The NIH Director's Early Independence Award, established in 2010, is part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program managed by the Common Fund. The award provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists to skip the traditional postdoc and start an independent research career at a supportive institution directly following the completion of their graduate degree or clinical training.
An independent evaluation is currently underway. When it is complete, it will be posted on our website.
Information for Institutions
Yes, independent laboratory space should be included if appropriate for the type of research to be conducted. During the review process, significant attention is paid to the amount of resources provided by the institution as an indication of the institution's level of commitment to the applicant. Overall, applications are reviewed based on the research proposal, the applicant, and the institutional commitment to the applicant.
Receipt date for terminal research degree or completion of clinical residency must occur between June 1, 2019 and September 30, 2021
Must receive a PhD, MD, DO, DC, DDS, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, DrPH, DNSc, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), PharmD, DSW, PsyD, or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution (it is the responsibility of the sponsoring institution to determine if a foreign doctoral degree is equivalent) by time of appointment to the grantee institution
Must be in a non-independent research position at the time of application submission
Must commit at least 9.6 person-months each year during the first 2 years to the award project, followed by 9.6 person-months each year towards independent research in general
Must not have served as a post-doctoral fellow for more than 12 months following a previous doctoral degree
Only if the faculty position is a non-independent research position as described in the funding opportunity announcement, and the candidate meets all other eligibility requirements.
Yes, the award may be transferred to another eligible institution according to the same policies and procedures as for traditional research grants. Please note, however, that awards may not be transferred to foreign institutions.
Application & Submission
Late applications will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.
All documents and instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed along with additional instructions listed in the funding opportunity, which supersede SF424 (R&R) Application Guide instructions. Note: All documents must be in PDF format and must comply with prescribed page limits. No additional documents should be uploaded to the application, and applications containing additional materials may not be reviewed.
You may request up to $250,000 per year in direct costs for up to 5 years. Applicable indirect (Facilities and Administrative (F&A)) costs will be determined at the time of award and will be in addition to the direct costs.
Yes, collaborators and consultants may be funded on the award either directly or by a subcontract. Collaborators do no need to meet eligibility criteria for the NIH Director's Early Independence Award. Collaborators and consultants may not be listed as Senior/Key Personnel nor may their Biographical Sketches be included. They may provide Letters of Support.
Applicants may track the status of reference letters submitted by referees by logging into his/her eRA Commons account.