Early-Career Scientific Research Grants Program

AABB Foundation Grants Program

The AABB Foundation has awarded more than $11 million in early-career grants since its inception.

The AABB Foundation awards grants for investigator-initiated original research in all aspects of blood banking, transfusion medicine and biotherapies.

Grant applications are evaluated on the basis of their scientific merit, relevance to and impact on transfusion medicine, focus and appropriateness to the scope of funding, and likelihood of yielding meaningful data.

The 2023 AABB Foundation early-career grant cycle is now open!
We are accepting applications through December 1, 2022.

Research Content Areas

Immunology

Alloimmunization, immune modulation, and tolerance
Animal models for the study of graft-vs-host disease
Biology of autoimmune hemolytic anemia

Hematology

Autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants
Detection of residual disease following stem cell transplants
Effects of growth factors in vitro and in vivo
Biochemistry of coagulation factors

Immunohematology

Blood group serology
Biochemistry of red cell antigens
Molecular genetics of the blood groups

Infectious Diseases

Studies on Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, SARS and babesiosis and other emerging diseases
Effect of allogeneic transfusion in HIV-infected and immunocompromised patients
Improved detection of transfusion - transmitted diseases

Biotherapies

Cell separation, cell culture or expansion studies for cell therapy applications
Development of novel cell therapies or assays to measure cell viability or function
Pilot studies in regenerative medicine
Studies on mechanisms or roles of cells in stem cell transplantation
Studies on cytokines or growth factors involved in stem cell differentiation

Patient Blood Management

Treatment of pre-admission anemia and bleeding tendencies; Intraoperative/postoperative blood recovery; Surgical hemostasis; Appropriate indications for transfusion; Changing physician behaviors; Blood utilization review.

Applicant Eligibility Criteria

An applicant must be a doctor (MD or PhD), medical technologist, transfusion medicine or biotherapies professional. All applicants will be considered regardless of age, race, gender, national origin or religion.

The Foundation accepts early-career applicants worldwide. How do we describe early-career?

  1. An early-career investigator is an investigator who has completed a terminal research degree or medical residency – whichever date is later – within the past 10 years of the grant application deadline and has not yet been awarded a substantial research grant (i.e. NIH R01). Of note, there is a 13-month period during which an investigator can resubmit a revised application and retain early-stage investigator status.
  2. Clinical fellowship training in a medical specialty or subspecialty training in the years that follow the internship/residency period is not considered a part of the residency. Often the clinical fellowship period will consist of a mixture of clinical and research training. The time spent in research training will be considered as applicable toward the 10 years of research and research training.
  3. If you have competed successfully for a substantial research grant (i.e. NIH R01) at any time in your career, you are NOT considered early-career and are, therefore ineligible for an AABB Foundation early-career Scientific Research Grant.

The AABB Foundation's intention is to fund researchers on a path toward research independence.

No candidate is eligible to receive more than one AABB Foundation early-career Scientific Research Grant in the course of their career.

Application Submission Criteria

Applications for research into innovative and new projects are a priority.

No particular project can be funded more than once.

An application for the same project may be submitted twice if not already funded by the AABB Foundation.

Awards will not be made to increase the funding available for currently funded research projects. AABB Foundation early-career grants are intended to provide "seed" funding that allows the principal investigator to enhance preliminary data. This data may then be useful in applying for larger grants.

Grant Application Information

The 2023 AABB Foundation early-career grant cycle is now open! We are accepting applications through December 1, 2022. Early-stage investigators on a path toward research independence are encouraged to apply for grant funding. Below, please find the application instructions, submission requirements, applicant eligibility, frequently asked questions and general tips. A link to the online grant portal can accessed via the application instructions.

If you have any questions on this application process, please contact the AABB Foundation at foundation@aabb.org or at +1.301.215.6552.

Selection Process

All grant applications will be reviewed by the AABB Foundation Scientific Research Grants Review Committee (GRC). This committee meets once a year to select grant recipients. Outside reviewers may be consulted at the discretion of the committee. The AABB Foundation Board of Directors must approve the GRC’s recommendations before official awards may be made. Grants are announced in June and funds are disbursed in July.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • ability to meet eligibility criteria
  • scientific merit
  • relevance to and impact on transfusion medicine and biotherapies
  • focus and appropriateness to the scope of funding
  • likelihood of meaningful data
  • likelihood of future funding potential

A confidential critique review sheet of the proposed grant project which summarizes the GRC’s comments is provided to all applicants. AABB and the Foundation reserve the right to list the grant recipients in publications, including the title, principal investigator and amount of funding.

General tips to help you apply for an early-career Scientific Research Grant

Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and submit your application by the deadline.

Plan ahead! Producing a strong application takes time and final selection is based, in part, on the quality of your application and accompanying material.

Have a clear strategy. Make sure all parts of your application form an integrated whole and make sense for your objectives.

Read and follow the instructions carefully. The instructions are your guide to creating a complete and competitive application.

Submit information regarding available funding from other sources (fellowships, scholarships, sponsorships, etc.).

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is an early-career investigator?

An early-stage investigator is a new investigator who has completed a terminal research degree or medical residency – whichever date is later – within 10 years of the grant application deadline and has not yet been awarded a substantial research grant (i.e. NIH R01). Of note, there is a 13-month period during which an investigator can resubmit a revised application and retain early-stage investigator status.

Clinical fellowship training in a medical specialty or subspecialty training in the years that follow the internship/residency period is not considered a part of the residency. Often the clinical fellowship period will consist of a mixture of clinical and research training. The time spent in research training will be considered as applicable toward the 10 years of research and research training.

If you have competed successfully for a substantial research grant (i.e. NIH R01) at any time in your career, you are not considered early-career and therefore you are not eligible for an AABB Foundation early-career Scientific Research Grant.

If I already received an AABB Foundation early-career Scientific Research Grant in the past, can I apply for another grant?

No. No candidate is eligible to receive more than one AABB Foundation early-career Scientific Research Grant.

If I already submitted a grant application in the past but did not receive funding, am I eligible to apply again?

Yes. If you still meet the eligibility criteria, you are encouraged to resubmit an application using the reviewers' critique as a guide to modify and strengthen the application. Many previously unfunded applicants receive funding after resubmitting a second application. However, after two submissions for the same project, an application will no longer be accepted.

Am I eligible to apply if I have a master's degree?

Yes. An applicant can be a doctor (MD or PhD), medical technologist preferably with an advanced degree, or any transfusion medicine or biotherapies professional working in the U.S. or outside the U.S. Emphasis will be given to first time applicants who meet the eligibility requirements and second time applicants who have also submitted a strong progress report. More experienced researchers who are changing fields to transfusion medicine and biotherapies are also eligible for funding. Priority in awarding grants will be given to innovative, new projects.

Am I eligible to apply if I am or if I plan to pursue my post-doc in a university of another country outside the U.S.?

Yes. AABB Foundation early-career Scientific Research Grants are international in scope. Applicants do not have to be a U.S. citizen. All applicants will be considered regardless of age, race, gender, national origin or religion. The application must be completed in English.

Which disciplines are eligible?

Eligible applicants are those working or training in disciplines that impact transfusion medicine, biotherapies or related sciences. Priority in awarding grants will be given to innovative, new projects.

What areas of science are funded?

Please view our list of research content areas.

Is it necessary to provide the application in English?

Yes. Applications received in languages other than in English (including all supporting materials) will not be considered.

How many years is the grant typically for?

The project may cover one or two years, starting in July and completion by the next June 30 for one-year terms and ending two years on June 30 for two-year terms. The award amount does not change.

After submitting my application online, can I modify it before the closing date?

You can update your application via the AABB Foundation online grants portal any time prior to submitting it. Once the application is submitted, no further edits can be made. After the deadline, 11:59pm ET December 1, no changes or additions can be made, and all applicants will receive a notification e-mail. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please email foundation@aabb.org immediately.

I've just submitted my application, what else am I expected to do?

All applicants will receive a confirmation notification e-mail containing payment instructions. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please email foundation@aabb.org immediately. You will also be contacted via the online grants portal if there are any questions about your application or items missing. Please make sure that the Foundation has your current contact information even if you temporarily move for the summer or go on vacation, etc. If we cannot reach you with questions your application may not be able to be evaluated. We must be notified if you apply for additional funding after your early-career Scientific Research Grant application is submitted.

When will I be informed of the selection results?

You will receive notification via the online grants portal indicating whether or not your proposal has been funded in June.

How are grant recipients selected?

Based on the research project areas submitted, the Grants Review Committee chair develops the Committee to ensure that it consists of the expertise needed to review the submitted research. Two reviewers are assigned to each of the applications received always mindful of conflicts of interest. The Committee meets via conference call in January to review the grant assignments and perform a final check on conflicts of interest. After the conference call any necessary adjustments to the reviewer assignments are made and the Committee is provided access to their assigned applications through the grant portal.

The volunteer grant reviewers review their assigned proposal applications. The scoring system is based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 9-point scoring system. The reviewers submit their first round of evaluations to the Foundation using the critique templates provided via the grant portal. Based on the first round of scores submitted, the applications are “triaged.” About half of the applications submitted will be reviewed for further discussion in March. During the meeting the triage list is reviewed by the committee and the committee can vote to discuss an application that was originally “triaged.”

The reviewers discuss each proposal not “triaged” and then individually offer scores based on scientific criteria established by the Board and GRC. It should be noted that reviewers are required to leave the room whenever a proposal is discussed with which they are conflicted. The reviewers who leave the room also do not offer scores on the given proposal(s). Discussed applications are given a final score by the reviewers eligible to score them.

Approximately the six highest-scoring proposals are recommended to the AABB Foundation Board for approval.

Why is a particular proposal not selected?

There are a limited number of awards that can be funded by the AABB Foundation. Staff cannot engage in individual correspondence or discuss reasons for not receiving a grant. A detailed reviewers’ critique is sent to each applicant.

Applications are typically unsuccessful due to the following reasons:
Poor quality; incomplete application; insufficient evidence or data to support the proposal’s aims; flawed science; budgetary overlap with current funding in the laboratory or overlap mentor funding; junior investigator not judged to be moving to independent investigator track; or level of qualification - the Foundation funds PhD, or MD or persons engaged in transfusion medicine or biotherapies affiliated with an accredited institution. Lastly, priority in awarding grants will be given to new investigators and innovative, new projects.

After Receiving NBF Funding

If I need more time to complete my project than I anticipated, can I receive an extension?

Yes, you may apply for a 6-month or 12-month extension for your one- or two-year term by filling out a Request for Grant Change form and sending it to the Foundation at foundation@aabb.org. Requests are addressed on a case-by-case basis.

If I need additional funding for my projects, can I obtain more funding from the AABB Foundation?

No, funding for each project is limited to a total of $75,000 or the amount requested in the application for the entire period of the project, either one year or two (NOT per year).

If I need additional funding for my project, can I obtain more funding from other funding sources?

Yes, but budgetary overlap must be carefully outlined and documented in the AABB Foundation proposal with specific information on source and scope.

I have a 2-year early-career Scientific Research Grant, do I need to report budgetary carry-over after my first year?

No, the Foundation has no restrictions on budgetary carry-over.

If I change institutions, may I still retain my AABB Foundation funding on my project?

Yes, you may but you must inform the Foundation at foundation@aabb.org that you are changing institutions and give us your new contact information. The existing institution must refund the AABB Foundation any unused funding. The AABB Foundation will disburse the same amount as the unused funds to the new institution.

Must I prepare reports on my AABB Foundation funded project?

Yes, one- and two-year grant recipients are required to submit an Interim progress report at the end of six months or the first year. One- and two-year grant recipients must submit a Final Report to the Foundation within 60 days of completion of your project. The Final Report must be submitted in this format to be eligible for the AABB Foundation Award for Innovative Research.

What is the AABB Foundation Award for Innovative Research?

Recipient is selected by the GRC with formal approval by the AABB Foundation Board of Directors. The award was stablished in 2016 to recognize a scientist whose original research resulted in an important contribution to the body of scientific knowledge in transfusion medicine or biotherapies. Recipient receives a $1,000 honorarium.


QUESTIONS?

Contact the AABB Foundation at +1.301.215.6552 or foundation@aabb.org