NIH Director’s Early Independence Award - 2021 (only for applications responsive only to the COVID-19 public health emergency)

Please note, only TWO applications from each BWH department (and TWO applications from each division within the Department of Medicine) may be submitted for this limited submission funding opportunity. Please seek approval from your department chair or division chief before submitting your application.




Please note, this is only for applications responsive to the COVID-19 public health emergency. AAll other Early Independence Award applications must be submitted in response to RFA-RM-20-014:


Program Details:

This award supports outstanding junior scientists with the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity launch independent research careers and bypass the traditional postdoctoral training period.

  • Single-PI applications only
  • Limited to two applications per institution
  • Visit the NIH Common Fund website for more information and FAQs


Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Common Fund will dedicate funds provided by the CARES Act to support a total of 5-10 Early Independence Awards (through this FOA) or Transformative Research Awards (through RFA-RM-20-020) that bring new, innovative perspectives and approaches to the prevention of, preparation for, or response to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, domestically or internationally. Any relevant area of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 research is welcome, including behavioral/social science research, research on health disparities, novel therapeutics, and other related topics. As with all High-Risk, High-Reward Research program applications, innovation may be technological or conceptual.


Funding and Award Details:

Up to $250,000 direct costs per year for up to 5 years


Time window for eligibility: Given the focus on early research independence, the receipt date of the terminal doctoral degree or end of post-graduate clinical training of the PD/PI must be between June 1, 2019 and September 30, 2021. The degree receipt date is that which appears on the official transcript for the degree. The end of post-graduate clinical training includes residency and fellowship periods. At the time of application, the PD/PI must not have served as a post-doctoral fellow following a previous (not the most recent) doctoral degree for more than twelve months.

Applications accepted from 06/05/2020 9AM to 07/08/2020 11PM.