Curci Foundation gifts $1.75M for PhD students in life sciences


The University of Utah is proud to announce a major gift from Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation. The Curci Foundation Ph.D. Scholarship will fund two years of graduate school for students pursuing PhDs in life sciences, prioritizing two groups who have historically been overlooked for financial support: women and international students. On February 2, 2022, Heidi Woodbury, Vice President for University Advancement, signed a gift agreement with the foundation to establish a pilot program for an initial three-year period. If all goes well, the foundation’s leaders are optimistic that the U Curci scholarship program will continue and expand to additional fellowship opportunities.

“We are delighted to welcome the Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation to the University of Utah family. This gift demonstrates the foundation’s confidence in our faculty’s ability to train and prepare the next generation of scientists while supporting the U’s goals of providing equitable access to quality educational opportunities and diversifying the field of life science.”

The Curci foundation will give approximately $1.75 million to fund two cohorts of six incoming life science graduate students for two years each. The first cohort will be funded for August 2022 and August 2023, and the second cohort will be funded for August 2023 and August 2024. The scholarships will include full tuition, stipend, and benefits for the fellows. The selection of the Fall 2022 cohort of Curci Scholarships is now underway, and the awardees will be announced in the following weeks.

The U is one of six of elite universities chosen to host the PhD scholarship from the Curci Foundation, an organization that, according to their website, “supports science-based research striving for the advancement of a healthy and sustainable future for humans.” The other Curci Foundation institutions include UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, University of Washington, and the University of Colorado-Boulder.

“Our partnership with the Curci Foundation significantly expands opportunities for women and international student to achieve a doctoral degree in life sciences at a top-tier research institution,” said Dave Kieda, dean of the Graduate School. “Our graduate research programs span a wide range of disciplines across the School of Medicine and the Colleges of the Science, Pharmacy and Engineering. Our graduates are consistently ranked among the best programs in the world, and the Curci Scholarship will raise the diversity and international prominence of these programs.”