Early Career Opportunities offered by the Federal Government are typically available on the Grants.gov website. Included below is a partial listing of annual opportunities from several of our funding agencies.
Early Career - Federal Opportunities
Early Career Opportunities
- Department of Defense (DOD)
Description: Supports scientists and engineers who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees within the last seven years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The program objectives are 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. Most awards are funded up to $150,000 per year for three years.
Description: The ARO Young Investigator Program is included in their Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Fundamental Research. It is open to US citizens, US nationals, and permanent resident aliens holding tenure-track positions at US colleges and universities and have their PhD or equivalent for fewer than five years. The program objective is to attract outstanding young university faculty members to pursue fundamental research in areas relevant to the Army, to support their research in these areas, and to encourage their teaching and research careers. Awards are up to $120,000 per year for three years.
Description: The objective is to identify and engage rising stars in junior research positions, emphasizing those without prior DARPA funding, and expose them to DoD needs and DARPA’s program development process. The annual research announcement seeking YFA applications is typically posted to the Grants.gov, and fbo.gov websites between July and August.
Description: Program seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees within the last seven years and show exceptional promise for doing creative research. Applicants may request up to $510,000 for a 36 month period.
- Department of Energy (DOE)
- Deadline: January/February - Preapplication; April - Full ApplicationDescription: This program supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the following program areas: Advanced Scientific Computing Research; Biological and Environmental Research; Basic Energy Sciences, Fusion Energy Sciences; High Energy Physics, and Nuclear Physics. No more than ten years can have passed between the year the Principal Investigator’s Ph.D. was awarded and the year the application was issued.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA solicitations can be found on their website, NSPIRES
Description: The goals of the program in astrophysics are to provide early-career researchers the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to lead astrophysics flight instrument development projects, including suborbital investigations, in preparation to become Principal Investigators (PIs) of future NASA astrophysics missions; to develop innovative technologies for space astrophysics that have the potential to enable major scientific breakthroughs; and to foster new talents by putting early career instrument builders on a trajectory towards long-term positions.
Description: NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants program awards grants to accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding faculty researchers early in their careers. The grants sponsor research in specific high-priority areas of interest to America's space program. The proposed principal investigator must be an untenured assistant professor on the tenure track at the sponsoring U.S. university at the time of award. They must be a U.S. citizen or have lawful status of permanent residency. Individual grants are funded up to $200,000 per year for as many as three years.
Description: 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. The Earth Science Division (ESD) places particular emphasis on the investigators' ability to promote and increase the use of space-based remote sensing through the proposed research.
- National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH)/National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Description: While not specifically targeted at early career researchers, the NEH offers a variety of grant programs for individuals and organizations that doe the highestquality work to promote the humanities. Please review their website for more information.
Description: The Summer Stipends program aims to stimulate new research in the humanities and its publication. The program works to accomplish this goal by providing small awards to individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. Summer Stipends support continuous full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two consecutive months. NEH funds may support recipients’ compensation, travel, and other costs related to the proposed scholarly research. Summer Stipends are awarded to individual scholars. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Description: While not specifically targeted at early career researchers, the NEA offers funding in four categories, including Grants for Arts Projects, Challenge America, Our Town, and Research awards. Please review their website for more information.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH provides robust information on Research Training and Career Development on their website.
Description: The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award supports highly innovative research from promising Early Stage Investigators (defined as those within 10 years of completing their terminal research degree or postgraduate clinical training and who have not yet received substantial NIH support).
Deadline: Letter of Intent - August; Full Proposal - September
Description: The program accelerates the entry of exceptional junior investigators (within 15 months after or 12 months before receiving their terminal research degree or completing postgraduate clinical training) into positions of independent research by omitting the traditional postdoctoral training period. The review places a strong emphasis on the qualities of the investigator and the environment provided by the host institution.
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
Description: Supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. The minimum award is $400,000 total for the five-year duration, except for the Directorate for Biological Sciences, the Directorate for Engineering, or the Office of Polar Programs, with a minimum total of $500,000 for the five-year duration.
Description: Supports research independence among early-career academicians who specifically lack access to adequate organizational or other resources. It will be used to support untenured faculty or research scientists (or equivalent) in their first three years in a primary academic position after the PhD, but not more than five years after completion of their PhD. Applicants for this program may not yet have received any other grants or contracts in the PI role from any department, agency, or institution of the federal government.