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 bypass the traditional postdoctoral training period to launch independent research careers.
- Must complete doctoral degree or clinical training between June 1, 2019 and September 30, 2021
- Must be in non-independent research position at time of application
- Single PI only
- 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
- Only 2 applications allowed per institution
The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award (DP5 mechanism), established in 2011, 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.
- Non-COVID-19-related research proposals should apply to funding opportunity announcement RFA-RM-20-014.
- COVID-19-related research proposals should apply to funding opportunity announcement RFA-RM-20-021.
- Applications for both RFAs must be submitted by September 4, 2020.
- Applications submitted to the two RFAs will be reviewed together at the same time using the same process.
- New Application & Award Guidance is available with more information on how to apply and sample applications.
Non-COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-014
COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-021
Q&A Webinar (June 29, 2020)
NIH program and review staff discussed the funding opportunity and answered questions from prospective applicants in a pre-application interactive Q&A webinar. The video and slides of the webinar are now available. An audio described version of the webinar is forthcoming and will be posted when available. If you need assistance before the audio described version is posted, please contact us at EarlyIndependence@od.nih.gov.
This page last reviewed on September 4, 2020