Career Awards at the Scientific Interface

Eligibility Requirements (Preproposal)

To understand the expectations of the Career Awards at the Scientific Interface program, it is important to read the eligibility requirements below, in addition to the proposal elements, terms of grant, and selection criteria prior to taking the eligibility quiz. If eligible, you will automatically be directed to a log-in page on BWF's Grant Application System where you will begin the preproposal.  You will be notified upon conclusion of the quiz if you are not eligible to apply.  The FAQs may also provide eligibility clarification.

Candidates are expected to draw from their training in a scientific field other than biology to propose innovative approaches to answer important questions in the biological sciences. Examples of approaches include, but are not limited to, physical measurement of biological phenomena, computer simulation of complex processes in physiological systems, mathematical modeling of self-organizing behavior, building probabilistic tools for medical diagnosis, developing novel imaging tools or biosensors, developing or applying nanotechnology to manipulate cellular systems, predicting cellular responses to topological clues and mechanical forces, and developing a new conceptual understanding of the complexity of living organisms. Proposals that include experimental validation of theoretical models are particularly encouraged.

In addition:

  • Candidates meeting the objectives and eligibility requirements may self-nominate by submitting the required preproposal application by the posted deadline.
  • Candidates must hold a Ph.D. degree in one of the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, statistics, or engineering. This includes related areas of physical, mathematical, computational, theoretical, and engineering science.  Exceptions will be made only if the applicant can demonstrate significant expertise in one of these areas, evidenced by publications, undergraduate major, or master's degree. 
  • Candidates whose Ph.D. is in biochemistry/biophysics/biology/cell biology/etc. may be eligible if significant accomplishment or competence in one of those areas can be shown (i.e., papers published, advanced coursework, or undergraduate major), and if the proposal draws on that background.  Work must be interdisciplinary and making use of non-biological approaches.
  • Candidates who meet the other eligibility criteria must demonstrate that their work is truly interdisciplinary.
  • Candidates who hold an M.D. are eligible to apply if they hold both an M.D. and a Ph.D., and the Ph.D. is in one of the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, statistics, or engineering.  This includes related areas of physical and computational science. Exceptions will be made only if the applicant can demonstrate significant expertise in one these areas, evidenced by publications, undergraduate major, or master's degree.  In addition, the applicant cannot have spent more than 48 months in postdoctoral research since receipt of a Ph.D.  If the candidate holds an M.D. without also holding a Ph.D., the candidate is not eligible to apply to this program.
  • Candidates must have completed at least 12 months but not more than 48 months of postdoctoral research by the date of the full invited application deadline.  If your entire work experience since receiving your Ph.D. has been in any scientific research field (including outside academia) and exceeds 48 months, you are not eligible.  However, if part of your work experience was not in a science research field, and your scientific work experience doesn't exceed 48 months, you are eligible.  No exceptions to this requirement will be made.
  • Candidates who are not titled "postdoctoral" fellows may be eligible if (1) you have at least 12 months, but not more than 48 months of postdoctoral research experience, including time as, for example, an instructor, research associate, or non-tenure track research faculty, and (2) you meet all other eligibility requirements.
  • Candidates may use either the date of their Ph.D. defense or the date their degree was conferred by the institution in determining the date they received their Ph.D.
  • Candidates cannot hold nor have accepted, either in writing or verbally, a faculty appointment as a tenure-track assistant professor at the time of application - both preproposal and full application. This award cannot be made to a tenure-track faculty member because it is a transition award.  If you are planning to start a faculty position before the award beings you are not eligible to apply.
  • Candidates must be committed to a full-time career in research as an independent investigator at a North American degree-granting institution. 
  • Candidates must have at least one first-author publication; including papers on which "first authorship" is shared.  Candidates who have submitted a first-author manuscript from graduate or undergraduate studies but it has not yet been published may apply if the manuscript is accepted for publication or in press - otherwise you are not eligible.
  • A candidate's primary postdoctoral mentor must hold an appointment at an accredited, degree-granting institution in the U.S. or Canada. Two postdoc mentors are permitted; one must be designated as the primary mentor who will sign off on the preproposal application form.  Mentors or institutions may not be changed after submitting a preproposal.  Candidates moving to a new institution after submitting the preproposal will not be able to submit a full application, even if invited to do so.
  • Candidates must be based at a non-profit institution [501(c)(3) or equivalent] in the U.S. or Canada. A 501(c)(3) organization is an American tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.  Candidates should check with their institutional officials to confirm the institution's classification.
  • Candidates must not hold nor have accepted a K99 award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. 
  • Candidates with a K01 award from the NIH may apply for this award as long as they meet all the remaining criteria, however, if granted a CASI award, the NIH will need to fund the postdoc portion and BWF will only fund the faculty portion of the award.
  • Citizens and non-citizen permanent residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible. 
  • Temporary residents of the U.S. are eligible. 
  • Temporary residents of Canada are not eligible. 
  • Candidates who are temporary U.S. residents and hold a valid U.S. visa that allows you to remain in the U.S. during the postdoctoral period of the grant are eligible to apply.  Candidates who hold a J-1, H1B, F-1 visas - as long as your visa is valid and will allow you to remain in the U.S. during the postdoctoral period of the grant, are eligible.  If a grant is awarded and your visa does not allow for such a stay, BWF may terminate the grant.  BWF will not intercede on behalf of non-citizens whose stay in the U.S. may be limited by their visa status.  If you are invited to submit a full application, your institution must verify your immigration status as part of your application.
  • Candidates may not submit more than one preproposal.
  • Candidates with questions about their eligibility must contact BWF in advance of the proposal deadline. BWF will make no exceptions to its policies.
  • Candidates may apply from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) or HHMI's Janelia Farm Research Campus, with the same restrictions listed above. The NIH/Janelia Farm will support these award recipients during the postdoctoral years, and BWF will support them for the faculty portion of the award only, for a total of $360,000.
  • Candidates who are postdocs at an independent research institute may be eligible if your research institute is a non-profit institution (501(c)(3) or equivalent) in the U.S. or Canada and your primary postdoctoral mentor holds an appointment at an accredited, degree-granting institution in the U.S. or Canada.  If both criteria are met, you are eligible to apply.  With the exception of eligible postdoctoral fellows at the National Institutes of Health, preproposals will not be accepted from federal facilities.  These policies are non-negotiable.

During the postdoctoral and faculty periods,

  • Grants must be made to non-profit institutions [501(c)(3) or equivalent] in the U.S. or Canada on behalf of the award recipient.
  • Award recipients are required to devote at least 80 percent of their time to research-related activities. 
  • Indirect costs may not be charged against BWF grants.

View the different levels of program support in the postdoc and faculty award information.

Consult this website for a list of frequently asked questions.

Questions regarding candidate or institutional eligibility should be directed in advance to BWF by contacting Rusty Kelley,  program officer, by email or phone 919/991-5120.