A.P. Giannini Foundation

Fellowship Program

Overview of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 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.

Data gathered from 369 fellows (1951-2010) illustrates the impact that the Foundation has had on the career trajectories and professional lives of Giannini fellows.

  • 173 fellows work in California and 196 in other states
  • 217 fellows hold academic appointments
  • 76 work in industry
  • 37 work in non-academic medical practice settings
  • 16 work in private practice
  • 16 are employed at non-traditional research organizations
  • 7 work at government organizations.

In 2014, the Foundation 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.

Many commented they would like to mentor other fellows early in their scientific careers. Consequently, in 2014 the Foundation launched an annual colloquium to bring together former and current fellows for career mentoring and networking.

The Foundation is committed to the long-term career success of Giannini fellows in a broad-based and evolving economy. In 2015, the Foundation launched initiatives to foster the communication skills of fellows and to help them strategically navigate their scientific careers.

The 2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program

Objectives of Fellowship Program

The A.P. Giannini Foundation invites physician-scientists and junior researchers with 6-36 months of postdoctoral research experience to apply to the 2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program.

The Fellowship Program supports innovative research in the basic sciences and applied fields and trains fellows to become established investigators. The research should advance the translation of biomedical science into treatments, preventions and cures for human diseases.

Since 1951, the A.P. Giannini Foundation has awarded over 800 fellowships to postdoctoral biomedical researchers sponsored by California’s accredited medical schools. The Foundation expects to fund eight new fellowships in 2017 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 2017 program if they have completed no less than 6 months and no more than 3 years in their mentor’s laboratory as of November 1, 2016.

  • 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 2017 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.

Fellowship Stipends

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 $50,000 in Year 1, $50,000 in Year 2 and $52,000 in Year 3. The Foundation will announce the 2017 fellowship stipends by December 15, 2016.

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; however, candidates must state the source and amount of other income they expect to receive in their application.

Timetable for Application Submission, Evaluation and Funding

  • November 1, 2016 Deadline for Foundation to receive all applications and letters of reference.
  • December-January Scientific Advisory Committee evaluates all applications.
  • February 1, 2017 Foundation notifies applicants of their status in the review process.
  • March 2, 2017 Scientific Advisory Committee interviews finalists and selects awardees.
  • March 6, 2017 Foundation notifies finalists of the Scientific Advisory Committee’s decisions.

Notification to Candidates

  • The Foundation must receive the candidate’s completed application and letters of reference before 3:00 pm (Pacific Time) on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Please note the Foundation will not accept applications received after November 1, 2016 nor consider faxed or emailed applications. All Letters of Reference must be sent to info@apgianninifoundation.org.
  • 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 1, 2016 to March 2, 2017).
  • Competition for the A.P. Giannini Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 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, 2017.
  • Complete at least the first year of the fellowship before accepting another fellowship or traineeship.
  • 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 their 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.

Application Availability

Fellowship Program applications are available here: How to Apply

For further information, please call or e-mail Ken and John Blum, Administrative Directors, at (415) 981-2966 or info@apgianninifoundation.org.