Physical Sciences Early Career Opportunities

Please note: ALL due dates are approximate and subject to change, and that the award call must always be consulted for the due date in the current year.




Program Synopsis/Eligibility

AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program - Standard or Seed Grants

Varies by program area (typically Aug-Oct annually)

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). No citizenship requirements. There are no set-aside funds for New Investigators, general program funds can be used to fund a New Investigator application. Note: UCI is not eligible for FASE grants.



Program Synopsis/Eligibility

Army Research Office (ARO) Young Investigators Research Program (YIP)


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)


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; anticipated July

Supports outstanding faculty members whose proposals address research areas (as described in the ONR Science and Technology Department section of ONR's website at 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)

Fall/late fall; anticipated December (Executive Summary); Feb. (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.



Program Synopsis/Eligibility

Office of Science (SC) Early Career Research Program (ECRP)

January (pre-application), April (full 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).

ARPA-E Inspiring Generations of New Innovators to Impact Technologies in Energy (IGNIITE)

January (concept paper)

Supports early-career innovators to develop the most disruptive and unconventional ideas into transformative new technologies across the full spectrum of energy applications. Early-career is pre-tenure; U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or have applied for a U.S. Green Card by the time of submission of proposal.



Program Synopsis/Eligibility

Early Career Investigator Program in Earth Science (ECIP-ES)


The Earth Science Division (ESD) places particular emphasis on the investigators' ability to promote and increase the use of space-based remote sensing, the integration of space-based remote sensing data with other datasets (e.g., surface, air) and into models, and the delivery of actionable Earth science. To be eligible a PI must be a recent Ph.D. recipient, defined as having graduated on or after January 1 of the year that is no more than six years before the issuance date of this ROSES.

Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Research Grants Program: Early Career Faculty (ECF) and Early Stage Innovators (ESI)

Varies; February (NOI), April (Full) anticipated

Supports research to investigate unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies.

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.



Program Synopsis/Eligibility

Early Stage Investigator (ESI) for R01-Equivalent Grants


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)


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:



Program Synopsis/Eligibility

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)


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)


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 AGENGIES (i.e., Foundations, Non-profits, UCOP, and Industry)



Program Synopsis/Eligibility

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

March and September

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.

American Mathematical Society: Centennial Fellowships


The program makes awards to outstanding mathematicians to help further their careers in research. Recipients shall have held the doctoral degree for at least three years and not more than twelve years at the inception of the award. Recipients may not hold the Fellowship concurrently with another major research award.

American Society for Mass Spectrometry: Research Awards


The program is open to academic scientists within four years of joining the tenure track faculty or equivalent. Awards are $35,000.

Agilent Early Career Professor Award, Agilent Technologies

February / UCI limited to one application/yr (Dec/Jan internal deadline 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 within 12 years of award year.

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

August (LOI), January (Full proposal)

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

August (Nomination) / UCI limited to one application/yr

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. ($75K/1yr)

Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) Foundation for Foo9d and Agriculture Research (FFAR) New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award

February (Nomination); April (Full Proposal) / UCI limited to one application/yr

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.

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

October / UCI limited to six applications/yr, one in each discipline

Sponsoring women at critical points in their research careers, in each of the STEM²D six disciplines: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing, design. Eligibility: assistant professor. ($150K/3yrs)

Microsoft Faculty Fellowship

February / UCI limited to three applications/yr

Two-year fellowship that recognizes innovative, promising early-career professors who are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research relevant in computer science or a related field. Eligibility: Within 5 years of PhD. 

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

November / UCI limited to three nominations/yr, one in each category

To recognize the country's most promising faculty-rank researchers in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. Eligibility: Less than 40 years old. 

Packard Foundation Fellowships Science and Engineering

April / UCI limited to two nominations/yr

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. 

Research Corporation for Science Advancement: Cottrell Scholars


Eligible applicants are tenure-track faculty members who hold an appointment in a chemistry, physics or astronomy department. Eligibility is limited to faculty at the end of third year of first faculty appointment.

Research Corporation for Science Advancement: Scialog


Scialog supports early career faculty to expand research in a focused area of high scientific importance. Within each multi-year initiative, Fellows collaborate in high-risk discovery research on untested ideas and communicate their progress in annual closed conferences.

Searle Scholars Program

September / UCI limited to two nominations/yr

Supports the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry. Eligibility: No citizenship requirements; first appointment to an assistant professor, tenure-track position must have begun on or after May 1 two years prior to deadline year.

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


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. 

UC Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program: New Investigator Award


This award supports new investigators in an independent research program in their research career in the focus areas covered under TRDRP research priorities. Investigators from California not-for-profit organizations are eligible.

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)



Program Synopsis/Eligibility

Alzheimer’s Association: Research Grants 

March (LOI)

The association offers several grant programs that provide support for new investigators, including Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant and Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity.

American Cancer Society: Research Scholar Grants 

April and October

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

American Heart Association: Career Development Award


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)

Breast Cancer Alliance: Young Investigator Grant

March (LOI), July (Full Application) / UCI limited to two nominations/yr

This grant is meant for those at an early stage in their research career to help provide seed funding for the research required to apply for larger, longer term grants, often with the NIH. ($125K/2yrs)

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation: Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award


The Award is designed to provide support for the next generation of exceptionally creative thinkers with “high risk/high reward” ideas that have the potential to significantly impact our understanding of and/or approaches to the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of cancer. Eligibility: Tenure-track Assistant Professors within the first five years of obtaining their initial Assistant Professor position.

Genetics Society of America: Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award


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)

Human Frontier Science Program: Early Career Research Grants 

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.

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)

New York Stem Cell Foundation: Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Awards


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)

Pew Charitable Trust: Pew Biomedical Scholars 

June / UCI limited to one application/yr

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)

Searle Scholars Program

September / UCI limited to two nominations/yr

Supports the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry. Eligibility: No citizenship requirements; first appointment to an assistant professor, tenure-track position must have begun on or after May 1 two years prior to deadline year.

UC California Breast Cancer Research Program: Innovative, Developmental, and Exploratory Awards

October (LOI)

Researchers at a career level beyond postdoctoral training and less than three years as an independent investigator, or entering research from another field, are encouraged to apply for IDEA grants.

UC Cancer Research Coordinating Committee: New Assistant Professor Awards

January (LOI)

CRCC is a systemwide, faculty-directed cancer research program that provides competitive intramural research awards for topics in any discipline that address any aspect of cancer, including its origins, detection, prevention and cure.


** 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: or UCI Funding Search Tools (


UCI Unit/Program


Program Synopsis/Eligibility

Academic Personnel: Hellman Fellows Program

Late January (internal Phys Sci deadline, anticipated)

Supports the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research. Funds awarded are intended as one-time support for activities that will enhance the individual’s progress towards tenure. Eligibility: Non-tenured, ladder rank faculty who have served at least two years at the assistant professor rank by September of award year. Assistant Professors who will be considered for tenure in that academic year will not be eligible to apply. For more information, please contact: Kerry Kick, Director of Personnel, School of Physical Sciences,

Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center: Anti-Cancer Challenge Pilot Research 

March, anticipated

Basic, translational, or population-based cancer science projects Eligibility: The PI must meet the basic eligibility requirements and be an early-stage investigator (ESI) as defined by NIH. Early-Stage Investigator ($20K)

Conte Center: Seed Funding Opportunity

June, anticipated

We are seeking studies employing innovative concepts and/or cutting-edge methods. Proposals may involve human subjects or animal models or both. Projects employing molecular (including epigenetics and bioinformatics), cellular, circuit / systems or functional/behavioral in vivo approaches, in vivo- imaging, or computational / modeling strategies and multidisciplinary approaches are welcome. Eligibility: UCI full-time Assistant Professors, Project Scientists, and Senior Post-Docs are eligible. $30K

ICTS (Institute for Clinical & Translational Science) KL-2 Career Development Program

May, anticipated

Supports a period of mentored or independent career development in preparation for a role as an independent researcher (mentored K), or to enable and expand the grantee’s potential to make significant contributions (independent K) in the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical sciences. Eligibility: Postdoc position/early tenure; no external funding >$100K; 75% dedicated effort (requires teaching/service release).

Office of Inclusive Excellence: Dependent Care Travel Awards

Fall, Winter and Spri

All academic senate members who are parents or primary caregivers of a child age 6 years or younger (at time of application) are eligible to apply. Awardees must be at least 50% primary caregiver. Priority will be given to assistant professors. $1K

UCI Cancer Research Institute: Cancer Research Proposals


Provides seed money for eligible faculty in the area of cancer research.  Research in both basic and clinical cancer – related problems will be supported. It is expected that this seed money will allow for the development of nationally competitive proposals for peer-reviewed funding. Eligibility: Investigators within the first SIX years of their first independent faculty position; Awardees may not hold a competitive grant from a national agency (e.g. NIH). $60K/yr

UCI MIND – UCI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) Developmental Grant Program


UCI ADRC seeks to translate research findings into improved diagnosis, treatment, and care for people living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s disease, and related disorders, and to ultimately discover means to prevent and cure these conditions. Eligibility: Open to all UC Irvine faculty members, with preference for investigators who are pre-tenured and/or new to the field of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research. $200K/2yrs