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Junior Faculty Research Scholar awards support mentored research

Penn State College of Medicine’s Junior Faculty Research Scholar awards support mentored research and career development by junior faculty.

Responsive proposals may focus on basic science, clinical science, health care delivery or the translation of findings between those entities. The ultimate goal of the research should be to improve the health of Pennsylvanians. Priority will be given to scientifically meritorious applications from candidates with outstanding potential to successfully address important problems in biomedical/health research in their chosen field.

It is anticipated that successful projects will result in one or more peer-reviewed publications and provide the preliminary data needed to obtain competitive extramural research funding.


Submission information will be provided when applications are being accepted.

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RFA Details: Junior Faculty Research Scholar Awards

Eligibility Expand answer
  1. The principal investigator of a Junior Faculty Research Scholar award application must have their primary academic appointment in the College of Medicine at the rank of assistant professor. In addition to basic science faculty, virtually all physicians and psychologists employed by Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center have a primary academic appointment in the College of Medicine and are therefore eligible to apply.
  2. The principal investigator must not currently have a K01, K08, K23, K99/R00 or similar research career development award; and must not have served as principal investigator of an R01, R35 or R37 grant or other peer-reviewed, externally funded research grant of equivalent size, duration and competitive success rate such as the Impact and Innovator Awards funded by the Department of Defense. However, investigators who have served as principal investigator of an R03, R21, K22, R43/R44 or other similar external grant award are eligible to submit an application to this program if they meet the other eligibility criteria in this RFA. PIs of a previously funded Junior Faculty Research Scholar awards are not eligible to submit an application.
  3. The principal investigator must commit a minimum of 30 percent effort to research, including 10 percent effort to this project. If the PI proposes to devote more than 10 percent effort to the project, other funding is required to support the additional salary and fringe benefits.
  4. Principal investigators who are eligible for this program may submit one application in response to this RFA.
  5. Principal investigators of Junior Faculty Research Scholar awards may be eligible to apply for and receive other competitive institutional research grants, provided there is no scientific overlap between the projects.
Program Guidelines Expand answer
  • New proposals, as well as revised versions of previously unfunded proposals, to this program may focus on understanding of disease prevention, treatment methodologies and disparities in health status. The ultimate goal of the research should be to improve the health of Pennsylvanians.
  • Each principal investigator must identify a mentoring team of three or more experienced investigators to provide advice and assistance in developing and executing both a research proposal and a career development plan. If the award is funded, the mentoring team should meet with the awardee at least every three months.
  • Junior Faculty Research Scholar award applications may request up to $100,000 in direct costs per year for up to two years to support new research projects at Penn State College of Medicine or Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
  • Grant funds may be used to support the salary and fringe benefits of the principal investigator (10 percent) and research staff (in proportion to effort dedicated), student stipends, supplies, equipment, domestic travel, publication costs and expenses related to the use of human subjects.
  • Other funding is required to support the contributions of any collaborators from other colleges or campuses.
Review Process Expand answer

Junior Faculty Research Scholar award applications will undergo review by the College of Medicine Scientific Review Committee. Reviewers will evaluate:

  1. The scientific and technical merit of the research plan using the NIH review criteria and scoring metric. The SRC will evaluate (50 percent):
    • Significance of the proposed research project
    • Investigator(s) principal investigator training and prior research experience
    • Innovation of the proposal
    • Approach with regard to overall strategy, methodology, rigor and feasibility of the proposal
    • Environment and its contributions to the success of the proposal
  2. The necessity and appropriateness of the proposed career development plan (50 percent):
    • Critical role of the career development plan in achieving the proposed research
    • Qualifications and commitment of the mentoring team and its proposed role in providing guidance and advice to the principal investigator in the development of a robust research career
    • Commitment of the department to the further development of the principal investigator’s research career
Instructions for Preparing a Junior Faculty Research Scholar Award Budget in SIMS Expand answer

Create a two-year SIMS budget. Use PA Tobacco Settlement Fund (TSF) as the sponsor name. Start date TBD.

For each of year one and year two:

  • Up to $100,000 direct costs
  • Plus 20 percent F&A
  • Note: Total cost of out-of-state personnel, subcontractors or consultants must not exceed 2 percent of the total grant ($1,000)
  • Apply current NIH salary cap

Budget justification: Include a detailed budget justification for each budget year.

Questions regarding the SIMS budget process should be directed to the Office of Research Affairs at 717-531-8495.

Previous Awardees Expand answer

Previous recipients of funding from the Junior Faculty Research Scholar Award are listed here.

For Details

Questions on this award should be directed to Research Development at 717-531-6949 or researchdevelopment@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

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