NIH Director's Early Independence Award

Funding opportunities for outstanding early career scientists ready for independence

NIH Director's Early Independence Award

Part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the award supports outstanding junior scientists with the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity bypass the traditional postdoctoral training period to launch independent research careers.

  • Must complete doctoral degree or clinical training within ~1 year at submission
  • Must be in non-independent research position at time of application
  • Single PI only
  • Preliminary data not required
  • $250,000 direct costs per year for up to 5 years
  • Minimum of 80% research effort in first 2 years
  • 3-5 Letters of Reference required
  • Only 2 applications allowed per institution

Application Information


Funding Opportunities
FY 2021

Non-COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-014
Closed September 4, 2020

COVID-19 Proposals: RFA-RM-20-021
Closed September 4, 2020

Notice of Clarification for Post-Submission Material Policy During COVID-19 Pandemic

               NIH Director's New Innovator Award FAQs



Q&A Webinar (June 29, 2020)

NIH program and review staff discussed the funding opportunity and answered questions from prospective applicants in a pre-application interactive Q&A webinar. The video and slides of the webinar are now available. An audio described version of the webinar is forthcoming and will be posted when available. If you need assistance before the audio described version is posted, please contact us at

Click to download slides of webinar presentations


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This page last reviewed on October 21, 2020