Early Career Opportunities for Engineering Faculty

Federal Government

Department of Agriculture

Agency/Program Deadline Program Synopsis/Eligibility
AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program 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 USDA-AFRI Seed Grants and pre/postdoc fellowships). 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)

varies, 2021 call was March 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; 2021 topics: (1) Advanced Computational Techniques for the Development of Cryogenic Refrigeration Systems; (2) High-Fidelity Emulation of Full-Physics Models in Earth Science; (3) Joining Processes for Shape Memory Alloys to Enable Advanced Structural Applications. 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.

NIGMS Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) (R35)

October The goal of MIRA is to increase the efficiency and efficacy of NIGMS funding. MIRA grants will generally be for 5 years, for both established investigators and early stage investigators (different RFAs).

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)

September 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 PI may not submit a CRII proposal in the same calendar year in which he/she submits a CAREER proposal.

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

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.

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.

American Heart Association: Career Development Award Fall

Supports highly promising healthcare and academic professionals to explore innovative questions or pilot studies that will provide preliminary data and training necessary to assure the applicant’s future success as a cardiovascular research scientist. Eligibility: No more than five years may have elapsed since the first faculty/staff appointment (after receipt of doctoral degree) at the assistant professor level or equivalent. (~$200K/3yrs)

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.

Camile & Henry Dreyfus: Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program

Limited, November (Nomination) Supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences, including biochemistry, materials chemistry and chemical engineering. Eligibility: Nominees must hold a full-time tenure-track academic appointment, be after the fourth and not after the twelfth years of their independent academic careers, and be engaged in research and teaching primarily with undergraduates. ($100K/1yr)

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.

Genetics Society of America: Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award

April Women in the first one to three years of an independent faculty-level position doing genetics research in human and non-human mammals and in non-mammalian organisms. Eligibility: Applicants may come from anywhere in the world; US citizenship is not required. The applicant should be a woman in the first one to three years of an independent faculty-level position and their work must display originality and scientific creativity. ($75K/3yrs)

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. ($150K/3yrs)

Mark Foundation for Cancer Research: Emerging Leader Award

May (LOI); July (Application) Support to early career investigators conducting high-impact, high-risk cancer research for highly promising projects for which other sources of funding are not readily available or for a separate innovative endeavor that will allow the applicant to pursue a distinct and novel research direction. Eligibility: Applicants must be three to nine years from the start of an independent faculty research appointment; no citizenship requirement. ($750K/3 yrs)

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.

New York Stem Cell Foundation: Investigator Awards

February For early career investigators to be used for exploring the basic biology and translational potential of stem cells. The goal of this initiative is to foster bold and innovative scientists with the potential to transform the field of stem cell research, and advance understanding and use of stem cells in the development of treatments for human disease. Eligibility: Be within 6 years of starting a faculty position; Have demonstrated or strategized true innovation for translation of basic sciences to a clinical setting. ($1.5M/5yrs)

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.

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.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation, Inc. (PhRMA Foundation): Research Starter Grant

May (LOI);
September (Application)
The PhRMA Foundation offers financial support to individuals beginning independent research careers at the faculty level in drug delivery research, including basic pharmaceutics, biopharmaceutics, pharmaceutical technology, pharmaceutical biotechnology or biomedical engineering. Research Starter Grants support individuals in academia who do not have other substantial sources of research funding. ($100K/3yrs)

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Water Research Foundation: Paul L. Busch Award

June (Nomination/Self-nomination) To distinguish up-and-coming researchers who are making major breakthroughs in the water quality industry. The Awards Committee will judge research applications and nominations on the basis of innovation, creativity, feasibility, and the potential beneficial effect on the water environment. ($100K/1yr)

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.

** 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/)