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Program Snapshot

Part of the Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the NIH Director's Early Independence Award supports exceptional early career scientists with the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently by bypassing the traditional post-doctoral training period.


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Off-Switch Discovered for CRISPR-Cas9 Gene-Editing

Gene-editingJoseph Bondy-Denomy, a 2015 Early Independence awardee, discovered a way to turn off CRISPR-Cas9 using newly identified “anti-CRISPR” proteins that can improve gene-editing accuracy or prevent gene-editing from happening.

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Celebrity Endorsement of Unhealthy Food and Drinks

Marie Bragg, a 2015 Early Independence awardee, found music celebrities popular among adolescents tend to endorse unhealthy food and beverages. With the rise of obesity, celebrity endorsement of unhealthy foods can send the wrong message to youth.

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The Office of the Director in partnership with

Application Information

Hand filling out form •  Complete terminal doctoral degree or clinical residency between June 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018
•  In non-independent position at time of application
•  Requires proposal & interview
•  Requires 3-5 Letters of Reference
•  Need support & commitment of host institution
•  Awards up to $250K per year for 5 years
•  More information
Application Status
FY 2018 RFA-RM-17-008
Due: September 22, 2017
FY 2017 RFA-RM-16-006
Under Review



New funding opportunity (RFA-RM-17-008) available for 2018 NIH Director's Early Independence Award! The eligibility window has been expanded: Applicant's terminal doctoral degree or clinical residency must be completed between June 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018. Applications are due by September 22, 2017.

Daniel Giovenco (2016) Addresses the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Health Effects of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

Terence Gade

Terence Gade Awarded the Gary J. Becker Young Investigator Award


Congratulations to Terence Gade, a 2015 awardee, for being awarded the Gary J. Becker Young Investigator Award from the Society for Interventional Radiology. The award recognizes promising young practitioners to encourage the pursuit of academic careers.

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