Funding Opportunities for Early Career Investigators
The Office of Research, Federal Relations, and Foundation Relations collaborate to provide specific funding support for young investigators. This page contains a selection of funding opportunities targeting early career investigators, as well as links to other resources.
The following resources and links focus on a selection of U.S. Government funded opportunities:
Early Career Workshops
Learn more about the resources and support these offices offer young investigators, including “early career roadmaps,” in our popular webinars for early-career researchers.
- National Science Foundation CAREER Award
- National Institutes of Health Career Development Award
- Department of Energy Early Career Research Program
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award
- Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program
- Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program
Additionally, a compendium (Kerberos protected) on all early career opportunities across the federal government is available. View more information about BU Federal Relations.
The list below contains a selection of foundation funded opportunities for early career researchers. For more information about BU Foundation Relations, including how to request an early career funding roadmap, please visit their website.
- American Federation for Aging Research – Research Grants for Junior Faculty: The major goal of this program is to assist in the development of the careers of junior investigators committed to pursuing careers in the field of aging research. AFAR supports research projects concerned with understanding the basic mechanisms of aging.
- Burroughs Wellcome Fund – Career Awards for Medical Scientists: For physician-scientists, who are committed to an academic career, to bridge advanced postdoctoral/fellowship training and the early years of faculty service. Proposals must be in the area of basic biomedical, disease-oriented, or translational research. Proposals in health services research or involving large-scale clinical trials are not eligible.
- Burroughs Wellcome Fund – Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease: The Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease program provides opportunities for assistant professors to bring multidisciplinary approaches to the study of human infectious diseases. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for accomplished investigators still early in their careers to study what happens at the points where the systems of humans and potentially infectious agents connect. The program supports research that sheds light on the fundamentals that affect the outcomes of these encounters: how colonization, infection, commensalism, and other relationships play out at levels ranging from molecular interactions to systemic ones.
- Edward Mallinckrodt Jr Foundation – Grants: The funder supports early stage investigators engaged in basic biomedical research that has the potential to significantly advance the understanding, diagnosis or treatment of disease.
- Hartwell Foundation – Individual Biomedical Research Awards: The Hartwell Foundation seeks to inspire innovation and achievement by funding early-stage, transformative biomedical research with the potential to benefit children of the United States. It seeks to fund innovative and cutting-edge applied research that has not yet qualified for funding from traditional outside sources.
- Kinship Foundation – Searle Scholars Program: The Searle Scholars Program makes grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry. Candidates will be expected to be pursuing independent research careers in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and related areas in chemistry, medicine, and the biological sciences.
- Pew Charitable Trusts – Pew Biomedical Scholars: The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award supports assistant professors of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health. Pew is looking for researchers interested in the molecular basis of diseases using approaches from basic science research (molecular biology, neuroscience, gene regulation, computational biology). Pew’s focus is on new basic science, or innovative developments in basic science.
- Rita Allen Foundation – Scholars Program: The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program funds basic biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology and neuroscience. The Foundation also supports an award for scholars in pain research, who are selected in collaboration with the American Pain Society.
- Smith Family Foundation – Odyssey Award: The program supports the pursuit of high impact ideas to generate breakthroughs and drive new directions in biomedical research. Awards will fund high-risk, high-reward pilot projects solicited from our brightest junior faculty in the region.
- Smith Family Foundation – Smith Family Awards for Excellence in Biomedical Research: For the past 29 years, the Smith Family Foundation has been supporting groundbreaking medical research through the Smith Family Awards Program for Excellence in Biomedical Research. Its mission is to launch the careers of newly independent biomedical researchers with the ultimate goal of achieving medical breakthroughs. Applications focus on all fields of basic biomedical science and may also be submitted by investigators in physics, chemistry and engineering.
Brain Sciences, Neuroscience, and Mental Illness
- 1907 Research – 1907 Trailblazer Award: The 1907 Trailblazer Award was established to encourage high-impact, step-change approaches to research in the brain and mind sciences for mental health. In addition to supporting a specific research project, the Award intends to increase the size of the talent pool of early career investigators researching causes and cures for mental illness.
- Brain and Behavior Research Foundation – NARSAD Young Investigator Grant: BBRF Young Investigator Grants provides funding to enable promising investigators to either extend research fellowship training or begin careers as independent research faculty. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awarded the first Young Investigator Grant in 1987.
- BrightFocus Foundation – Fellowship Awards: The goal of the program is to accelerate our understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias as well as innovative approaches to better diagnose, prevent, or delay the progress of the disease. Preference is made for exciting pilot projects that would not, at their present stage, be competitive for large government or industry awards. Typically, these awards are made to early stage investigators, or to more established investigators who are proposing particularly innovative research.
- Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc. – Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences: The Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences supports, in the early stages of their careers, young investigators engaged in basic or clinical research that may lead to a better understanding of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
- McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience – McKnight Scholar Awards: These awards were established to encourage emerging neuroscientists to focus on disorders of learning and memory. Applicants for the McKnight Scholar Awards must demonstrate interest in solving important problems in relevant areas of neuroscience, including the translation of basic research to clinical neuroscience. Awards are given to exceptional young scientists who are in the early stages of establishing an independent laboratory and research career. Traditionally, successful candidates have held faculty positions for at least one year.
- New York Stem Cell Foundation – Neuroscience Investigator Awards: This program aims to foster truly bold, innovative scientists with the potential to transform the field of neuroscience. Applicants are encouraged in the fundamental areas of developmental, cellular, cognitive, and translational neuroscience, broadly interpreted. Applicants need not be working in areas related to stem cells.
- One Mind Institute – Rising Star Research Awards: An award to build capacity and accelerate research on neuropsychiatric disorders by recognizing and funding promising, early career investigators through a competitive grants process.
- Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative – Bridge to Independence Award: The program engages talented early-career scientists in autism research by facilitating their transition to research independence and providing grant funding at the start of their professorships. The program welcomes applications that span the breadth of science that SFARI normally supports, including genetics, molecular mechanisms, circuits and systems, and clinical science. While the funder encourages applications from scientists who are working on autism-related projects, it also stresses that this award is also open to researchers who are not currently working on autism but who are interested in starting research projects in this area and who have expertise that could be brought to bear on this complex condition.
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer – Young Investigator Grants: This program provides startup funds for new researchers and physicians conducting childhood cancer research.
- American Cancer Society – Research Scholar Grants: The funder seeks research that evaluates the impact of the many changes now occurring in the healthcare system with a particular focus on cancer prevention, control, and treatment. Research should focus on the changes in national, state, and/or local policy and the response to these changes by healthcare systems, insurers, payers, communities, practices, and patients.
- Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation – Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award: 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.
- St. Baldrick’s Foundation – Scholar (Career Development) Awards: The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is proud to fund lifesaving research throughout the world, awarding grants that focus on all major types of childhood cancers.
- The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research – Emerging Leader Award: The Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Awards support innovative research from the next generation of leaders in cancer research. These grants are awarded to outstanding early career investigators to support high-impact, high-risk projects that are distinct from their current research portfolio.
- The Sontag Foundation – Distinguished Scientist Award: Recipients of the award are inspired individuals with projects that show potential to generate new knowledge relating to causes, cure or treatment of primary brain tumors/brain cancer.
- The V Foundation – V Scholar Award: An award for junior faculty to help leverage their independent research careers and enable them to be more competitive for larger (e.g. RO1) grants. The V Scholar Award supports young tenure-track faculty early in their cancer research careers by funding projects that are either laboratory-based fundamental research or translational research.
Child Health, Pediatrics, and Development
- Charles H. Hood Foundation – Child Health Research Awards Program: An award to support newly independent faculty, provide the opportunity to demonstrate creativity, and assist in the transition to other sources of research funding. Applicants must be working in nonprofit academic, medical or research institutions within the six New England states. Grants support hypothesis-driven clinical, basic science, public health, health services research, and epidemiology projects focused on child health.
- Jacobs Foundation – Research Fellowships: The Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship Program is a globally competitive fellowship program for early and mid-career researchers aiming at improving the development and living conditions of children and youth or contributing to one of the Jacobs Foundation’s thematic priorities. This includes, but is not limited to educational sciences, psychology, economics, sociology, family studies, media studies, political sciences, linguistics, neurosciences, and medical sciences.
- Thrasher Research Fund – Early Career Award: The Fund recognizes that young investigators may find it difficult to remain in pediatric research because of a lack of funding. Therefore, the purpose of this program is to encourage the development of medical research in child health by awarding small grants to new researchers, helping them gain a foothold in this important area. The goal is to fund applicants who will go on to be independent investigators.
Humanities and Social Sciences
- American Council of Learned Societies – ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships: The program allows recent PhDs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to take up one-year positions at select institutions in ACLS’s Research University Consortium for the 2021-22 academic year. At a time of economic downturn and uncertainty in academe, the fellowships provide support for a vanguard of scholars whose voices, perspectives, and broad visions will strengthen institutions of higher education and humanistic disciplines in the years to come.
- Mellon Foundation – New Directions Fellowship: Serious interdisciplinary research often requires established scholar-teachers to pursue formal substantive and methodological training in addition to the PhD. New Directions Fellowships assist faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who seek to acquire systematic training outside their own areas of special interest. The program is intended to enable scholars in the humanities to work on problems that interest them most, at an appropriately advanced level of sophistication. In addition to facilitating the work of individual faculty members, these awards should benefit scholarship in the humanities more generally by encouraging the highest standards in cross-disciplinary research.
- Whiting Foundation – Public Humanities Fellowships/ Seed Grants: The Whiting Public Engagement Programs, including the Public Engagement Fellowship and the Public Engagement Seed Grant, celebrate and empower humanities faculty who embrace public engagement as part of their scholarly vocation. They fund ambitious, often collaborative projects to infuse into public life the richness and nuance that give the humanities their lasting value. Over time, we hope they will also help cultivate communities of practice dedicated to this form of service; underscore just how essential history, philosophy, and the study of the arts are in helping us absorb the news of the day, participate as citizens, and live meaningful lives; and ultimately help to broaden understanding of the value of advanced work in the humanities.
- Alfred P. Sloan Foundation – Sloan Research Fellowships: The Sloan Research Fellowships seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field.
- Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation – Beckman Young Investigators Program: The Beckman Young Investigator Program provides research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of their 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.
- Blavatnik Family Foundation – Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists: The Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists recognize the country’s most promising faculty-rank researchers in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry.
- Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation – Moore Inventor Fellows: This competition seeks to identify outstanding early-stage inventors who harness science and technology solutions to enhance scientific research, strengthen environmental conservation, or improve the experience and outcomes of patient care.
- Human Frontier Science Program – Young Investigators’ Grants: Research grants are provided for teams of scientists from different countries who wish to combine their expertise in innovative approaches to questions that could not be answered by individual laboratories. Emphasis is placed on novel collaborations that bring together scientists preferably from different disciplines (e.g. from chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering) to focus on problems in the life sciences.
- Research Corporation for Science Advancement – Cottrell Scholar Award: The Cottrell Scholar (CS) program champions the very best early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy by providing significant discretionary awards for research. Nurturing an interdisciplinary community of outstanding scientific/academic leaders, the CS program fosters synergy among faculty at major American research universities and primarily undergraduate institutions. Cottrell Scholars engage in an annual networking event, providing them an opportunity to share insights and expertise through the Cottrell Scholar Collaborative.
- Simons Foundation – Simons Investigators in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics, and Theoretical Computer Science: The intent of the Investigator in Mathematics, Physics, Astrophysics and Theoretical Computer Science programs is to support outstanding scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing creative new research directions, providing leadership to the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists.
- William T. Grant Foundation – Scholars Grants: The program supports career development for promising early-career researchers, funding five-year research and mentoring plans that significantly expand researchers’ expertise in new disciplines, methods, and content areas.
- American Heart Association – Career Development Grant: The purpose of this award is to support highly promising healthcare and academic professionals, in the early years of one’s first professional appointment, to explore innovative questions or pilot studies that will provide preliminary data and training necessary to assure the applicant’s future success as a research scientist in the field of cardiovascular and stroke research. The award will develop the research skills to support and greatly enhance the awardee’s chances to obtain and retain a high quality cardiovascular and/ or stroke career position. The focus of this award is in research broadly related to cardiovascular function and disease and stroke, or to related clinical, translational, behavioral, population or basic science, bioengineering or biotechnology, and public health problems, including multidisciplinary efforts.
- Craig H. Neilsen Foundation – Psychosocial Research: The Psychosocial Research (PSR) portfolio supports research that addresses the interrelation of behavioral, social, psychological and other quality of life factors that will benefit people living with spinal cord injury. Areas of interest include: aging, caregiving, employment, health behaviors and fitness, independent living, self-management and technology access.
- Human Vaccine Projects – Michelson Prize: The Michelson Prizes are scientific awards are given annually to young investigators who are applying disruptive concepts and inventive processes to advance human immunology, vaccine discovery, and immunotherapy research across major global diseases.
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – Career Development Award: JDRF fosters the development and productivity of the best and the brightest established independent researchers who will bridge the gap between the bench and bedside. The primary purpose of the Career Development Award is to attract qualified and promising scientists early in their faculty careers and to give them the opportunity to establish themselves in areas that reflect the JDRF research emphasis areas.
Physics and Math
- Breakthrough Prize – New Horizons in Mathematics: A mathematics prize for early-career researchers who have already produced important work in their fields.
- Breakthrough Prize – New Horizons in Physics Prize: A physics prize for early-career researchers who have already produced important work in their fields.
- International Astronomical Union – The Gruber Foundation Fellowships: The Gruber Foundation (TGF) has created the GF Fellowship Programme with the aim of promoting the science of cosmology and other branches of astronomy.
- Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc. – Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program: The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences. Based on institutional nominations, the program provides discretionary funding to faculty at an early stage in their careers.
- Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research – New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award: The New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award provides early-career scientists the investment needed to propel them into successful research careers.
- Microsoft Foundation – Faculty Fellowship: Two-year fellowship that recognizes innovative, promising early-career professors in the Americas who are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research.
- Smith Richardson Foundation – Strategy and Policy Fellows Program: This program supports young scholars and policy thinkers on American foreign policy, international relations, international security, military policy, and diplomatic and military history. It seeks to strengthen the U.S. community of scholars and researchers conducting policy analysis in these fields.
- The Greenwall Foundation – Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics: The Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics is a career development award to enable junior faculty members to carry out innovative bioethics research. It supports research that goes beyond current work in bioethics to help resolve pressing ethical issues in clinical, biomedical, and public health decision-making, policy, and practice, and creates a community that enhances future bioethics research by Scholars and Alumni/ae.