Early Career Grant Funding Opportunities

Early Career Grant Funding Opportunities

Federal Funding Agencies

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Institutes of Health New Investigator Awards Program

In 2009, NIH instituted a new adjunct to the New Investigator policies involving the identification of Early Stage Investigators (ESIs). ESIs are New Investigators who are within 10 years of completing their terminal research degree or within 10 years of completing their medical residency at the time they apply for R01 grants.

Research Training and Career Development

Resources for early career researchers include Early Research Career Development and Research Career Development Awards

NIH Director’s New Innovator Award

The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award is part of the Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, which was created to accelerate the pace of biomedical discoveries by supporting exceptionally creative scientists with highly innovative research. The program seeks to identify scientists with high-impact ideas that may be risky or at a stage too early to fare well in the traditional peer review process. The program encourages creative, outside-the-box thinkers to pursue exciting and innovative ideas in any area of biomedical research relevant to the NIH mission. 

National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation CAREER

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

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

Funds will be used to support untenured faculty or research scientists (or equivalent) in their first two years in an academic position after the PhD. One may not yet have received any other grants in the PI role from any institution or agency, including from the CAREER program or any other award post-PhD.

ENG Research Initiation in Engineering Formation

The PFE: Research Initiation in Engineering Formation (PFE: RIEF) program has two goals: 1) Support research in the Professional Formation of Engineers (PFE), and 2) Increase the community of researchers conducting PFE research. PIs are expected to have little or no experience conducting social science research. PFE: RIEF is not intended for established researchers in engineering education or other social science fields to initiate new projects. Those researchers should consider the Research in the Formation of Engineers program.

Department of Energy

US Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Research Program

The Early Career Research Program supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

New (Early Career) Investigator Program in Earth Science (ROSES program element)

The NIP in Earth Science is designed to support outstanding scientific research and career development of scientists and engineers at the early stage of their professional careers. The program aims to encourage innovative research initiatives and cultivate scientific leadership in Earth system science. (NIP is scheduled to solicit proposals in ROSES-2017.)

Faculty Early Career (ECF)

This specific Appendix is titled Early Career Faculty (ECF) and is one of three calls for proposals from STMD’s Space Technology Research Grants (STRG) Program. Early Stage Innovations (ESI) appears as Appendix B2 under the SpaceTech-REDDI NRA, and the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships (NSTRF) is a separate solicitation. This ECF Appendix seeks to tap into that talent base, challenging early career faculty to examine the theoretical feasibility of new ideas and approaches that are critical to making science, space travel, and exploration more effective, affordable, and sustainable.

Department of Defense (DoD)

AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP)

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering; enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators; and increase opportunities for the young investigator to recognize the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering.

Office of Naval Research (YIP)

The objectives of this program are to attract outstanding faculty members of Institutions of higher education to the Department of the Navy’s research program, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.

Young Faculty Award (YFA) (DARPA)

The program focuses on untenured faculty, emphasizing those without prior DARPA funding. The long-term goal of the YFA program is to develop the next generation of academic scientists, engineers and mathematicians in key disciplines who will focus a significant portion of their career on DoD and national security issues.


ARO’s Young Investigator Program (YIP) seeks to identify and support academic scientists who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees within the last five years and who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. Proposals may request up to $100,000 per year for three years. This program is in addition to a YIP Program described in the open ARO BAA.


The PECASE Awards are intended to recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century. The Awards foster innovative and far-reaching developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals, and highlight the importance of science and technology for the nation’s future.

The PECASE Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. The awards are conferred annually at the White House following recommendations from participating agencies. To be eligible for a PECASE Award, an individual must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident. Each Presidential award winner receives a citation, a plaque and funding from their agency for up to five years to advance his or her research. Individuals can receive only one PECASE award in their careers.

The agencies participating in the PECASE Awards program are:

Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation

Non-federal Funding Agencies

AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science

(Prize via nomination)

The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science, established in 2010, recognizes early-career scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science activities. A monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration to the AAAS Annual Meeting, and reimbursement for reasonable hotel and travel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting to receive the prize are given to the recipient.

Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship

Microsoft Research seeks nominees who are advancing computing research in novel directions with the potential for high impact on the state of the art, and who demonstrate the likelihood of becoming thought leaders in the field.

New Investigator, American Federation for Aging Research

AFAR Junior Faculty Grants provides up to $100,000 for a one- to two-year award to junior faculty to conduct research that will serve as the basis for longer term research efforts. New Investigator awards of $100,000 for one or two years support research in areas in which more scientific investigation is needed to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Beginning Grant-In-Aid, National Scientist Development Grant Program, American Heart Association

AHA funds research broadly related to cardiovascular disease and stroke and supports research in clinical and basic sciences, bioengineering, biotechnology and public health. Scientist Development Grant applicants should have no more than four years since his/her first faculty/staff appointment at the assistant professor level or its equivalent and must not be funded (extramurally) for more than one year at a level greater than $95,000 per year in direct costs. Beginning Grant-In-Aid applicants must hold a faculty/staff rank up to and including assistant professor (or equivalent), but may not have more than seven years of experience at the assistant professor level

Young Investigators AwardAlliaZnce for Cancer Gene Therapy

The overall objectives of this grant are to advance cell and gene therapy into the causes, treatment and prevention of all types of cancer by promoting development of novel and innovative studies by young investigators.

Research GrantsAlzheimer’s Association 

The association offers several grant programs that provide support for new investigators, including Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant (AARG) and Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity (AARG-D).

AACR Funding OpportunitiesAmerican Association for Cancer Research

AACR offers an array of support mechanisms for cancer researchers at various stages in their careers, from fellowships to career development awards to grants for independent investigators. Multiple grant programs are offered.

Research Scholar GrantsAmerican Cancer Society

Grants support investigator-initiated projects across the cancer research continuum. Independent investigators in the first six years of an independent research career or faculty appointment are eligible.

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

Awards of $110,000 over two years provide start-up funding for scientists and engineers in the United States who are within the first three years of their first academic appointment at the level of Assistant Professor or the equivalent.

American Diabetes Association ACE Award

This award is designed to support exceptional, independent early-career researchers who have distinguished themselves as promising investigators and are in the beginning stages of establishing successful, sustainable diabetes research programs. Applicants may currently hold independent NIH funding (including initial R01/U01) but must not have applied for an R01/U01 renewal or second R01/U01 award.

Scientist Development GrantAmerican Heart Association

The science focus is all basic, clinical, and population research broadly related to cardiovascular disease and stroke. At the time of award activation, applicants should have no more than four years elapsed since the first faculty/staff appointment at the assistant professor level or equivalent.

Research AwardsAmerican Society for Mass Spectrometry

The program is open to academic scientists within four years of joining the tenure track faculty or equivalent. Awards are $35,000.

Beckman Young Investigators ProgramArnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation

The program provides research support to young faculty members in the early stages of academic careers in the chemical and life sciences particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science. The program is open to those within the first three years of a tenure-track position, or an equivalent independent research appointment.

Career Development AwardsJuvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Researchers who have received their first faculty-level appointment less than three years before the submission date are eligible to apply for this award.

Kaufmann Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

This program recognizes junior faculty who are beginning to establish a record of scholarship and exhibit the potential to make significant contributions to the body of research in the field of entrepreneurship. A grant of $35,000 over two to three years supports the research activities of the Fellow.

Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar AwardsNational Multiple Sclerosis Society

The awards support candidates who have concluded their research training and begun academic careers as independent investigators in an area related to multiple sclerosis.

Spinal Cord Injury Research on the Translational SpectrumCraig H. Neilsen Foundation

Two-year Pilot Research Grants help to establish new investigators in the field of spinal cord injury research and support studies by established investigators who are undertaking new directions in their work.

Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

The program invites nominations from selected institutions. Candidates must be eligible to serve as principal investigators engaged in research in the natural and physical sciences or engineering and must be within the first three years of their faculty careers.

Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences

The program makes grants to selected academic institutions to support the independent biomedical research of outstanding individuals who are in their first few years of their appointment at the assistant professor level.

Young Investigator AwardsProstate Cancer Foundation

Awards offer support for young (generally 35 and younger) proven investigators in postdoctoral fellowships or who have recently achieved junior faculty positions and are committing their lives to the field of prostate cancer.

I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator AwardsPulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

Awards support projects that offer a high likelihood of improving the understanding of pulmonary fibrosis in the following areas: basic science, transnational research, clinical medicine/research, and social science/quality of life.

Cottrell ScholarsResearch Corporation for Science Advancement

Eligible applicants are tenure-track faculty members whose primary appointment is in a department of astronomy, chemistry or physics. Eligibility is limited to faculty in the third year after their first tenure-track appointment.

ScialogResearch Corporation for Science Advancement

Scialog supports early career faculty to expand research in a focused area of high scientific importance. Within each multi-year initiative, Fellows collaborate in high-risk discovery research on untested ideas and communicate their progress in annual closed conferences.

Innovation AwardDamon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

The Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award is designed to provide support for the next generation of exceptionally creative thinkers with “high risk/high reward” ideas that have the potential to significantly impact our understanding of and/or approaches to the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

Sloan Research FellowshipsAlfred P. Sloan Foundation

Fellowships support fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. (or equivalent) in chemistry, computational or evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, ocean sciences, physics, or a related field.

Pilot Research GrantSociety of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

The pilot research grant is designed to help a basic or clinical scientist in the early stages of their career conduct research that may lead to further funding

Distinguished Scientist AwardSontag Foundation

The award provides career and research support to early career scientists who demonstrate outstanding promise for making scientific and medical breakthroughs in the field of brain cancer research.