NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (DP5)
Limited Submission Funding Opportunity
The NIH Director's Early Independence Award provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists to accelerate their entry into an independent research career by forgoing the traditional postdoctoral training period. Though most newly graduated doctoral-level researchers would benefit from postdoctoral training, a small number of outstanding junior investigators would benefit from skipping such training and launching essentially directly into an independent research career. For those select junior investigators who already have established a record of scientific innovation and research productivity and who have demonstrated unusual scientific vision and maturity, typical postdoctoral training would unnecessarily delay their entry into independent research. Also, importantly, the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award provides an opportunity for institutions to invigorate their research programs by bringing in the fresh scientific perspectives of the awardees that they host.
To be eligible, the investigator, at the time of application, must have received the most recent doctoral degree or completed clinical training within the previous fifteen months or expect to do so within the following twelve months. To be consistent with the updated NIH definition of Early Stage Investigators, eligible clinical training includes clinical residency and clinical fellowship. By the end of the award period, the Early Independence Award investigator is expected to be competitive for continued funding of his/her research program through other NIH funding activities and for a permanent research-oriented position.
Applicant institutions are always encouraged to consider talented researchers from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and women for participation in all NIH-funded research opportunities.
Prospective PDs/PIs should contact appropriate Institutional leaders to seek an appointment in an independent research position.
Awards will be for up to $250,000 in direct costs per year. The project period is limited to five years.
- The receipt date of the terminal doctoral degree or end of post-graduate clinical training of the PD/PI must be between June 1, 2017 and September 30, 2019. The degree receipt date is that which appears on the official transcript for the degree. The end of post-graduate clinical training includes residency and fellowship periods.
- At the time of application, the PD/PI must not have served as a postdoctoral fellow following a previous (not the most recent) doctoral degree for more than twelve months.
- At the time of award, either 1) the Early Independence investigator must have received terminal doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution or 2) an authorized official of the degree-granting or training institution must certify that all degree requirements have been met and that the receipt date of the degree (as will appear on the transcript) will be before September 30, 2019; in addition, an authorized official of the host institution must certify that the PD/PI will be eligible to conduct independent research at the institution at the time of the project start date.
- At the time of award, either 1) the Early Independence investigator must have received a terminal doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution or 2) an authorized official of the degree-granting institution must certify that all degree requirements have been met and that the date of degree receipt as appearing on the transcript will be before September 30, 2018.
- Individuals are eligible only if they, at the time of application submission, do not have research independence. Lack of research independence is defined functionally rather than by position title. Eligible individuals must have all the following characteristics:
- The PD/PI's current research agenda is set through concurrence with mentors.
- The PD/PI's research is funded primarily through support to other investigators (mentored fellowships such as NIH F31 or F32 Fellowships or NSF Graduate Research Fellowships do not preclude eligibility).
- The PD/PI does not have any space assigned directly by the institution for the conduct of his/her research.
- The PD/PI, according to institutional policy, cannot apply for an NIH R01 grant without special waiver or exemption from the institution.
- Though the PD/PI must not be functionally independent at the time of application submission, s/he may become functionally independent prior to time of award and still retain eligibility for the award.
- Only single PD/PI applications will be accepted.
- Individuals must commit at least 9.6 person-months each year (i.e., 80% effort of a 12-month appointment) during the first two years of the project period to research supported by the Early Independence Award. In the final three years of the project period, awardees may reduce effort toward the Early Independence Award project, but the total effort towards independent research in general must remain at least 9.6 person-months each year (i.e., 80% effort of a 12-month appointment).
LIMIT ON NUMBER OF PROPOSALS PER ORGANIZATION
Each institution, as defined by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number, may submit only up to two applications to this FOA.
- Internal Letter of Intent, including a Department Chair letter, Due: June 6, 2018 (by midnight)
- Sponsor Letter of Intent Due (Optional): August 27, 2018
- Sponsor Proposal Due: September 27, 2018
SUBMITTING A MANDATORY LETTER OF INTENT
Candidates interested in applying are required to submit a letter of intent (LOI) that includes a Department Chair letter by the deadline specified above. If interest exceeds the number of submissions the university is allowed, an internal competition will be held. Typically, all investigators that submit an LOI will be invited to submit an internal proposal. Occasionally, as appropriate, based on the LOI, only selected applicants will be invited to submit an internal proposal.
- Click here to access the letter of intent form.
- Obtain a signed Department Chair letter that is responsive to Section IV.2, as described in the full solicitation, that includes the following components:
- Position details
- Institutional resources commitment
- Institutional career development commitment.
- Compile the letter of intent and Department Chair letter as a single PDF file.
- Name the file as follows: “LastName-FirstInitial-NIH-DP5-2018”, replacing “LastName” with your last name and “First Initial” with your first initial.
- Submit your LOI by completing this web form. Note: Supplemental documents are not accepted.
- To receive a confirmation email and copy of your submission, check the box (“Send me a copy of my responses”) and enter your email address.
- Click “Submit”.