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Grant Opportunities for Early

Career Faculty

The Early Careers Committee hosted a panel at

the 59


Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland,

to discuss funding opportunities for early career

faculty. The panel consisted of

Kamal Shukla


Program Director;

Bishow Adhikari

, NIH Pro-

gram Director, and

Beth Schachter

, Beth Schachter

Consulting/Still Point Coaching & Consulting.

Their presentations and grant-writing advice are

summarized below.

NIH and NSF grants

NIH has funding opportunities for every career

level: F30/F32 = graduate and postdoctoral fel-

lowships, T32=apply through institution, K99/

R00=for postdocs (each grant type for 2 years),

R01=support discrete, specified research for pe-

riods of 3-5 years. 80% of NIH’s budget goes to

funding extramural projects.

When applying for a grant, it is important to

have: a great and feasible idea; an understanding

of the grant process; an excellent execution plan;

and a strong team, resources, and environment.

Make sure your application is easy to read and in

clear language, and that all required sections are

completed. The timeline to receive funding is nine

months to two years after the submission process

begins (not including your prep time), so begin

planning early.

NIH has 27 institutes and each has an early career

website with career planning and grant informa-

tion. Use NIH RePORTER to find funded appli-

cations, including some samples of successful grant


You can subscribe to the NIH Guide Listserv for

weekly emails featuring links to new Funding

Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) published

during the week. Read the Center for Scientific

Review website so that you will better understand

the review process. The site includes “Applicant

Resources” page with information on how to plan,

write, and submit a successful grant application,

and information on review, results, and appeals.

Contact the program officer with questions during

your application preparation. Program staff can

give you information about:

• An institute/center’s potential enthusiasm

about your research area;

• The appropriate FOA through which to apply;

• Investigator-initiated research: topics of inter-

est and new scientific directions;

• Additional information about an initiative

such as a request for applications or program


• Requirements for special areas such as human

subjects and vertebrate animal research; and

• The appropriate study section to request in

your cover letter.

If you are putting together an NSF Career Propos-

al, make sure you include information about the

educational aspects of your project. The educa-

tional focus is what differentiates Career Proposals

from regular ones.

Additional Funding Opportunities

In addition to NIH and NSF, biophysicists can

pursue funding from the DOD - DARPA, DOE,

and DOA – NIFA. Private foundations (like PEW,

Searle Scholars) also provide funding to researchers

through a direct application process or institution-

al nominations. Keep in mind that other funding

agencies and funding bodies may not have pro-

gram directors who will talk with you like NIH’s

and NSF’s, and may not provide institutional

overhead as part of the funding.

Some institutions have listings on their websites

about grant opportunities, as does the Biophysical

Society newsletter. Before you go on interviews for

faculty positions, start learning about funding op-

portunities available to you.