NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The Howard Hughes Medical Institute intends to help young biology and medical researchers get started in their fields through a $300 million funding program that will support as many as 70 scientists, HHMI said today.
Aiming to help early-career investigators who have their own labs in an era when National Institutes of Health funding has become more competitive and less plentiful, HHMI has launched the Early Career Scientist Program, which plans to offer six-year, non-renewable appointments to HHMI involving “substantial research support,” it said in a statement.
Recipients of the grants could come from a variety of fields, including biomedical research, chemistry, computer sciences and other areas. HHMI is seeking scientists who have had their own labs for between two and six years.
Because NIH funding has been flat over the last five years, the ECSP initiative “comes at a critical moment for the nation and the long-term health of its medical research infrastructure,” HHMI said.
“We decided to focus on scientists who have led their own laboratories for several years because many of these scientists are at a high point of their creativity just as they see their start-up funds and early-career awards ending,” HHMI President Thomas Cech said in a statement.
“Some of them may still be in line for their first NIH R01 grant, while others may have their first grant but are facing the very challenging first renewal of that grant,” Cech continued, adding that HHMI hopes to bridge this period of “career vulnerability.”
HHMI is asking researchers to submit letters of intent by April 30, while applications are due June 10. The institute also said it expects to start a similar competition in 2011.
Further information about the ECSP initiative can be found here.