FasterCures LeadersLink Program

FasterCures LeadersLink Program

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 will focus 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 will 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 will be 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 will be assessed on their vision for their personal leadership growth as well as 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 will 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 including pharmaceutical developers, policymakers, regulators, payers, patient organizations, non-profit 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 as well as 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 on 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 will be “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 (between May 2-6, 2020) 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 (between December 1-4, 2020). 

  • 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 (April 2020-December 2021), 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 coveninings wlll 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?

FasterCures is currently accepting applications for 2020 LeadersLink participants until February 14, 2020. For additional instructions and to access the application, click here. To download a PDF preview of the application, click here.

Please note: applications must be submitted electronically through Survey Monkey, but we advise you to download the PDF application, compose your responses offline, and copy/paste them into the online survey form to minimize the possibility of loss of data.    

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.