The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award Program provides a mechanism for exceptional, early career scientists to bypass traditional postdoctoral training and move into independent academic positions directly upon completion of their graduate degrees (Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent). Early Independence Award projects will receive up to $250,000 in direct costs each year for up to 5 years. The deadline for submitting applications is January 30, 2012, and the NIH expects to issue 10 awards through this program in 2012.
NIH Director Francis Collins published a commentary explaining why the NIH is launching an effort to help some doctoral students dramatically reduce the time required to start an independent career. Scientists Need a Shorter Path to Research Freedom, Nature, Vol.467, 7 October 2010.
Additional information, including frequently asked questions about the program and a list of the 2011 awardees, is available at the Early Independence Award website.