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Early Investigator Advancement Program (EIAP)

Early Investigator Advancement Program (EIAP)

With the support of the NCI Equity Council, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) launched the Early Investigator Advancement Program (EIAP) in 2021 to facilitate the advancement of scientists from diverse backgrounds to become independent investigators.

The cancer research enterprise needs a continuous flow of talent through the research career pipeline to thrive. One critical juncture is the transition from junior investigator to independent investigator. The EIAP aims to enhance professional skills, guide preparation of an R01 grant application, provide access to a mentoring and peer network, and grow a community of emerging independent investigators from diverse backgrounds.

Each year, EIAP will support the professional and career development of a cohort of eligible and qualified Early Stage Investigators and New Investigators from institutions across the country. Cohort members will provide peer support for each other both during and beyond their participation in the program.

The Early Investigator Advancement Program is funded by the NCI Equity and Inclusion Program.

 

Is EIAP for Me?

Review the following statements to see whether EIAP is for you (see full eligibility criteria below):

  • I am a citizen or non-citizen national, or Permanent Resident of the United States.
  • I have never been a PI or MPI on an NIH R01 or equivalent grant before.
  • I am currently conducting cancer research or cancer-related research.
  • I hold a junior investigator position at my institution and qualify as an Early Stage Investigator or New Investigator.
  • My institution supports me in submitting an R01 application by October/November 2023.
  • I am prepared to work toward and submit an R01 application by October/November 2023.
  • NCI values diversity and particularly encourages applicants from populations underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, as noted in the NIH’s Notice of Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031). I contribute to a diverse cancer research workforce.
CRCHD Scholars at the 2019 Professional Development Workshop & Mock Review

The EIAP Experience

Build your grant preparation skills and prepare an R01 grant application! As an EIAP scholar, you will be guided through the grant-writing process from drafting grant sections through submission. You will also gain important insights into the process of NIH review committees. To start the program, you will take part in two half-day grant writing virtual seminars. Then, you will participate in a workshop accompanied by individual meetings to review and revise sections of your application prior to submission. Your full R01 application draft will be reviewed by one or more expert mentors and you will receive their feedback. Finally, you will participate in a mock review to gain insight into how R01 applications are reviewed by a NIH review committee.

Connect with mentors and grow your professional network! As an EIAP scholar, you will have the opportunity to connect with multiple mentors, including established investigators, scientists in different sectors as well as near-peer and peer mentors. Activities will be held for each EIAP cohort to encourage peer mentoring and community building. You will also have access to a virtual interactive platform where you may share tips and insights, build collaborations and contribute to and explore resources for researchers.

Learn and grow through a professional and career development webinar series! EIAP scholars will have access to a series of focused webinars important to aspiring researchers. These webinars may include, for example, research priorities at NCI, components and key elements of a grant proposal, how to be a proactive mentee, establishing and growing a research group, post-award grant management and other relevant topics.

Apply to EIAP

The Fiscal Year 2023 application period will open on October 1 and close on December 1. Applicants should expect to be informed of their status based on the timeline below. The target start date is March 1, 2023.

Early Investigator Advancement Program (EIAP) Timeline

To apply for the NCI Early Investigator Advancement Program (EIAP), the following documents should be combined into a single PDF file and emailed to EIAP@nih.gov. Please save the file as EIAP_Lastname_Firstname.

  • Cover Letter: Submit a signed cover letter (no longer than 2 pages, single spaced) that includes:
    • Name
    • Email Address
    • Current institution
    • Statement that you are a citizen, non-citizen national, or legal permanent resident of the United States. Do not send documentation with your application.
    • Statement indicating you have not previously received NIH R01 or equivalent funding as a Principal Investigator.
    • Statement indicating preparedness to submit an R01 (which includes a draft R01) by October/November, 2023 (see the "Draft R01" bullet below for full details). 
    • Statement indicating whether you are an Early Stage Investigator or New Investigator.
    • Your immediate and long-term career goals.
    • Indication if you belong to one or more of the groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as: individuals from racial and ethnic groups including Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Note: EIAP strongly encourages applications from underrepresented scientists in alignment with Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity. This information will not be used to determine your eligibility for an EIAP award.
    • Statement of contributions to enhancing diversity in the biomedical research workforce.
    • Cancer research type (i.e., basic, translational, behavioral/population, or clinical) and site (e.g., lung, brain, skin) if appropriate.
    • Please let us know how you heard about EIAP.
    • Please let us know what you are looking for in a mentor (e.g., qualities, areas of research, etc.)
    • Additional information you feel is relevant.
  • Draft R01: Your draft R01 (as a separate file) should include:
    • Project Summary/Abstract (1 page)
    • Specific Aims (1 page)
    • Research Strategy (no more than 10 pages) (Significance, innovation, approach, which includes research design, justification, expected outcomes and/or impact)
    • Statement indicating plan to submit IRB approval if applicable.
  • Institution Letter: Provide a letter from appropriate institution leadership in support of you to submit an R01 application by October/November, 2023, including indications that there will be institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available that will be adequate to support an R01 application. Describe any available current mentoring support for the candidate.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) (up to 10 pages): Include your academic history and research experience as well as any publications, grant applications/awards, honors, professional experience, including any service on scientific and/or peer review boards or sessions.
  • References: Provide information for two references who can comment on your potential as an R01 investigator. For each, include reference name, title(s), institution(s), address, email, and phone contact information. EIAP will request the letters directly from your references.

EIAP Eligibility

To be eligible for the EIAP:

  • Applicants must be citizens, non-citizen nationals or Permanent Residents of the United States.
  • Applicants must be Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators who are currently actively conducting cancer research or cancer-related research.
  • Applicants have not previously competed successfully for NIH R01 or R01 equivalent funding.
  • An applicant must be holding a current position at an institution that is eligible for an R01 application and is supportive of the applicant’s plans to submit an R01 application by October/November 2023.

NCI is particularly interested in encouraging applications from individuals who are from groups identified in NIH’s Notice of Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031) as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups who have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in NIH programs to enhance diversity. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see the OMB Revisions to the Standards for Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-1997-10-30/html/97-28653.htm).
  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. See NSF data at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/static/data/tab7-5.pdf.
  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the following criteria:
    1. Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Definition: https://nche.ed.gov/mckinney-vento/)
    2. Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families (Definition: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/focus-areas/foster-care)
    3. Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years (Definition: https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/income-eligibility-guidelines)
    4. Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (see https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018009.pdf)
    5. Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants (Definition: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/eligibility.html)
    6. Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child (Definition: https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-eligibility-requirements)
    7. Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer (https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health), or b) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas (qualifying zip codes are included in the file). Only one of the two possibilities in #7 need be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background definition.

      Students from low socioeconomic (SES) status backgrounds have been shown to obtain bachelor’s and advanced degrees at significantly lower rates than students from middle and high SES groups (see https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_tva.asp), and are subsequently less likely to be represented in biomedical research. For background see Department of Education data at https://nces.ed.gov/; https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_tva.asp; https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/advancing-diversity-inclusion.pdf.
  4. Literature shows that women from the above backgrounds (categories A, B, and C) face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields. (See, e.g., From the NIH: A Systems Approach to Increasing the Diversity of Biomedical Research Workforce https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008902/).

    Women have been shown to be underrepresented in doctorate-granting research institutions at senior faculty levels in most biomedical-relevant disciplines, and may also be underrepresented at other faculty levels in some scientific disciplines (See data from the National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, special report available at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/, especially Table 9-23, describing science, engineering, and health doctorate holders employed in universities and 4-year colleges, by broad occupation, sex, years since doctorate, and faculty rank).

    Upon review of NSF data, and scientific discipline or field related data, NIH encourages institutions to consider women for faculty-level, diversity-targeted programs to address faculty recruitment, appointment, retention or advancement.

Other Considerations

NCI encourages applications from scientists who participated in the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities' (CRCHD) Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE), CRCHD's Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE), NIH's National Research Mentoring Network, the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative, and/or the NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program.

Contact

You are encouraged to pose your questions to EIAP program staff. Please contact Ms. JoBeth McCarthy and Dr. Maria Jamela (Jay) Revilleza at EIAP@nih.gov.

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