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 Office of Research Development 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.
- RD Curated Search for Postdoctoral and Early Career Opportunities in all fields (note: you must be logged in to see these opportunities in Pivot)
- Learn about fundamentals of funding at federal agencies, foundations, and in the private sector (see the recordings tab, here!)
- Curated lists of postdoc grants and fellowships that can be filtered by citizenship:
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.
- 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. Learn how to use this resource to find information to help target your application, find key contacts at NIH and in the grantee community,
- Do you need some guidance on preparing a K Award application for the NIH or other career development award? Consider joining the weekly facilitated peer-to-peer support group for postdocs and junior faculty who are planning to submit NIH career (K) or other career development award grants, hosted by CCTS. Each group forms approximately 4 months prior to the following NIH K deadline (June/October/February). Check out these YouTube videos, “Understanding Career Development “K” Awards” and “Writing an Effective ‘K’ Application.”
- 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.
- Have you ever wondered what a behind-the-scenes look at grant review looks like? Check out this video of NIH Peer Review: “Live” Mock Study Section with Q&A!
- Preparing an NIH F32 fellowship? See examples of funded F32 proposals here, collected by the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- Preparing an NIH K career development grant? See examples of funded K proposals here, collected by the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- The Wisconsin Center for Education Research has collected sample proposals from a variety of funders and funding mechanisms, here.
- Open Grants is a collection of full proposals, both funded and unfunded, for a variety of funders and funding mechanisms.
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
- 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
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.