Early career research funding opportunities

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.  Applications are typically due in March.

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 between June and August with a deadline in October.

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.

Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR)
The DEPSCoR program funds basic research on topics that change annually up to $200,000 per year for three years. Applications are accepted by invitation only after a White Paper submission. Unlike many funding opportunities, this project will only fund a pair of researchers: an “applicant,” who has never received DoD funding before, and a “collaborator” who has served as a PI on a DoD-funded research award between a period of time that is updated annually. White Papers are typically due in September.

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 typically due in August.

U.S. Department of Energy

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. Preproposals are required and are typically due in November; full applications are typically due in February.

Department of Justice

Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS)
The program (currently in pilot) offers a unique opportunity for early-career academics to engage with NIJ LEADS Scholars, all of whom are mid-career police officers dedicated to advancing the police profession through science. Applications are due in May.

Food and Drug Administration

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellowship
Faculty and postdoctoral students can take part in research relevant to the FDA’s mission through a one-year mentored appointment at an FDA facility. A catalog of current appointments is maintained online, and faculty may apply for opportunities throughout the year.


Early Career Faculty (ECF) Solicitation
The most recent 2021 solicitation through NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants program seeks research to investigate unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies focused on the following topics:

  • Advanced Computational Techniques for the Development of Cryogenic Refrigeration Systems
  • High-Fidelity Emulation of Full-Physics Models in Earth Science
  • Joining Processes for Shape Memory Alloys to Enable Advanced Structural Applications

The proposed principal investigator must be an untenured assistant professor on the tenure track at the sponsoring U.S. university at the time of award. They must be a U.S. citizen or have lawful status of permanent residency. Awards are for up to $200,000 per year for up to three years. Proposals are typically due in March.

National Institute of Health

Early Research Career Development (K Awards)
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). New proposals are due in February, June, or October.

NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)
The program objective is the development a robust group of new and bright NIH-supported investigators. New proposals are due in February, June, or October.

NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards
This program supports exceptional junior investigators who wish to pursue independent research soon after completion of their terminal doctoral degree or post-graduate clinical training, thereby forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period and accelerating their entry into an independent research career. Applications are typically due in August.

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-late 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.

EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-4: EPSCoR Research Fellows: LIMITED SUBMISSION
This program supports collaborative research visits at the host site, so that fellowship awardees will be able to learn new techniques, develop new collaborations or advance existing partnerships, benefit from access to unique equipment and facilities, and/or shift their research. Principal Investigators must hold a non-tenured faculty appointment. The University is allowed only 3 applicants; the internal selection process deadline is in October with proposals due to the NSF in April.

EHR Core Research (ECR): Building Capacity in STEM Education Research (ECR: BCSER
ECR: BCSER supports activities that enable early and mid-career researchers to acquire the requisite expertise and skills to conduct rigorous fundamental research in STEM education. Early and mid-career faculty new to STEM education research, particularly underrepresented minority faculty and faculty at minority-serving and two-year institutions, are encouraged to submit proposals. Award amount is up to $375,000 for two years. Proposals are due in February.


USDA NIFA provides grants to new investigators under the Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FACE) program. These grans are designed to help institutions develop competitive projects and to attract new scientists and educators into careers in high-priority areas of national need in agriculture, food, and environmental sciences. Funding opportunities are available in Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Foundational and Applied Science Program, and Education and Workforce Development.


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.

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. Applications are due in October.

American Council of Learned Societies: Fellowships and Grants
ACLS provides support to doctoral and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and related social sciences. The annual proposal deadline is in September.

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. Letters of Intent are due in August.

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.

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.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: 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: Teacher-Scholar Awards Program: LIMITED SUBMISSION
The program provides funding to support young faculty in their chemical sciences research and teaching careers. Each institution may nominate only one candidate. The application deadline is in early August.

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. Letter of Intent is typically due in January.

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.

Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation Grant: LIMITED SUBMISSION
Any domestic biomedical institution is invited to submit one candidate. Applicants should be in the first to fourth year of their tenure-track position and not have current R01 funding. Grants are usually $60,000 and funding commences October 1. No indirect costs are allowed; salary is acceptable. Applications are due August 1.

Esther A & Joseph Klingenstein Fund: Klingenstein Third Generation Fellowship
The fellowship awards focus on the advancement of early career scientists’ “cutting-edge” investigations into children’s mental health, especially the causes, prevention, and treatment of depression and ADHD in children. Nominations are due in November.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation: Knowledge Challenge for Entrepreneurs
This is a biannual program that runs in even-numbered years. 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. Nominations are due in March.

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. Letters of Intent are due in June.

Greenwall Foundation: Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics : LIMITED SUBMISSION
This career development award allows junior faculty members to conduct innovative bioethics research. Only one applicant from an institution is allowed. Letters of Intent are due in September.

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 are due in February.

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 closes in January.

McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience: Scholar Awards
The Scholar Awards offer support to early career neuroscientists’ researching learning and memory disorders. The award is $75,000 per year for three years. Application materials are available beginning in August/September.

Princess Grace Foundation – USA: Princess Grace Awards Program: LIMITED SUBMISSION
The program seeks to identify and support the early careers and professional advancement of developing artists.  The institution must nominate only one applicant per year, with nominations due in February.

Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards: LIMITED SUBMISSION
A one-year grant for full time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions within 2 years of their tenure track appointment at the time of the application. Must be working in one of the following fields: Engineering and Applied Science, Life Sciences, Mathematics/Computer Sciences, Physical Sciences, or Policy/Management/Education. Must be nominated by the VPRI – only two nominations allowed per year. Award from ORAU is $5,000 with a required match by the applicant’s institution. Applications are due in early January.

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. Funding is for up to $60,000. Applications are due in June.

Sontag Foundation: Distinguished Scientist Award
The award supports early career researchers with exceptional potential in brain cancer research. Funding is for up to $600,000 over four years. Applications are due in March.

Stanford Humanities Center: External Faculty Junior Fellowships
Fellowships support scholars in the humanities and interpretive social sciences with the goal of creating a diverse group of scholars to be in residence for one year at Stanford. Stipends are up to $70,000, with an additional housing and moving allowance. Application deadline is October 1.

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. Grants are for up to $30,000 for one year. Letters of intent are accepted year-round.

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.

Institute for Citizens & Scholars: Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award
Emerging Faculty Leaders may be working in any field of the humanities or social sciences emphasizing the study of culture, equity, inclusion, civil rights, and education in the Americas. 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 and to allow work on making the scholar’s campus more equitable. The award is a $20,000 stipend. Applications are typically due in December.