The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates and Simons foundations, has announced a joint initiative to support outstanding early-career scientists in the United States.
Over the first five years of the new Faculty Scholars Program, the three grantmakers will invest a total of $148 million in research support, with up to seventy grants awarded every thirty months to promising scientists who have great potential to make unique contributions to their field. Faculty Scholars, who must devote at least 50 percent of their total effort to the direct conduct of research, will receive a five-year, non-renewable grant ranging from $100,000 to $400,000 per year in support of direct costs. The recipient's institution will receive an additional 20 percent of the annual grant for administrative costs.
"Scientific innovation is the engine that underpins the discovery and development of new vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and other interventions needed to address global health inequities that stand in the way of seeing that all individuals, no matter where they live, have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives," said Chris Wilson, director of discovery and translational sciences at the Gates Foundation.
The program is open to basic researchers and physician scientists at more than two hundred and twenty eligible institutions who bring innovative approaches to the study of biological problems. Preference will be given to those conducting research at the interface of the biological and physical sciences as well as physician scientists and others studying biological questions emerging from and applicable to global human health problems, including malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, and other diseases that disproportionately affect individuals living in low-resource settings. Women and minorities underrepresented in the biomedical sciences also are strongly encouraged to apply to the program.
"There is no doubt the downward trend in research funding in the United States is hitting early career scientists very hard," said HHMI president Robert Tjian. "We need to identify, nurture, and support our best scientific talent. With this new program, HHMI, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Simons Foundation will provide funding, mentoring opportunities, and other critical resources to encourage early-career scientists."