Funding, Grant Writing, and Research
Funding, Grant Writing, and Research
If you are thinking about applying for funding during your time as a postdoc, it’s critical that you plan ahead! Many postdoctoral fellowships have time limitations, so it’s never too early to start considering funding opportunities, ideally within the first 2-6 months of your appointment. If you’re planning on writing/submitting a grant, be sure to talk with the grants administrator in your department before you get started.
For a continually updated list of selected funding opportunities for postdocs, be sure to subscribe to the Postdoc listserv to receive the weekly Postdocs Plugged-In newsletter!
Tips for finding funding:
- Many professional societies and foundations offer discipline-specific postdoctoral fellowships. Be sure to look into the societies that are most closely related to your research!
- The UIC Research Development Services team has created a curated list of funding opportunities for postdocs in Pivot. Pivot is a search tool for public and private funding announcements in addition to researcher profiles. These searches are updated on a weekly basis, and you can further refine these searches depending on your interests and expertise.
- RDS Curated Search for Postdoctoral and Early Career Opportunities in all fields (note: you must be logged in to see these opportunities in Pivot)
- Curated lists of postdoc grants and fellowships that can be filtered by citizenship:
- Postdoctoral funding repository maintained by Johns Hopkins University
- NIH Fogerty International Center (includes a filter to search for travel funding!)
- UW-Madison list of postdoctoral awards and fellowships
- UChicagoGRAD fellowship database
Many postdocs don’t realize it, but several career transition awards that serve to bridge the postdoc to faculty transition, including the NIH K99/R00 funding mechanism, have no citizenship requirement:
- NIH Career Transition K99/R00 Award
- Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s Career Awards at the Scientific Interface (CASI)
- UIC Bridge to the Faculty Program
Government Postdoctoral Fellowships (open only to US Citizens or Permanent Residents):
- NIH F32 Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships
- Institutional Training Grants at UIC
- UIC Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (K12 IRACDA): Chicago ARea Excellence in Education & Research (CAREER)
- NIH Career Development K Series (not including K99)
- NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships
Are you a non-biomedical STEM postdoc in an engineering, physical science, or quantitative field whose research isn’t typically funded by NIH? Check out the K25 Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award, which aims to attract to NIH-relevant research those investigators whose quantitative science and engineering research has thus far not been focused primarily on questions of health and disease.
Grant Writing Support
- If you are preparing an NIH grant, be sure to look into the NIH RePORTER tool. NIH RePORTER can help you find investigators at UIC with awarded grants. The Matchmaker tool allows you to enter your research abstract to help you find similar projects, determine appropriate institutional centers (ICs) to submit proposals for your research, and connects you with Program Officials who can answer your questions about the grant submission and review process.
- Do you need some guidance on preparing a K Award application for the NIH? Consider joining the weekly facilitated peer-to-peer support group for postdocs and junior faculty who are plan to submit NIH career (K) award grants, hosted by CCTS. Each group forms approximately 4 months prior to the following NIH K deadline (June/October/February). Dr. Kay Lund, Director of the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce, gives some great tips in a 25-minute YouTube video, “Writing an Effective ‘K’ Application,” originally presented at the Fall 2020 NIH Virtual Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration.
- The importance of using your mentoring team while preparing a grant cannot be overstated. Faculty members and other colleagues and postdocs in your department can help you find appropriate sources of funding, review your grant before you submit, and may be able to share examples of previously funded proposals.
- Submitting an NIH F- or K-series proposal? Check out examples of funded postdoctoral fellowships (F32s) and K-series grants, compiled by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Mentoring Relationships and Building a Mentoring Team
The mentoring relationship is a critical aspect of postdoctoral training. It is important to maintain regular communication with your PI or advisor, and to discuss your respective goals and expectations for the postdoctoral training period. The use of individual development plans can be very useful in helping to communicate your goals and formulate a training plan with your mentor. Commit to regular evaluations and work together to align your expectations with your PI. The creation of mentoring teams can help to address the different needs you may have during training and is a great opportunity for expanding your network.
- Postdoc Mentoring Compact, developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges
- Individual Development Plans:
- National Research Mentoring Network
- Resources for aligning your expectations, compiled by UW-Madison
- Mentoring resources from the National Postdoctoral Association
- Mentoring Map from the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
- Getting the Mentoring You Need-suggestions for building mentoring teams and relationships
Resources for Research
- Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
- UIC Library: Schedule a one-on-one online research consultation with a librarian for assistance with your research, to learn advanced skills or to identify sources in a specific subject area
- Information Technology@UIC: one-stop shopping for computing services and free software downloads
- Advanced Cyberinfrastructure for Education and Research (ACER): high performance computing
- Research Resources Center (RRC): UIC’s research core facilities
- Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL): UIC’s animal facility
- Environmental Health & Safety Office (EHSO)
- Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP): Pre- and post-award management
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for Postdocs
All trainees and scholars who receive support from Federal Grants must obtain training in RCR. In addition to NIH and NSF, other agencies may require RCR training. The type of training required may differ for various stages of training and among funding agencies. To meet this requirement, OVCR offers monthly RCR training for postdocs and faculty.