Junior Faculty Seed Award
Junior Faculty Seed Award

The Baylor College of Medicine Junior Faculty Seed funding program supports new investigators at the assistant professor level who are beginning their careers as independent researchers. The purpose of this award is to help prepare junior faculty members to submit applications to obtain independent research funding. Several awards of $30,000 each are available for Fiscal Year Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020). These funds are unrestricted and must be spent in the fiscal year in which they are awarded.

Applicants must be full-time, tenure-track assistant professors appointed on or after Jan. 1, 2016 with appointments approved by the President and Board of Trustees at the time of application, and beginning no later than July 1, 2019.

Applicants may not have already received awards qualifying as independent scientist awards. Examples of these awards include, but are not limited to NIH R01 awards, appointments to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and other awards providing similar degrees of support for three or more years. Specifically excluded from consideration in this regard are start-up packages for new faculty and recruitment awards such as from CPRIT. Seed fund grant recipients must serve as the principal investigator on the funded project. Investigators who have previously received support through this program are not eligible to apply again. The single specific aim of the Junior Faculty Seed application must be accomplishable within the $30,000 budget.

All applicants will receive NIH-style reviews from a review committee with extensive NIH reviewing experience.

The deadline is 05:00 PM CST on Thursday, April 25, 2019 for funding period July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020. Application instructions and FAQs are below. Application materials should be submitted online.

For more information or for questions, please contact awards@bcm.edu.

Application Instructions [.pdf]
Frequently Asked Questions [.pdf]

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be full-time, tenure-track BCM Assistant Professors appointed on or after Jan. 1, 2016 with appointments approved by the BCM President and Board of Trustees at the time of application and beginning no later than July 1, 2019. Investigators who have previously received support through this program or have already received an R01 grant or other independent investigator award exceeding $200K/year in directs are not eligible to apply again. This does not include College seed packages or recruitment awards.

Instructions for Preparing Your Proposal

Please read and follow the instructions carefully. The application must be single spaced and have at least 1/2” margins. Please use 11 point Arial font. Upload all documents as PDFs. This application is modeled after NIH R01 and R03 guidelines. Visit https://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/critiques/rpg.htm to see what reviewers will look for in each submission.

Please submit applications online through the Junior Faculty Award Submission Site. Only the PI may create, access, and submit the proposal. It will then go to the same signatories as in BRAIN eSP2. Please attach the following to your proposal:


  1. Specific Aim (maximum 1 page)
  2. Research Plan (maximum 4 pages)
  3. Response to Reviewers if a RESUBMISSION Proposal (maximum 1 page)
  4. Literature Cited (no page limit)
  5. NIH-style Biographical Sketch
  6. Budget and Budget Justification
  7. Letter of Support
  8. Project Narrative
  1. SPECIFIC AIM (maximum 1 page)

    State concisely the goals of the proposed research and summarize the expected outcome(s), including the impact that the results of the proposed research will have on the research field(s) involved.

    List succinctly the specific objectives of the research proposed (e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop new technology).

    Describe how completion of the proposed aim will provide key preliminary data or demonstrate feasibility necessary for submission of a major external funding application such as an R01 application to NIH.

    This link may be helpful and contains successful examples of specific aims: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/draft-specific-aims.

  2. RESEARCH PLAN (maximum 4 pages)

    Include the following:

    1. Significance – Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress that the proposed project addresses. Describe the scientific premise for the proposed project, including consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of published research or preliminary data crucial to the support of your application. Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields.
    2. Innovation – Explain how the application challenges and seeks to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms. Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions. Explain any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.
    3. Approach – Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aim of the project. Describe the experimental design and methods proposed and how they will achieve robust and unbiased results. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted, as well as any resource sharing plans as appropriate. Resources and tools for rigorous experimental design can be found at the Enhancing Reproducibility through Rigor and Transparency website.

    For trials that randomize groups or deliver interventions to groups, describe how your methods for analysis and sample size are appropriate for your plans for participant assignment and intervention delivery. These methods can include a group- or cluster- randomized trial or an individually randomized group-treatment trial. Additional information is available at the Research Methods Resources webpage. Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aim. If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility, and address the management of any high risk aspects of the proposed work. Explain how relevant biological variables, such as sex, are factored in to research designs and analyses for studies in vertebrate animals and humans. For example, strong justification from the scientific literature, preliminary data, or other relevant considerations, must be provided for applications proposing to study only one sex. Refer to the NIH Guide Notice on Sex as a Biological Variable in NIH-funded Research for additional information. Point out any procedures, situations, or materials that may be hazardous to personnel and the precautions to be exercised. A full discussion on the use of select agents should appear in the Select Agent Research attachment below. If research on Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) is proposed but an approved cell line from the NIH hESC Registry cannot be chosen, provide a strong justification for why an appropriate cell line cannot be chosen from the registry at this time. As applicable, also include the following information as part of the Research Strategy, keeping within the three sections (Significance, Innovation, and Approach) listed above.

    Include information on preliminary studies. Discuss the PD/PI’s preliminary studies, data, and or experience pertinent to this application. Preliminary data can be an essential part of a research grant application and can help to establish the likelihood of success of the proposed project. Early stage investigators should include preliminary data.


    For Resubmitted Proposals - Resubmission of proposals previously reviewed for this program, but not funded, must include:

    1. A summary of previous critiques and a discussion of the modifications made in response to critiques. Successful NIH examples of how to address reviewers' comments can be found at https://www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/R01-Faubion-app.pdf and https://www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/R01_Li_Sample_Application.pdf


    The NIH has no specified format. Consider a format friendly to reviewers—make it easy to read and proofread it. Consider listing at least the first six (6) authors’ names before listing "et al."


    Follow these instructions: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm.


    Use the web form provided in the “Budget Information” section of the application. Provide a detailed budget and justification. Funds may support laboratory personnel, patient care costs, and the purchase of supplies and equipment. Equipment costing more than $5,000 will require special justification and approval.

    • Secretarial/administrative personnel
    • Salary of principal investigator
    • Subcontracts
    • Tuition
    • Travel
    • Honoraria and travel expenses for visiting lectures
    • Per diem charges for hospital beds
    • Non-medical services to patients
    • Construction or building maintenance
    • Major alterations
    • Purchasing and binding of periodicals and books
    • Office and laboratory furniture
    • Office equipment and supplies
    • Rental of office or laboratory space
    • Recruiting and relocation expenses


    Attach a letter from the PI’s Chair/Director/Section Chief describing:

    1. The commitment of the academic unit to the development of the researcher’s career as a productive, independent investigator;
    2. The departmental space allocated to the applicant;

    You may also include letters from other individuals involved in the project (e.g., collaborators) confirming their roles.


    Describe for the layperson the relevance of this research to public health in, at most, three (3) sentences. For example, NIH applicants can describe how, in the short or long term, the research would contribute to fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and/or the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.


    Neither pending nor approved protocols are required with this application. However, if funded, researchers must obtain institutional approval for proposals involving human subjects, animals, radioisotopes, or biohazardous materials. If any of these research types will be involved, you must create a draft protocol in BRAIN eSP1 and include the protocol number in your proposal.

Application Instructions [.pdf]


  1. How often is the program offered?

    The program is offered once a year. The deadline is in the spring.

  2. Are there any citizenship or residency requirements?

    No, there are not citizenship requirements for this program.

  3. Does the program fund clinical projects as well as basic science projects?

    Yes, the program has provided grants to support both basic science and clinical proposals. However, applicants must serve as the principal investigator on the funded project.

  4. Can applicants have other funding? What about seed money from other BCM departments?

    Since the program is intended to provide support for junior faculty at the beginning of their career, applicants may not have already received an R01. Also, investigators who have previously received support through this program are not eligible to apply again. However, applicants who have seed money from other BCM departments are eligible to apply for this program.

  5. How long should the project narrative be?

    The project narrative should not exceed more than three (3) sentences.

  6. Is there a limit on the number of letters of support I can include with the application?

    There is no limit on the number of letters that may be included, however please only submit letters from investigators who play a significant role in the project.

  7. Do I need to submit biosketches for my collaborators?

    No. Applicants are encouraged to obtain letters of support from collaborators, but only the principal investigator’s biosketch should be included in the application.

  8. How do I submit pages that have signatures (e.g., the letter of support or the application cover page)?

    Pages that have signatures can be scanned and uploaded in the “Attachments” section, when filling out the application on the website. The originals are not required.

  9. How late can proposals be submitted?

    Proposals can be submitted up until the specified time on the deadline day. Please see the application website for deadlines.

  10. How do I know if my application was received?

    We will confirm receipt of all proposals via email. Please note that large files do sometimes take longer to reach a recipient. If you are concerned about the status of your proposal, please feel free to email awards@bcm.edu.

  11. Who reviews the applications? How should the letter of support be addressed?

    Applications are reviewed by the Faculty Research & Fellowship Support Committee. Letters of support may be addressed to the committee as a whole or to the chair of the committee. The committee roster is available on the BCM Intranet under the Inside BCM section.

  12. What is the timeline for the review process? When will awards start?

    Reviews and scores will be done in late June. Our goal is to make awards in July at the start of the new fiscal year. However, since a large portion of the program is supported by annual commitments from local foundations, the start dates largely depend on when those contributions are received. Funding decisions are communicated as soon as they are finalized.

  13. By when must awarded funds be spent?

    Funds are type 1 and must be spent (not encumbered) by June 30 of the fiscal year in which they are awarded.

  14. I fulfill the eligibility requirements, but when I attempt to submit my application online, I get an error stating I am not eligible. What should I do?

    Sometimes the Faculty Affairs database has not yet been updated with your appointment information. If you are certain you fulfill the eligibility criteria, please contact awards@bcm.edu and we will work with Faculty Affairs to confirm your eligibility and submit your application.

Frequently Asked Questions [.pdf]

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