Overview of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship & Career Development Award Program
The A.P. Giannini Foundation has played an important role in science philanthropy since its inception in 1945. The Foundation has distributed nearly $30 million to fund innovative research that advances the translation of biomedical sciences into treatments, preventions and cures for human diseases. Recent fellowship awards have supported research into heart disease, influenza, leukemia, embryonic development, Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s diseases, autism, immunity and aging and novel therapies to address fertility issues, cystic fibrosis, melanoma, Hepatitis B, diabetes, prostate and lung cancer, kidney disease and follicle reconstitution.
A.P. Giannini fellows are among the most highly respected medical and scientific investigators in their respective fields and have served as mentors to succeeding generations of young scientists. Fellows have held leadership positions at schools of medicine, the public sector and industry, including: Roche, Gilead, Calico, the National Institutes of Health, White House, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, UCSF, Harvard University and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, to name a few.
The Foundation recently distributed an electronic survey to 254 fellows to assess their fellowship experiences, satisfactions and career trajectories. Of the 104 responses received, the majority of fellows stated the fellowship provided a unique opportunity to develop their scholarly agenda and played an important role in launching their careers. Follow-up interviews generated opportunities for fellows to “tell the story of their careers” and revealed three main themes:
- The importance of the initial interview experience.
Fellows reflected on the impact that the Foundation interview had on their professional identities, with many suggesting that it was an experience that signified a turning point in their lives.
- The validating effect of the fellowship award.
The fellowship validated the awardees not only in the eyes of their peers but in their self-perception. The award fostered a sense of credibility in their research and confidence in their future; provided freedom to develop a new set of skills in a protected environment; created opportunities to publish and to compete for academic positions; and led to larger awards and federal grants. All fellows indicated the award played a significant role in their career development, even if their careers took unexpected twists.
- Former fellows would like to participate in a community of A.P. Giannini Fellows.
In response to former fellows commenting that they would like to mentor other fellows early in their scientific careers, the Foundation launched an annual colloquium to bring together former and current fellows for career mentoring and networking. Subsequently, the Foundation initiated workshop trainings to foster communication skills, develop leadership skills and help fellows strategically navigate their scientific careers.
The 2018 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship & Career Development Award Program
The A.P. Giannini Foundation invites physician-scientists and junior researchers with 3-36 months of postdoctoral research experience to apply to the 2018 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship & Career Development Award Program.
The Fellowship & Career Development Award Program supports innovative research in the basic sciences and applied fields and trains fellows to become established investigators and to pursue scientific leadership positions in academia, industry, public and non-traditional career pathways. The research should advance the translation of biomedical science into treatments, preventions and cures for human diseases.
Since its inception, the A.P. Giannini Foundation has awarded over 850 fellowships to postdoctoral biomedical researchers sponsored by California’s accredited medical schools. The Foundation expects to fund eight new fellowships in 2018 on a competitive, peer-review basis for a maximum of three years based on satisfactory performance.
Eligibility and Qualifications of Applicants
Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to apply to the 2018 program if they have completed no less than 3 months and no more than 3 years in their mentor’s laboratory as of December 31, 2017.
- The starting date of postdoctoral studies should be well documented and easily verifiable. Applicants with tenure-track research positions or faculty appointments are ineligible.
- Applicants must be United States citizens or permanent alien residents. They must hold or complete an MD; MD/PhD; PhD or equivalent degree before they activate the fellowship.
- Applicants must arrange their research training before they apply to the 2018 program. The research training program must be sponsored by an accredited California medical school and performed under the mentorship of a principal investigator at the sponsoring medical school. The mentor must hold a full-time faculty appointment at the sponsoring medical school as the fellow. The mentor may supervise a maximum of two A.P. Giannini Foundation fellows in any one year.
Fellows receive a competitive stipend for their research training and an annual allowance for career development programs, services and resources to maximize their postdoctoral experience.
Stipend payments are sent directly to the sponsoring medical school and can be used only for salary support of the fellow. No deductions are allowed for benefits, departmental or institutional overhead. The current fellowship stipends are $51,000 in Year 1, $52,000 in Year 2 and $53,000 in Year 3. The Foundation will announce the 2018 fellowship stipends by December 15, 2017.
Candidates may be eligible to obtain additional salary support from their sponsoring institution but cannot concurrently hold a full fellowship from another source or a federally funded career development award. Other income will not preclude favorable consideration.
Timetable for Application Submission, Evaluation and Funding
The Foundation must receive the candidate’s completed application and letters of reference before 3:00 pm (Pacific Time) on Monday, November 6, 2017. Please note the Foundation will not accept applications received after November 6, 2017 nor consider faxed or emailed applications. All Letters of Reference must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
During December and January, the Scientific Advisory Committee evaluates all applications and will notify candidates of their status in the review process by February 1, 2018. The Committee will interview finalists on March 1, 2018 and select the 2018 awardees.
Applicants must use the 2018 Application Form to apply to the 2018 Research Fellowship & Career Development Award Program. They should work with their prospective mentor and grants officer to prepare the application in advance of the deadline to avoid errors and omissions. The 2018 application form and instructions are also available at the website www.apgianninifoundation.org.
Notification to Candidates
The Foundation will notify candidates by email when their application is complete. Candidates must notify the Foundation if they accept another fellowship at any time during the application and review process (November 6, 2017 – March 1, 2018).
Competition for the A.P. Giannini Postdoctoral Research Fellowship & Career Development Award Program is intense. Less than ten percent of candidates who apply receive awards. The Foundation does not provide successful or unsuccessful candidates with critiques of their applications or their rankings in the review process.
Scientific Advisory Committee Review Criteria
The Scientific Advisory Committee places strong and equal emphasis on evaluating the academic record and potential of the candidate, the scientific innovation and medical significance of the research, the quality and nature of the proposed mentorship and the candidate’s plan to develop skills and experience to achieve career development.
The Committee emphasizes the following criteria in selecting candidates to interview:
- The originality and the scientific and medical importance of the proposed research.
- The relevance of the research into the treatment, prevention and cure for human diseases.
- The accomplishments of the candidate as demonstrated in peer-reviewed publications and letters of recommendation.
- The commitment of the candidate to a career in biomedical research.
- The commitment of the principal investigator to provide significant and personalized leadership to mentor the candidate and support his/her career development.
- The accomplishments of the principal investigator in the candidate’s field of inquiry.
Conditions of Fellowship Award
Fellows must comply with the following conditions of the fellowship award:
- Activate the fellowship between April 1 and December 1, 2018.
- Complete at least the first year of the fellowship before accepting another full fellowship.
- Attend the Foundation’s annual colloquium and career development workshops.
- Notify the Foundation promptly if their plans change and they are unable to continue the fellowship. The fellowship cannot be transferred to a different institution or mentor.
- Devote at least 80% of time to research. Fellows may include time for clinical work.
- Send the Foundation a brief report at the end of the first, second and third years of the fellowship summarizing the progress of their research project and fellowship experience.
- Acknowledge the support of the A.P. Giannini Foundation in all published papers resulting from their research and provide the Foundation with one reprint of each publication.