National Institutes of Health

NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (DP5)

Program Summary

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 pool 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 awardee scientists that they host. 


Up to two applications are allowed per institution.  Prospective candidates should contact appropriate Institutional leaders to seek an appointment in an independent research position.  Alternatively, Institutions may actively recruit eligible junior scientists to apply for support through a matching portal.  Additional details about the portal are found on the NIH Common Fund website.

At the time of application, the individual either 1) within the preceding twelve months must have received a terminal doctoral degree or completed medical residency or 2) within the following twelve months must complete all the requirements for a doctoral degree or complete a medical residency. The fellowship training period is NOT included in the clinical residency or equivalent training period. 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 PD(s)/PI(s) must not have served as a post-doctoral fellow following a previous doctoral degree for more than one year.

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.

A PD/PI is permitted only a single application for an Early Independence Award.  

Award Information

The NIH Common Fund intends to commit approximately $4,000,000 in FY 2013.  Approximately 10 awards are anticipated. Awards will be for up to $250,000 in direct costs per year, plus applicable Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs.  The award project period is five years.

Internal Selection Procedure
The Office of the Vice President for Research has established an internal review procedure to select the UI nominees. Applications will be reviewed according to the sponsor's selection criteria. Consideration will also be given to UI institutional strengths and strategic directions. Potential applicants must submit, using the preselection link below, the following information:
1. A two page CV
2. A description of the proposed project. It should have the following elements:
  1. Additional pages may be added for references
  2. Please be sure the project is identified on each page and number the pages.
The above materials must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5, 2012. The selected nominee will be asked to complete the full application package in accordance with the sponsor's deadline of Wednesday, January 30, 2013.


Proposal Due to OVPRED12/05/2012 Not open for submission deadline passed
Date Due to DSP or UIF01/23/2013
Date Due to Sponsor01/30/2013
Required LOI Due DateN/A
Non-Required LOI Due Date12/30/2012
Sponsor URL:

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