News Release

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NIH announces new program to accelerate research independence

The National Institutes of Health intends to invest approximately $60 million over the next five years in the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award (EIA) program to help junior investigators leapfrog over traditional post-doctoral training and move into independent academic positions at U.S. institutions, directly upon completion of their graduate research degrees.

Recent trends have demonstrated an increase in the length of the traditional scientific training period that often translate into an increase in the amount of time it takes for scientists to embark on independent research careers. These hurdles can result in valuable time lost by scientists in pursuit of independent biomedical research and deter students as they consider possible careers in biomedical research.

Although traditional post-doctoral training is appropriate for the majority of new Ph.D. and M.D. recipients, there is a pool of talented junior scientists who have the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently without the need for traditional post-doctoral training. Consequently, the NIH has created the EIA Program to provide support for outstanding investigators within a year of completion of their degree to launch their own independent research programs.

"The Early Independence Award Program will reduce the amount of time these exceptional junior scientists spend in training and allow them to start highly innovative research programs as early in their careers as possible," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

The NIH expects to issue up to 10 awards in fall 2011. To apply for these awards, exceptional junior investigators must identify a host institution. Alternatively, institutions may actively recruit exceptional junior scientists to apply for these positions. These awards will be very selective, and each institution may only submit two applications. EIA recipients will receive up to $250,000 in direct costs per year for up to five years for research that complements and enhances an institution's research program.

The deadline for submitting Early Independence Award applications is Jan. 21, 2011. Additional information, including the funding opportunity announcement is available at:

The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs. The Early Independence Award program is funded through the Common Fund and managed by the NIH Office of the Director in partnership with the various NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices. Common Fund programs are designed to pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single NIH Institute could tackle alone, but that the agency as a whole can address to make the biggest impact possible on the progress of medical research. Additional information about the NIH Common Fund can be found at

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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