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NIH Directors Early Independence Awards (DP5)

Internal Due Date: 07-06-2016 Coordinator: Holly Sommers

Foundation Due Date: 08-12-2016 (Letters of Intent); September 12, 2016 (Full Applications)

Number of Applications: 2


The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award Program supports exceptional investigators who wish to pursue independent research directly after completion of their terminal doctoral/research degree or clinical residency, thereby forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period and accelerating their entry into an independent research career. 

The NIH Director's Early Independence Awards initiative is funded through the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting programs that are expected to have exceptionally high impact. All Common Fund initiatives invite investigators to develop bold, innovative, and often risky approaches to address problems that may seem intractable or to seize new opportunities that offer the potential for rapid progress.

The NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards provide an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists to accelerate their entry into an independent research career by forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period. Though most newly graduated doctoral-level researchers would benefit by post-doctoral training, a small number of outstanding junior investigators would benefit instead by launching directly into an independent research career. For these select investigators, who have established a record of scientific innovation and research productivity and who have demonstrated unusual leadership, drive, and maturity, post-doctoral training would unnecessarily delay their entry into performing independent research. The NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards also provide an opportunity for institutions to invigorate their research programs by bringing in the fresh perspectives of the awardees that they host. By the end of the award period, the Early Independence investigator is expected to be competitive for continued funding of his/her research program and for a permanent research position.

The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects all of its efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.  Applicant institutions are always encouraged to consider talented researchers from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and women for participation in all NIH-funded research opportunities.

For full information, including applicant eligibility information, please see the website noted above.


Internal Competition Guidelines:

Interested applicants must submit an abstract of their proposed projects (not to exceed 2 pages) and an NIH-style biosketch to Holly Sommers via e-mail ( ) by no later than the internal deadline above for consideration. [It is very helpful if the abstract and biosketch can be combined into a single PDF with the abstract first.] Please put NIH DP5 – Applicant Name in the subject line of the e-mail. Please note that written reviews or summary statements from the internal review and selection process will not be available.