30 December 2010 11:09
The new NIH Director’s Early Independence Award (EIA) program is designed to help exceptional junior investigators leapfrog over traditional post-doctoral training and move into independent academic positions at U.S. institutions, directly upon completion of their graduate research degrees.
The NIH expects to issue up to 10 awards in fall 2011. To apply for these awards, outstanding junior investigators must identify a host institution. Alternatively, institutions may actively recruit exceptional junior scientists to apply for these positions. These awards will be very selective, and each institution may only submit up to two applications. EIA recipients will receive up to $250,000 in direct costs per year for up to five years for research that complements and enhances an institution's research program.
The Funding Opportunity Announcement may be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-019.html
The deadline for submitting Early Independence Award applications is January 21, 2011. Letters of intent are due December 21, 2010..
30 December 2010 11:07
Q: Hi, I would like to compete for the DP5 award, as I will defend my PhD thesis by March 2011. My question is in reference to the "highly productive" description of a good candidate for this award. I currently have only 2 publications, neither of those as first author, and am submitting 3 manuscripts as I complete my dissertation. It is unfortunate that the productivity and "success" of doctoral students are largely determined by the support of their research mentor(s), and may not truly reflect the actual capabilities of the students, themselves. It seems the very spirit of this particular award recognizes innovation and ambition in a new researcher can be hampered by the inability of that researcher to make important decisions regarding the research. If an ambitious candidate with a relatively weak publication history can demonstrate strong institutional support and present a creative and feasible research proposal, how badly will this candidate suffer competitive disadvantage due to paucity of publications accumulated as a student?
A strong candidate is one who has outstanding capacity and drive to pursue independent research. The reviewers will appreciate that not all outstanding candidates will have had the opportunity to amass a stellar publication record and that a stellar publication record, in itself, does not necessarily indicate that candidate has the necessary qualities to be an independent researcher. Therefore, the reviewers will also use other information, such as the content of the reference letters, to assess the qualities of the candidate.
7 December 2010 17:06
Q: Hi, I have been chosen by my host institution as a candidate to compete for DP5 award. I have a question regarding the proposal. Is the requirement for preliminary data in the proposal similar to that for other NIH proposals, like R01/R21? I am considering to explore a new subject if I am awarded, so I can only provide minimal preliminary data in the proposal...Will this be a disadvantage?
The expectations for preliminary data are less than that for traditional R01 applications. The reviewers will understand that the candidates have recently completed or will soon complete their doctoral degree/clinical residency and so will not have had the opportunity to amass large amounts of supporting data. Particular emphasis in review of applications will be given to the strengths and potential of the candidate, as well as the strengths (available instrumentation, research infrastructure, existing scientific expertise, etc.) and commitment of the host institution to the candidate. By the way, though the expectations for preliminary results in a conventional R01 may seem high, they are not quite at the level of having half of the proposed research ready for publication.
19 November 2010 17:11
Q: Could you describe the differences between the early independence award and the K-award and how the goals of the two programs differ
A: The Early Independence Award (DP5) program has a very specific objective, which is to identify and support those exceptional individuals who would benefit by having an independent research position directly after completion of the terminal doctorate or clinical residency. It is not directed towards the large majority of young researchers who would be better served by doing a post-doctoral or clinical fellowship.
The K-Awards are career development awards that serve a variety of purposes ranging from support of junior scientists during the transition to an independent position to support of senior scientists who wish to have “protected” time to mentor junior scientists. The different NIH institutes may also use the same K -Award for different specific objectives. To find which one may be most appropriate for you, consult the K-Award kiosk at http://grants.nih.gov/training/careerdevelopmentawards.htm and the Career Award Wizard at http://grants.nih.gov/training/kwizard/index.htm. Many of the K-Awards for junior scientists require a particular mentor to be specified, seek individuals with particular backgrounds, and expect post-doctoral training.
9 November 2010 17:14
Q: We are in the medical school affiliated with a large university. Will we be allowed to submit two applications from the medical school, or will our entire university organization be allowed to submit only two applications?
A: Each component of an institution having a distinct DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number will be able to submit two applications. The DUNS number provides a unique identifier of business entities and is used by NIH to distinguish independent applicant organizations. Your medical school has a distinct DUNS number and so will be able to submit applications independently of your other university entities.
8 November 2010 20:36
Q: Do you have any recommendations how/where I should look for potential hosting institutions?
A: Each institution can submit only up to two applications. Therefore, many institutions probably will have internal competitions to determine which two applications to send forward. Several institutions have posted their internal competition process online and these may be found through internet searches. In addition, you may wish to contact institutions where you feel your own research would complement and enhance existing research strengths. Appropriate initial points of contact about research area suitability would be deans of research (or equivalents) or department chairs. A reasonable initial point of inquiry about any internal competition would be the institution’s office of sponsored research (or equivalent).
8 November 2010 20:35
Q: Are there any special budgetary provisions, such as minimum or maximum P.I. effort to be supported by the award?
A: There are no special budgetary provisions.
8 November 2010 20:33
Q: May a P.I. have collaborations with other institutions during the award period? Should those be defined during the application process?
A: Yes, the P.I. may have collaborations with other institutions during the award period. It may be good to indicate such collaborations in the application to address anticipated concerns about expertise. However, it should be clear in the application that the candidate is the intellectual driving force for the project.
8 November 2010 20:31
Q: I am interested in applying for the Early Independence Award (DP5), since I obtained my Ph.D. six months ago. Before applying, I would be interested in obtaining some more information about the award. Although the application is submitted via the eligible institution where the P.I. will initially establish his/her lab, can the award be transferred to another institution if the P.I. relocates (i.e., due to career reasons, tenure-track position)?
A: The Early Independence Award places an unusual emphasis on the interactions between the investigator and the host institution. Moreover, as with all NIH grants, the actual grantee is the institution and not the investigator. Therefore, though it is possible in principle to change institutions, the original institution must be willing to relinquish the award to the new institution and the new institution must provide satisfactory documentation to NIH staff that it will provide the necessary supportive environment to the investigator.
8 November 2010 20:29
Q: I am wondering if I would be eligible to apply for this award if I am within 12 months of fellowship completion (2 years of training after medical residency), or is the award strictly for those who are within 12 months of residency?
A: For this program, only residency is being considered for eligibility. Therefore, unfortunately, you would not be eligible since you completed your residence more than 12 months prior to application submission. You may wish to consider other funding opportunities, such as the NIH K-Awards (http://grants.nih.gov/training/careerdevelopmentawards.htm).