Research Management Group (RMG)

NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (DP5) RFA-RM-17-008
*Request for Nominations*

**$1.25M Limited NIH program—a university-wide internal selection process is required. The NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards provide an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists to accelerate their entry into an independent research career by forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period. To be eligible, candidates at time of application (Sept. 22, 2017), the date of receipt of the terminal doctoral degree or the completion of clinical residency of the PD/PI must be between June 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018. [The clinical fellowship period is NOT included in the clinical residency or equivalent training period.]

In addition, at time of application, candidates must not be in an independent position (as defined below). Please see the eligibility criteria below. Nominations from the Schools of Medicine, Humanities and Sciences and Engineering are encouraged.**



The internal deadline for 2017 has passed. This webpage is for your reference only.   A separate announcement will be distributed in 2018 if the program announcement is reissued.


# of applicants permitted from Stanford: 2 (see internal submission guidelines below)

Internal deadline for nomination packets: Tuesday., June 13, 2017, 5 p.m. (see internal submission guidelines below)
NIH Letter of intent deadline:  Aug. 22, 2016
NIH Application receipt date:  Sept. 22, 2017

Program Guidelines:

Please see the Stanford eligibility clarification and other information before reading the NIH guidelines.

FAQ webpage:

Stanford recipients: 1 in 2011, 2 in 2012, 1 in 2013, 2 in 2014; none in 2015; 1 in 2016.

Amount of funding: $250,000 direct costs /yr (plus indirect costs) x 5 yrs. $1.25 million in total direct costs.
Up to 10 to be awarded in 2018.

This FOA issued by the National Institutes of Health, solicits applications for the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award (DP5) from institutions or organizations that propose to appoint and support exceptional, early career scientists directly following the completion of their Ph.D. (or equivalent) or, for clinical candidates, the completion of their medical residence, into an independent academic research position (an Instructor appointment, not a Clinical Instructor appointment, here at Stanford), thereby omitting the traditional post-doctoral training period from their career path.

Eligibility --please read carefully

IMPORTANT-PLEASE READ: Although traditional post-doctoral training is likely most appropriate for the majority of new Ph.D.s and, for clinical candidates, [M.D.s who have completed their medical residence], the DP5 applicant must be amongst " a pool of talented young scientists who have the intellect, scientific creativity, drive and maturity to flourish independently without the need for traditional post-doctoral training."

1) At the time of application (by Sept. 22, 2017), the Early Independence PI must:

2) At the time of award to the sponsoring Institution, the Early Independence PI must either:

3) Research independence at time of application:
Individuals are eligible only if they, at the time of application submission, do not have research independence. Lack of research independence is defined functionally rather than by position title. Eligible individuals must have all the following characteristics:

4) Level of effort:
Individuals must commit at least 9.6 person-months (i.e., 80% effort of a 12 month appointment) during the first two years of the project period to research supported by the Early Independence Award. In the final three years of the project period, awardees may reduce effort toward the Early Independence Award, but the total effort towards independent research must remain at least 9.6 person-months (i.e., 80% effort of a 12 month appointment).


STANFORD ELIGIBILITY CLARIFICATION: per Dr. Ann Arvin the Dean of Research Office:

  • The type of academic research appointment for a DP5 PI, if funded, here at Stanford would be an "Instructor" position [not a clinical instructor posItion] [**per the guidelines, the appointment need not be permanent, and can be contingent upon receipt of funding]
  • the department must confirm that the candidate, if funded, would be provided dedicated lab space, equipment and administrative support.
  • the department must provide Institutional commitment to permit the PI to conduct full-time, independent research, excepting
  • the minimal clinical commitments required for clinician researchers and minimal, optional teaching commitments

You must check with the nominee regarding:




By  Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 5 p.m.., please send 2 PDF files via email attachment to:

Jeanne Heschele
Research Management Group

Institutional representative: you do not have to submit your internal proposal through the RPM in RMG. You can submit it directly to Jeanne.


#1 One PDF file containing a scanned copy of the original signed nomination letter (#1 below) should be kept confidential and sent directly to Jeanne Heschele at
[file name: Nominee Last name_NIH_EIA_letter.pdf]
#2 One PDF file containing the items #2, #3, #4 below-- title page, research proposal, candidate's CV (in that order, please)--can be sent separately to Jeanne Heschele at
[file name: Nominee Last name_NIH_EIA_proposal.pdf]

PDF file #1: Nominator letter

Nominator letter [confidential]-to be sent separately to Jeanne by the nominator/department
Nominator (candidate's faculty advisor): please send the PDF of the scanned original letter directly to:
Jeanne Heschele
Research Management Group

This nominator letter, prepared by the nominee's scientific faculty advisor, and co-signed by the Division Chief (if applicable) and the Department Chair, printed on department letterhead, and addressed to Dr. Peter Sarnow and the School of Medicine Awards Committee must:

PDF file #2 (a single PDF file containing the title page, research proposal and CV)

2) Title Page
Name of this RFA: NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (DP5) RFA-RM-17-008
Title of the nominee's research proposal
Name of Nominee, current title, department, institution, contact information
Ph.D. candidates: the official date the Ph.D. was obtained, or the date the Ph.D. will be completed [Reminder: at the time of the application (Sept. 22, 2017), the date of receipt of the terminal doctoral degree of the PD/PI must be between June 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018.]
Clinical candidates: the official date the medical residence was completed or will be completed. [Reminder: at the time of the application (Sept. 22, 2017), the candidate the date of the completion of clinical residency of the PD/PI must be between June 1, 2016 and September 30, 2018.]
Name of nominator: advisor, title, department, contact information
Name of department chair, department, contact information

3) Research proposal -indicating specific aims, etc. (4 page limit- references and figures are not included in the page total).
Format: Arial or Helvetica font size 11 or larger. 1/2 inch margins, Single-spaced.
REMINDER: Per the guidelines: the research plan must be in a scientific area relevant to the NIH mission for which the investigator has demonstrated expertise.

4) Nominee's CV

Selection process
The School of Medicine Awards Committee will review the nomination packets submitted from all Schools and select the two DP5 Principal Investigators (PI's) to represent Stanford. The NIH application deadline is Sept. 22, 2017.



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