Early Career Opportunities for Engineering Faculty

Federal Government

Department of Agriculture

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement Grants (FASE) Varies by program area A New Investigator is defined as an individual who does not have an extensive scientific publication record; has less than 5 years of postgraduate, career-track experience; and has not received Federal research funds as a faculty member (except a USDA-AFRI Seed Grants). there are no set-aside funds for New Investigators, general program funds can be used to fund a New Investigator application. No citizenship requirements.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
Army Research Office (ARO) Young Investigators Research Program (YIP) Anytime Information included in ARO Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Fundamental Research. This program is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. Nationals, and Permanent Residents holding tenure-track positions, and who have held their graduate degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent) for fewer than 5 years at the time of application.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigators Research Program (YIP)

June Supports scientists and engineers in Air Force mission-related basic research who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees within the last 7 years. This program is open to U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.

Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigators Research (YIP)

August Supports outstanding faculty members whose proposals address research areas (as described in the ONR Science and Technology Department section of ONR's website at www.onr.navy.mil) which are of interest to ONR program officers. This program is open to U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents who have received their doctorate on or after 01 January (current year - 7 years).

DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA)

October (Executive Summary); January (Proposal) The objective of this program 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. This program is open to U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, or foreign nationals currently on tenure-track or within 3 years of tenure date.

Department of Energy (DOE)

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
Office of Science (SC) Early Career Research Program November (preapplication); February (proposal) Supports SC research in the following relevant program areas: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and Basic Energy Sciences (BES) - Materials Science & Engineering; Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, & Biosciences; Computational Materials and Chemical Sciences. No more than 10 years can have passed between the year the PI’s Ph.D. was awarded and the year the application was issued (FMLA exceptions considered).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
New (Early Career) Investigator Program (NIP) in Earth Science varies; solicited every two years The NIP in Earth Science places particular emphasis on the investigators' ability to promote and increase the use of space-based remote sensing through the proposed research in areas of Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems, Climate Variability and Change, Water and Energy Cycle. NIP is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residences with a PhD no more than 5 years on or after January 1 the issuance date of the ROSES NRA.

Early Career Faculty (ECF), Space Technology Research Grants

varies, February (NOI, anticipated); April (Full, anticipated) ECF supports research to investigate unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies; 2018 topics: (1) Advancing Human-Robot Teams for Space Exploration, (2)    Terrain Mapping and Processing Algorithms, (3) Intelligent Calibration of Constellations of Sensors, (4) Advanced Thermal Control Materials for Exploration Spacecraft. The PI must be untenured and a U.S. citizen or permanent residence no later than August 1 following the proposal submission deadline.

Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowships for Early Career Researchers

varies (August anticipated for fellowship funds) RTF in Astrophysics supports skills development to lead astrophysics flight instrument development projects. PIs must first become an RTF Fellow and then apply for fellowship funds within two years. Fellow eligibility: untenured, U.S. Citizen/Permanent resident, received a Ph.D. on or after January 1 that is no more than 8 years before the issuance date of the ROSES NRA.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
Early Stage Investigator (ESI) for R01-Equivalent Grants varies R01-equivalent ESI applications with meritorious scores will be prioritized for funding. PI within 10 years of PhD who has not received a substantial NIH independent research award.

NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2)

varies, August (anticipated) High-risk, high-reward research program (5 years, $1.5M) for creative early career scientists.

Research Training and Career Development


Resources for early career researchers include:

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) July NSF’s most prestigious award for early-career faculty. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. PI must be a tenure-track assistant professor as of October 1 after the proposal submission. PIs may submit up to three CAREER competitions.

Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII)

August Purpose of this program is to provide essential resources to enable early-career PIs to launch their research careers (please verify your resource eligibility prior to submission). PI must be in their first 3 years of a tenure-track appointment.

The Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. The agencies participating in the PECASE Awards program are NSF, NIH, NASA, DoD, DOE, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of Education, and Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Nominations are done by the agencies and program officers.

Non-Federal Agencies

Foundations, Industry, and Societies:

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
Agilent Early Career Professor Award, Agilent Technologies Limited, February (anticipated)

Promote and encourage excellent research enabling measurements of importance to Agilent Technologies and the world and establish strong collaborative relationships between Agilent researchers and leading professors early in their career. Eligibility: PhD in last 10 years.

Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award

Limited, February (Nomination); April (Full Proposal) Establishing research programs that will lead to expanded availability of food and facilitate the global practice of sustainable agriculture. Eligibility: Hired in past 5 years, preference for near onset of career; any discipline/department.

ACS Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF) Grants, American Chemical Society

March (anticipated) Provide start-up funding for scientists and engineers in research areas including chemistry, the earth sciences, chemical and petroleum engineering, and related fields such as polymers and materials science. Eligibility: within the first 3 years of an Assistant Professor.

Packard Foundation Fellowships Science and Engineering

Limited submission, March Packard Fellows are inquisitive, passionate scientists and engineers who take a creative approach to their research, dare to think big and follow new ideas wherever they lead. Disciplines that are considered include physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, computer science, earth science, ocean science, and all branches of engineering. Eligibility: First 3 years of tenure track position. Two UCI nominations per year.

Young Investigators’ Research Grants, Human Frontier Science Program

March (LOI) Grants are awarded to teams of researchers from different countries, all of whom are within the first five years after obtaining an independent laboratory. Emphasis is placed on novel collaborations that bring together scientists preferably from different disciplines to focus on problems in the life sciences.

Research Scholar Grants, American Cancer Society

April and October Support projects across the cancer research continuum. Independent investigators in the first 6 years of an independent faculty appointment are eligible.

Pew Biomedical Scholars, Pew Charitable Trust

Limited submission, June Candidates should demonstrate outstanding promise as contributors in science relevant to human health. Strong proposals will incorporate particularly creative and innovative approaches. Candidates whose work is based on biomedical principles, but brings in concepts and theories from more diverse fields, are encouraged to apply. Eligibility: PhD in biomedical sciences, medicine or related field and within 3 years of assistant professor appointment. One UCI nomination per year.

Beckman Young Investigators (BYI) Program, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation

August (LOI) Supports the most promising young faculty members 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. Eligibility: U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident at time of application, within 3 years of tenure track position.

Searle Scholars Program

Limited submission, September Supports the most promising young faculty members 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. Eligibility: No citizenship requirements

Sloan Research Fellows (SRF), Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

September SRF awards supports the following eight fields: Chemistry, Computational and Evolutionary Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Ocean Sciences, Physics.  The Foundation strongly encourages the nomination of qualified women and minority candidates. Eligibility: Candidates must be untenured and hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, physics, or a related field. Engineering faculty are eligible if research fits into one of the eight SRF fields.

Microsoft Faculty Fellowship

Limited submission, September Two-year fellowship that recognizes innovative, promising early-career professors who are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research relevant to Microsoft. Eligibility: Within 5 years of PhD. One to two UCI nominations per year.

Rita Allen Scholars Program, Rita Allen Foundation

Limited submission, October Funds basic biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology and neuroscience. Rita Allen Foundation Scholars are distinguished by their bold approaches to basic scientific questions that address problems of global concern, as well as their potential for learning, leadership and collaboration. Eligibility: First 3 years of tenure track position. One UCI nomination per year.

Johnson & Johnson Women in STEMD Scholars Program (WiSTEM2D Scholars Program)

Limited submission, October Sponsoring women at critical points in their research careers, in each of the STEM²D disciplines: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing, design. Eligibility: assistant professor. UCI can nominate one person per discipline.

US National Awards: Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, New York Academy of Sciences

Limited, November To recognize the country's most promising faculty-rank researchers in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. Eligibility: Less than 40 years old. UCI can submit 3 nominations per year, one in each category.

** There are a number of early career/career development awards from nonfederal agencies associated with specific diseases/organs (e.g., cancer, diabetes, brain). These are not listed above, but more information can be found here: http://www.spo.berkeley.edu/fund/newfaculty.html or UCI Funding Search Tools (https://fundopp.uci.edu/search-tools/)