduct medical research, who are still relatively new to their role or their organization (within three years). Applicants are assessed on their vision for their personal leadership growth and their organization’s advancement, the relevance of their proposed capstone project to the theme established for each cohort, and anticipated overall benefit from participation in the program.  

Why Participate? 

Program participants benefit by: 
Acquiring knowledge and relationships to complete an individualized capstone project that addresses their critical needs as an executive leader. 

Becoming part of a community of peers at other nonprofit research organizations, mentors and experts, and a broad network of professionals across the entire biomedical ecosystem. This includes pharmaceutical developers, policymakers, regulators, payers, patient organizations, nonprofit organizations, providers, and researchers 

Gaining access to Milken Institute events which attract the nation’s top thought leaders and address the most critical issues facing our world.  

Program Elements and Requirements 

As part of the program, participants must commit to the following: 
Capstone Project: Complete a capstone project that is central to the applicant’s organizational and individual needs and relevant to others in the biomedical research system. Applicants should set objectives that can be accomplished within 12-20 months (by December 2021). Participants will be expected to present their capstone projects at several points during the program duration, including an introductory, interim, and final presentation. FasterCures will set a theme for the capstone projects of each LeadersLink cohort to create some cohesion and synergies among the group; the theme for the 2020-21 cohort is “venture philanthropy investing.” 
While there are a variety of definitions of venture philanthropy, for purposes of this program and application we are defining it narrowly as nonprofit, philanthropic capital directed at for-profit, usually start-up/early-stage companies/ventures that aim to further develop and commercialize promising scientific discoveries into products for patients. This could take the form of philanthropic grants, debt, equity, or hybrid financial instruments and usually comes with some expectation of financial return on investment by the foundation. Read more here

In-Person Convenings:  Attend the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles and a new Partnering for Patients Forum, organized around LeadersLink participants and held in conjunction with the Milken Institute’s Future of Health Summit in Washington, DC.  

Quarterly Mentor Engagement Meetings: Connect with mentors at least once per quarter in-person or virtually to provide updates on capstone progress and to seek and exchange advice and ideas. Note: Over the duration of the cohort, funding will be available to support travel, if necessary, for up to two of the quarterly meet-ups to occur in-person based on mutual availability and interest.   

Access to Subject-Matter Experts:  FasterCures will also provide connections to individuals with expertise in relevant skills who have agreed to provide ad hoc advice and assistance with participants’ capstone projects. 

Optional Recommended Activities: Participants will be invited to additional events to enrich their program experience including TRAIN workshops or webinars, relevant trainings/conferences, or other FasterCures project activities, sessions, workshops, or convenings.  

Program Expenses: There is no fee to participate in LeadersLink and travel costs to the two required in-person convenings will be supported. Additional costs for optional recommended activities may or may not be covered based on the availability of funding. All expenses will need to be approved by FasterCures prior to any travel arrangements being made.  

How to Apply? 

The application for the 2020 LeadersLink participant cohort is now closed. FasterCures hopes to continue the program in future years. It is expected that a call for new applicants will go out towards the end of 2020. Sign up for the FasterCures SmartBrief Newsletter or follow FasterCures on LinkedIn to receive future program announcements.      

Become a Mentor or Provide Expertise 

Are you interested in serving as a mentor to a LeadersLink participant? Do you have experience or expertise related to venture philanthropy investing? If so, we welcome your participation. Please contact us at to sign up and learn more about what’s involved.  

For More Information 

Please contact us at for more information.