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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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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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Hospitals and Opioid Prescriptions

Anupam Jena, a 2013 Early Independence awardee, found new opioid use following hospitalization is common with 42.5 percent of patients filling additional prescriptions within 90 days. With the rise in drug overdoses, improvement in opioid prescription practices is urgently needed.

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The Office of the Director in partnership with

Application Information

Hand filling out form •  Within 12 months of terminal research degree
•  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 Announcement: Spring
Due Date: Fall
FY 2017 RFA-RM-16-006
Under Review



Interrogating a Master of Disguise


Monica Mugnier, a 2016 awardee, is featured in the NIH Director's Blog for her work on Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness across sub-Saharan Africa and spread by blood-sucking tsetse flies. Mugnier studies how the parasite evades the human immune system by disguising itself in changing sets of glycoproteins, a dense coat of molecules that surround the parasite and the target of antibodies.


Program Booklet  •  Abstract Book  •  Photos  •  Videocasts for Day 1Day 2, and Day 3

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