Limited Submission Programs - NIH - Director’s Early Independence Awards (DP5)

Summary of Opportunity
NIH - Director’s Early Independence Awards (DP5)
OSP Deadline


Funding Agency Deadline NIH Letter of Intent (not required): 12/31/13
NIH Deadline Date: 01/31/14
Funding or Award Criteria

Program Description:

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.

Prospective candidates should contact appropriate Institutional leaders to seek an appointment in an independent research position (For a listing of eligible degrees for Early Independence Investigators, please refer to Section III.1. Eligible Applicants). Alternatively, Institutions may actively recruit eligible junior scientists to apply for support through this program. In either event, the Institution will be expected to provide substantial support for the junior scientist as detailed below. To foster independence, it may behoove candidates to be hosted by institutions other than the ones at which they trained. To facilitate the “matching” of institutions and candidates, the NIH Common Fund is hosting a website (
matchingportal/index.aspx) in which institutions interested in hosting candidates may choose to provide pertinent information such as particular areas of research being targeted, supporting documents to be submitted, and institution contact information.

In the application, the prospective Early Independence investigator and the prospective Grantee Institution will be required to provide:

Early Independence PD(s)/PI(s):

  • Statement of how an Early Independence Award would accelerate entry into an independent research position and why this would be of benefit to the PD(s)/PI(s) career;
  • Evidence of exceptional scientific creativity and productivity;
  • A research plan in a scientific area relevant to the NIH mission for which the investigator has demonstrated expertise;
  • Strong letters of recommendation from mentors and other scientists familiar with the investigator offering a detailed assessment of the prospects for a successful early transition to research independence; achievements as a graduate student; and the potential for future scientific contributions.

Grantee Institution:

  • Plans for full integration of the Early Independence investigator into the scientific community at the institution and evidence that the institution and existing faculty are committed to his/her success;
  • Evidence that the Early Independence investigator will be unencumbered by significant teaching or administrative duties so that he or she may devote effort almost exclusively to conducting independent research. Clinicians should be allowed to perform clinical duties to the extent necessary to maintain credentials.
  • Evidence that the proposed research project will complement existing scholarly activities at the institution and will enhance the research capabilities of the institution;
  • Evidence that the Early Independence investigator will be appointed into an independent research position;
  • A detailed description of the laboratory space to be provided to the Early Independence investigator and the availability of research support staff;
  • A detailed description of the availability of the equipment, supplies and shared resources required by the Early Independence investigator, and a plan for guaranteeing access to those resources;
  • Description of career enhancement opportunities available to the Early Independence investigator, equivalent to those offered to assistant professors;
  • Evidence that the Early Independence investigator will have the necessary Institutional commitment to conduct full-time, independent research, excepting the minimal clinical commitments required for clinician researchers and minimal, optional teaching commitments;
  • Description of opportunities for the Early Independence investigator to apply for additional research funding without being required to do so.

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.  Grantee 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. 

Award Budget:  Awards will be for up to $250,000 in direct costs per year, plus applicable Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs.

Award Project Period:  Five years

Please see the solicitation for complete information.


At the time of application, the Early Independence Award candidate must be within twelve months before or after the completion of their PhD (or equivalent) or for clinicians within twelve months before or after the completion of their medical residency (or equivalent) training. The medical fellowship period is NOT included as part of the medical residence or equivalent training. The date of degree receipt is that which appears on the official transcript for the degree. The time of application is the date when the application is submitted electronically to NIH through In addition, at the time of application, the Early Independence investigator must not have served as a post-doctoral fellow following a previous doctoral degree for more than one year. 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.

At the time of funding to the grantee Institution, the Early Independence investigator must have received a PhD, MD, DO, DC, DDS, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, Dr PH, DNSc, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), PharmD, DSW, PsyD, or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution (it is the responsibility of the sponsoring institution to determine if a foreign doctoral degree is equivalent). Certification by an authorized official of the degree-granting institution that all degree requirements have been met is also acceptable.

Applicable Field(s)  
Number of Nominees Allowed Two (2) applicants
Required Internal Review Documents

Associate Deans or Designates should submit the following materials electronically to by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 4, 2013:

  1. Dean's or ORU Director's Letter of Nomination
  2. Two-page maximum lay abstract describing the aims/needs of the proposed research project.
  3. The bio sketch/CV of the UT PI

Your College may submit no more than one (1) nomination for consideration.


**Note to Potential Applicants**

Internal review documents do not reflect the application requirements set forth by the sponsor. Please review solicitation carefully.

Nominee(s) Selected to Advance Dr. Kelly Reveles, College of Pharmacy
Posting Date 09/16/13