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Postdoc applying grant

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:57 pm
by CYF
Hello,

As a postdoc, most probably, I can only apply to fellowship based on the preliminary data produced. But I have heard there are some institutes in the US that allow a postdoc to apply for independent grant if the research idea is good. Anyone has the information which institute(s) that might allow this?

Thanks.

Re: Postdoc applying grant

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:29 pm
by Craig B.
It depends to a degree how far along you are in your postdoc. If you're in your first couple of years, you should try and apply for fellowships. If you're much beyond that, you should look at career transition awards. There can be a time limit for eligibility for career transition awards, so be mindful of these cutoffs when planning out your career. Your institution and PI should be very supportive of submitting both types of applications.

If you're talking about R level independent grants, things are muddier. Many institutions don't allow postdocs to apply, but some do. You'll need the support of the institute's grant administrators. You will probably need approval of departmental higher-ups.

Keep in mind that you will be competing against people who are truly independent and that if you do go the R grant route you should be prepared to get dinged for being a postdoc by the study section.

Re: Postdoc applying grant

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:31 am
by BMK
To add to Craig B's comments (and keeping to the US side of things since you mentioned it),

1) I very much agree that what you apply for depends on where you are in your postdoc.

2) In almost all cases you need compelling preliminary data, it is nearly impossible to get funding on the strength of the research idea alone. How much prelim data is needed varies by grant, but generally earlier stage grants need substantially less than bigger grants.

3) There is an early independence award offered by the NIH, but that requires you to be within 12 months of terminal research degree, in non-independent position at time of application, and already have the support & commitment of host institution (in the U.S.). Not to mention they are one of the most competitive grants.

4) If you go the R route, start with something smaller, like an R03 (which is probably the most likely R an institution will allow a postdoc to apply for). If you apply for larger R's, it's not exactly that will get dinged for being a postdoc, you'll get dinged for not having a track record in both funding and publishing; i.e., against other R01 applicants, you'll look stronger if you've had other "starter" grants versus if you don't.

5) Besides NIH/NSF, there are private foundations that fund research. You could always look into those.