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The Howard Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has announced a $300 million competition to support the USA's best early career scientists in biological and medical disciplines.
The recipients of the seventy available awards will be selected from researchers who have led independent laboratories for two to six years at one of the 200 eligible U.S. medical schools, universities and research institutes. They will receive a six year, non-renewable funding award, which includes full salary and research support and will remain affiliated with their home institutes.
The initiative is designed to plug the funding gap for scientists who are nearing the end of the institutional start-up funds awarded with their first faculty position, and are therefore coming under pressure to apply for federal research grants.
"We know there is a tremendous need for flexible funding to support scientists who are two to six years into their independent research careers. This is a critical time for these scientists because many have not yet been able to obtain the kind of stable funding that would permit them to move their own research in creative new directions," said Jack Dixon, HHMI vice president and chief scientific officer.
HHMI plans to choose the recipients on the basis of "people, not projects" and hopes that the funding awards will allow these early career scientists the freedom to explore and, if necessary, to change the direction of their research.