NIH Director's Early Independence Award
Funding opportunities for outstanding early career scientists ready for independence
Part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the award supports outstanding junior scientists with the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently launch independent research careers and bypass the traditional postdoctoral training period.
- Must complete doctoral degree or clinical training between June 1, 2018 and September 30, 2020
- Must be in non-independent research position at time of application
- Single PI only
- Requires significant institutional support
- Preliminary data not required
- $250,000 direct costs per year for up to 5 years
- Minimum of 80% research effort in first 2 years
- 3-5 Letters of Reference required
The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award (DP5 mechanism), established in 2010, accelerates the entry of exceptional junior investigators (within 15 months after or 12 months before receiving their terminal research degree or completing postgraduate clinical training) into positions of independent research by omitting the traditional postdoctoral training period. The review places a strong emphasis on the qualities of the investigator and the environment provided by the host institution.
The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award is part of the Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, which was created to accelerate the pace of biomedical, behavioral and social science discoveries by supporting exceptionally creative scientists with highly innovative research. The program seeks to identify scientists with high-impact ideas that may be risky or at a stage too early to fare well in the traditional peer review process. The program encourages creative, outside-the-box thinkers to pursue exciting and innovative ideas in any area of biomedical, behavioral or social science research relevant to the NIH mission. The program houses three additional awards – the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award – and is managed by the Office of the Director in partnership with other component NIH Institutes and Centers.
Q&A Webinar Video
The live webinar was held on July 24, 2019. It featured short presentations from NIH program and review staff and answering submitted questions from the public. Due to technical issues, the webinar was re-recorded at a later date. The re-recording is posted below.
Award Informational Video (April 2019)
Learn more about eligibility requirements, application process, review process, and award requirements for the NIH Director's Early Independence Award in this 3-minute video.
This page last reviewed on July 30, 2019