Early-Career Scientific Research Grants Program

Celebrating Almost 40 Years of Awarding Early-Career Research Grants, 1983-2020

Since its inception, the NBF has awarded almost $11 million to early-career investigators through its Scientific Research Grants Program. Many NBF early-career grant recipients have become leaders in the field. NBF awards grants for investigator-initiated original research in all aspects of blood banking, transfusion medicine, cellular therapies and patient blood management. Examples of topics of interest to the NBF are listed below.

Grants 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.

2020 Scientific Research Grant Recipients

1985 - 2020 Scientific Research Grant Recipients/Scholars

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

Cellular Therapies

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 cellular therapies professional. All applicants will be considered regardless of age, race, gender, national origin or religion.
  • The NBF accepts national and international early-career applicants. How does NBF describe early-career?
    1. An early-stage investigator is a new 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 therefore you are not eligible for an NBF early-career Scientific Research Grant.
  • The NBF intends to fund researchers on a path towards independence.
  • No candidate is eligible to receive more than one NBF grant over 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 NBF funded.
  • Awards will NOT be made to increase the funding available for currently funded research projects. NBF 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 for the 2020-2021 Grant Cycle

The deadline for the 2021 grants cycle was December 1, 2020. We are no longer accepting applications for 2021. Thank you to all who applied. If you did not receive an email confirmation confirming receipt of your application, immediately contact the NBF at nbf@aabb.org. The review process has begun and will continue until June when projects to be funded will be announced. Funds will be disbursed in July 2021. All applicants will receive a detailed critique of their application, pointing out strengths and weaknesses and recommendations for strengthening the proposal.

New application forms for the 2022 cycle will be posted in July 2021 with a deadline of 11:59pm ET on December 1, 2021. Please note that you should check back before the deadline to see if any changes have been made to the application forms, formats or procedures. Changes may occur to the application process up to the deadline. Check back frequently to make sure you are up-to-date on all forms and processes before you submit your application.

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

Selection Process

All grant applications will be reviewed by the NBF Grants Review Committee (GRC). This committee meets once a year to select the grant recipients. Outside reviewers may be consulted at the discretion of the committee. The NBF Board of Trustees must approve and the National Blood Foundation Research and Education Trust (NBFRET) Board of Trustees must accept 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 cellular therapies
  • 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 will be provided. AABB and the NBF 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 NBF Grants

  • 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...).

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is an early-career investigator?

  1. 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.
  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 therefore you are not eligible for an NBF early-career Scientific Research Grant.

If I already received an NBF grant in the past, can I apply for another grant?

No. No candidate is eligible to receive more than one NBF 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 cellular therapies 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 have submitted a strong progress report. More experienced researchers who are changing fields to transfusion medicine and cellular therapies 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. NBF 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, cellular therapies or related sciences. Priority in awarding grants will be given to innovative, new projects.

What areas of science are funded?

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 NBF 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, 2020, 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 nbf@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 nbf@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 NBF 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. The NBF must be notified if you apply for additional funding after your NBF 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. All applicants will receive a letter and a copy of the reviewers’ critique via email. The Grants Review Committee meets in the spring to make its recommendations and the final funding approval is made by the Foundation boards in late May or early June. Grant applicants who will be funded are announced in June and funds are disbursed in early July.

How are grant recipients selected?

The selection process includes several rounds of review. A committee of eminent scientists (whose names are withheld in anonymity), in transfusion medicine and cellular therapies (the Grants Review Committee) reviews each application on its scientific merit and the quality of the proposal. Worthy applications are moved forward to a second review. Reviewers meet via conference call to discuss the results and reviews and move the top proposals forward to the Scientific Grants Review Committee which meets face-to-face to thoroughly discuss the potential of each remaining application as to its science, its capability of achieving the goals and the potential contribution to advancing transfusion medicine and cellular therapies. The grants review committee forwards recommendations to the Foundation boards in late May/early June for their approval. Approval is also required of the AABB board of directors before funds are disbursed.

Why is a particular proposal not selected?

There are a limited number of awards that can be funded by the NBF 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 cellular therapies 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 NBF at nbf@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 NBF?

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 NBF proposal with specific information on source and scope.

I have a 2-year NBF grant, do I need to report budgetary carry-over after my first year?

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

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

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

Must I prepare reports on my NBF 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 NBF within 60 days of completion of your project. The Final Report must be submitted in this format to be eligible for the NBF Award for Innovative Research.

What is the NBF Award for Innovative Research?

Recipient is selected by the National Blood Foundation (NBF) Scientific Grants Review Committee with formal approval by the NBF Board of Trustees. This award (formerly known as the David B. Pall Prize for Innovative Research and the Jack Latham Memorial Award for Innovative Research) was established in 2016 to recognize a scientist whose original research resulted in an important contribution to the body of scientific knowledge in transfusion medicine or cellular therapies. Recipient receives a $1,000 honorarium.


Questions?

Contact NBF at +1.301.215.6552 or nbf@aabb.org.