Early career research funding opportunities

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Department of Defense

Air Force Office of Scientific Research: Young Investigator Research Program (YIP)

YIP funding is available to scientists and engineers who have obtained a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the last five years and exhibit extraordinary abilities for doing basic research related to the Air Force’s mission. Funding announcements are typically released in April and applications are due in early June.

Army Research Lab (ARL): Young Investigator Program

The program objective is to attract, inspire, and support outstanding young university faculty members pursuing research areas related to the Army. See solicitation number W911NF-17-S-0002, open until March 31, 2022.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): Young Faculty Award

The program seeks is to identify and encourage rising junior faculty researchers while familiarizing them with the needs of the Department of Defense. Annual announcements are usually posted to grants.gov and fbo.gov between June and August.

Office of Naval Research: Young Investigator Program

Academic scientists and engineers with outstanding potential for conducting creative research who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment are encouraged to submit proposals. The deadline is in August or September.

Department of Justice

New Investigator/Early Career Program in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

The program supports non-tenured assistant professors doing applied research in areas significant to the NIJ in the social/behavioral and STEM sciences. The last solicitation was in 2017, and the application was due in March.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

OCS ORISE Fellowship

Faculty and postdoctoral students can take part in research relevant to the FDA’s mission.


Fellowship for Early Career Researchers

The Early Career Fellowship program assists advancement of the individual research programs of exceptional scientists and encourages research careers in Planetary Sciences Division supported areas. Enter "early career" into the Keywords field to find the most relevant opportunities.

National Institutes of Health

Early Research Career Development

The awards support early career researchers that have moved or will be moving to fully independent positions as investigators, faculty members, clinician scientists, or scientific team leaders and have an emphasis on becoming an expert in their research areas. Awards specifically for Early Career Investigators include the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2) and Early Independence Award (DP25).

K awards for research career development

The NIH K-series of career development awards invest in the next generation of scientists. The awards are available to postdocs and junior faculty, and some are available to senior level researchers who are new to a field of study.

NIH Pathway to Independence Award

The program objective is the development a robust group of new and bright NIH-supported investigators.

National Science Foundation

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)

The program is a Foundation-wide activity offering prestigious NSF awards to early-career faculty. Applications are due annually in mid-July.

Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII)

Objective is to promote research independence directly after receiving Ph.D. and securing the first academic position. The deadline is in August.

Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP)

The program funds genome-scale research focusing on questions of biological significance and of relevance to society. Career development is an important part of this initiative.

U.S. Department of Education

Institute of Education Sciences: Research Training Program in Special Education: Early Career Development and Mentoring

The program supports new investigators developing independent research during the first years at institutions of higher education. Applications are due August 23, 2018.

U.S. Department of Energy

Early Career Research Program

The program supports exceptional scientists in the development of their individual research during their early career and encourages research careers in DOE supported disciplines. Applications are typically due in April.


Alex’s Lemonade State Foundation: Early Career Research Programs

Objective is to attract, encourage, and guide promising investigators toward long-term careers in childhood cancer research. “A” Award applications are due in May and Young Investigator Grant applications are due in December.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: Sloan Research Fellowships

Fellowships recognize early-career scientists and scholars for their outstanding performance and promise of significant contributions to their field.

American Cancer Society: Research Scholar Grants

Grants support Independent investigators in the first six years of their cancer research career. Annual application deadlines are on April 1 and October 15.

American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund: Doctoral New Investigator (DNI) Grants

Program objective is to support research in the petroleum field and provide advanced scientific education to young scientists and engineers in their first three years of their first academic appointment. 2018 applications are due in October.

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS): Fellowships and Grants

ACLS provides support to doctoral and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and related social sciences.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Young Investigator Grants

Investigators at or below the assistant professor level are awarded grants that support studies that lead to a better understanding of suicide or test treatments and other lifesaving interventions.

American Heart Association: Scientist Development Grant

The program objective is to provide cardiovascular and stroke research support to exceptional beginning scientists conducting during their initial research training and their complete independence.

American Mathematical Society: Centennial Fellowships

The program provides funding to exceptional mathematicians to assist them in advancing their research careers. The application deadline is December 1, 2018.

American Political Science Association: Congressional Fellowship Program

The program is very selective, nonpartisan, and dedicated to increasing awareness of Congress through fellowship placements on congressional staffs. The application period opens each fall.

American Society for Mass Spectrometry: Research Awards

Awards support young scientists conducting academic research in mass spectrometry. The application deadline is November 30.

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation: Beckman Young Investigator Program

The program offers research support to highly talented young faculty members during their early academic careers in the chemical and life sciences. The Letter of Intent window is generally from May-August.

Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists: Limited Submission

The awards recognize highly talented faculty-rank researchers in Life Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. Submissions are limited and applicants must seek a letter of nomination from the Research & Innovation department in early fall – contact Ahmad Itani at itani@unr.edu.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: NARSAD Young Investigator Grant

The grant supports young scientists with the greatest potential doing neurobiological research. Applications are typically due in March.

Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation: Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program

The program provides funding to support young faculty in their chemical sciences research and teaching careers. The application deadline is February 7, 2019.

Children’s Tumor Foundation: Young Investigator Award (YIA)

The award helps young scientists early in their careers advance as independent investigators by providing two years of funding.

The Damon Runyon-Rachleff Cancer Research Foundation Innovation Award

The program objective is to fund creative thinkers with “high-risk/high-reward” ideas and outstanding innovative early career researchers that may be not be able to acquire traditional funding. Applications are due in July.

Esther A & Joseph Klingenstein Fund: Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship

The fellowship awards focus on the advancement of early career scientists’ “cutting-edge” investigations. Applications are due in February.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation: Knowledge Challenge for Entrepreneurs

Taking a new approach to finding innovative entrepreneurs, the Kauffman Foundation consolidated its fellowships and prizes into the Knowledge Challenge program in 2018. The goal of the challenge is to create insights that will shape entrepreneurship, programs, and policies. Monetary awards are available for individuals and teams. The Challenge begins with White Paper submission in May.

Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research: New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research

The program objective is to encourage talented and creative new faculty to commit to a long-term career doing research in food and agriculture and in particular the problems faced as the world’s population grows.

Foundation for Child Development: Young Scholars Program

The program supports research with an emphasis on early learning and development needs of children growing up in situations of economic insecurity and social exclusion. The next call for proposals is scheduled for Spring 2019.

Greenwall Foundation: Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics

This career development award allows junior faculty members to conduct innovative bioethics research.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Faculty Scholars Program

The program’s purpose is to identify and provide support to early career researchers at a time when completion for funding is intense. Awards are for five years of funding.

Human Frontier Science Program: Young Investigator

The grants are for teams who will be forming an independent laboratory.

International Life Sciences Institute: Future Leader Award

New investigators in the area of nutrition and food may apply for this award to supplement a current project or begin exploratory research.

Johnson & Johnson Scholars (Women in STEM2D) Award Program: Limited Submission

These awards are designed to support women in STEM2D disciplines who have completed the advanced degree, are working as Assistant Professors, but have not yet received tenure at their institution. UNR can only support one applicant per discipline – please contact Ahmad Itani at itani@unr.edu before applying.

Leukemia Research Foundation: Hollis Brownstein Research Grants Program

The Foundation exclusively supports promising new investigators who are in the process of forming their own laboratories after leaving their senior scientist mentor. The grants give scientists an opportunity to conduct research with the expectation that there will be significant breakthroughs. Letters of intent for the next cycle of funding will be due in February 2019.

MAP Fund

The MAP fund was founded by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1988 to create cultural dialogue and understanding through live performance. MAP funds playwrights, choreographers, composers, and site-specific community performers. The application period is in the fall, closing in December.

McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience: Scholar Awards

The Scholar Awards offer support to early career neuroscientists’ researching learning and memory disorders.

National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST): Early Career Research Award

The award supports promising early researchers that have the greatest possibility of producing significant and ongoing contributions to educational research.

Obesity Society: Early Career Research Grants

The program objective is to support new research in any areas associated with obesity.

Pew Biomedical Scholars: Limited Submission

One nomination per participating institution will be invited – please contact Ahmad Itani at itani@unr.edu if seeking a nomination. The program supports young investigators with exceptional potential in their research promoting human health.

PhRMA Foundation: Research Starter Grants

The grants fund researchers in the beginning stage of their independent research careers and is not meant to supplement existing research.

Princess Grace Foundation – USA: Princess Grace Awards Program

The program seeks to identify and support the early careers and professional advancement of developing artists. Nomination and application windows vary for theater, dance, choreography, film, and animation.

Research Corporation for Science and Advancement: Cottrell Scholars Program

The program supports the development of exceptional early career teachers and scholars in chemistry, physics, and astronomy. Pre-proposals are due at the beginning of May.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming

The program provides support with grants and career development opportunities for researchers in the early stages of their career.

Searle Scholars Program: Limited Submission

The program supports assistant professor level researchers that are in their first tenure-track position at a participating institution.

Smith Richardson Foundation: Strategy & Policy Fellows Program

The program’s objective is to encourage U.S. scholars and investigators doing policy analysis in the areas of American foreign policy, international relations, international security, military policy, and diplomatic and military history. Applications are due in June.

Sontag Foundation: Distinguished Scientist Award

The award supports early career researchers with exceptional potential in the area of brain cancer research. Applications are due in March.

Stanford Humanities Center: External Faculty Junior Fellowships

Fellowships support various academic ranks with the goal of creating a diverse group of scholars.

Whitehall Foundation: Grants in Aid Program

The program’s goal is to support unestablished assistant professor researchers in the life sciences facing rigorous competition for research funding. Letters of intent are accepted in the summer, fall, and spring.

William T. Grant Foundation: Scholars Program

The foundation’s goal is to reduce inequality through improved methods of collecting data and designing research.The program objective is to support and develop early career researchers’ proficiency in new areas where they might otherwise be hesitant to take risks. Applications are due in July.

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation: Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholars Award

The award’s purpose is to make more time available to junior faculty that are past their midpoint tenure review by providing funding for research assistance during the summer and academic year. Applications are typically due in December.