Career Awards for Medical Scientists

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be nominated by my institution to submit an application?
No, you do not need to be nominated, but you do need to obtain approval from your degree-granting institution.   Since August 2015, eligible candidates may now self-nominate by submitting a full proposal by the deadline.  All applications must be approved by an official at the degree-granting institution responsible for sponsored programs (generally from grants and contracts office, office of research, or sponsored programs office).

How do I determine if I am eligible to submit an application; what is the first step?
An Eligibility Quiz has been created to assist you in determining whether or not you are eligible to apply for this award. Successful completion of the quiz will take you directly to the application. You will be notified upon conclusion of the quiz if you are eligible to continue the application and apply for the grant.

Can I contact BWF to determine my eligibility?
It is the responsibility of applicants to read the published guidelines and FAQs to determine eligibility and to take the online Eligibility Quiz before contacting BWF staff. The FAQs are updated regularly in response to questions received. BWF staff will do their best to respond to every inquiry, but will prioritize those questions that are not already clearly addressed in the published guidelines.  Please do not contact BWF to ask if we can make an exception to clearly stated guidelines.

I hold a Ph.D. degree only.  Am I eligible to apply to the CAMS program?
No. However, if your background is in the physical/mathematical/computational sciences or engineering and your work addresses biological questions, you may want to consider applying to BWF’s Career Awards at the Scientific Interface.

I hold a Pharm.D. or Pharm.D, Ph.D. degree.  Am I eligible to apply to the CAMS program?
No.

Is the guideline that candidates must have received their most recent clinical doctorate degree within the last 12 calendar years (i.e., any date on or after January 1, 2005) a firm rule?
Yes. No exceptions will be made. Candidates with an honorary degree are not eligible.

Is the 75 percent time devoted to research a firm policy?
Yes. Programs and department chairs need to provide adequate protection for the candidate to conduct research.

If I have an NIH K08, K12, K21, or K23 award, am I eligible for the award?
Yes.

If I have an NIH K99/R00 or R01 award, am I eligible for the award?
No.

I have applied to the NIH K99 program, but the awards have not been selected. Can I apply to the BWF CAMS program?
Yes. However, awardees cannot receive funding simultaneously from both a K99 and a CAMS award.

My title is instructor, clinical lecturer, or assistant professor, non-tenure track. Am I eligible for the award?
Possibly.  If your position is a mentored one and you have at least 24 months of research experience, and have been in a non-tenured faculty position for two years or less at the time of application, you may be eligible. To meet this requirement, the applicant's junior faculty appointment (non-tenure) must have begun no earlier than July 1, 2015.

I have publications from my graduate (and undergraduate) studies, but I am not a first-author on any of them.  Am I eligible to apply?
No.  You must have at least one first-author publication in order to be competitive and eligible to apply for this program.  This includes papers on which "first authorship" is shared.

I have submitted a first-author manuscript from my graduate (or undergraduate) studies, but it has not yet been published.  Am I eligible to apply?
Possibly.  If the manuscript is accepted for publication or in press, you are eligible to apply – otherwise you are not eligible.

I may be changing institutions to complete additional postdoc training after I’ve submitted a proposal. Can I still submit a proposal?
No.  Invitations to finalists are based on the information submitted in the proposal. The training environment (mentor and institution) are an important part of this consideration, and therefore cannot be changed after submitting the proposal. Thus, if you move to a new institution after submitting the proposal, you will not be able to interview, even if invited to do so.

I have two postdoctoral mentors. Can I submit two recommendation letters?
Only one recommendation letter may be submitted with your proposal application. This letter should be from the person designated as your primary postdoctoral mentor or faculty sponsor in the application. However, if both mentors wish to write and sign one letter, that is acceptable.

What if I am planning to start a faculty position after the application deadline and before the interview?
This award cannot be made to a faculty member, because it is a transition award. If you are planning to start a faculty position before the award begins you are not eligible to apply.

Do I need a commitment from a university for a faculty appointment to apply for this award?
No. The purpose of the award is to help postdoctoral scientists obtain a faculty appointment at a degree-granting institution of their choosing. Candidates may be applying for faculty positions at the same time of application, but if you currently hold or have accepted, either verbally or in writing, a tenure-track faculty appointment, you are not eligible.

I have not yet decided whether I will pursue a full-time career in research as an independent investigator at a North American degree-granting institution. Can I apply to this program?
No.

My field is health services research and policy. Am I eligible for the award?
No. The award is only for individuals in the basic biomedical, disease-oriented, or translational research.

Is the BWF application deadline firm?
Yes.

Can I submit a paper application?
No. BWF requires that all applications for this program be submitted electronically by the application deadline. Paper applications will not be accepted.

Can I submit more than one application?
No.

Can I change my application once submitted?
No.  Once your application is submitted, it cannot be changed.

Can support letters be sent separately outside the grant application?
No. All support letters must be uploaded and attached to your application and submitted electronically by the application deadline.  Faxed letters will not be accepted.

To whom should my letters of recommendation be addressed?
Letters of recommendation should be addressed to the CAMS Advisory Committee and must be uploaded and attached to your application and submitted electronically by the application deadline. Faxed letters will not be accepted.

What is a “signature block”?
A signature block is found at the end of a letter and includes the letter writer’s name, title(s), department(s), and institution. It is usually found just after the closing of the letter (e.g., just after the word ‘Sincerely,’ or ‘Yours truly,’) and just under the letter writer’s signature. Here is an example of a signature block:

Jane Smith, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Medicine
ABC University

If I attach a bibliography to my research plan, does it count toward the six-page maximum?
No. Also, glossaries of technical abbreviations and terms are acceptable and encouraged if they clarify the proposal to the general reader and do not count toward the page limit.

What about figures, tables, graph, diagrams, pictures included in my research plan? Are they included in the six-page limit or can they be included separately?
All figures, tables, graphs, diagrams, pictures, etc., included in your research plan count toward the six-page limit.

I would like to include additional materials as appendices to the application.  Is this allowed?
No.  You may not include materials beyond those requested by the application instructions.  Inculding additional materials may disqualify you from the competition.

Do I need to submit a proposed budget with my application?
No, BWF does not require a budget to be submitted at the time of application for the CAMS program.

Are there font or margin requirements for the research plan?
Yes. Use standard 11- or 12-point type for the text, and no smaller than 9 to 10-point type for figures, legends, and tables. Text must be single-spaced, with one-inch or larger margins on all sides.  The font-size requirement is strictly enforced.

Do I need to complete an application in one session?
No, you can start an application and return at a later time to complete the application. When beginning a new application, you are required to establish a log-in and password. At any time during the application process, you may click the "save and finish later" button, exit the application, and return at a later time. Saved applications are accessed through a different link than the one used to begin the initial application. You may access saved applications on the BWF grant application system.

How do I return to an incomplete application that I saved, but have not yet submitted?
To access saved application for BWF programs, visit BWF's grant application system. At the time you begin an application, you are required to create a login and password. The same information can be used to access a saved application. Note: There are two separate links to the BWF grant application system (one to start a new application and one to access a saved application.)

I completed my application. How do I submit?
Once the application has been completed and all attachments have been uploaded, click the "Review and Submit" button at the bottom of the last page of the application. Review your application. If the application is not missing required items, a “Submit” button should be available at the bottom of the page. If a submit button is not available, the application is missing (one or more) required fields or attachments. Any missing items should be noted in red near the top of the page. Once you have completed all required items and clicked the “Submit” button, you will receive an email confirmation.

I forgot my user ID and/or password. What should I do?
For a forgotten password or user ID, visit the BWF grant application system and click the forgotten password link.

What is the Signature Page Form? How do I submit it?
The Signature Page Form provides for a signature line for the Applicant.  An application is not considered complete without the Signature Page form. You must upload the completed Signature Page form with your signature by the application deadline date.

What is the Institutional Certification Form?  How do I submit it?
It is a required form that must be completed and signed by an authorized signing official to certify (a) the university’s non-profit status as a degree-granting institution and (b) the applicant meets all eligibility and residency requirements for the CAMS program at the time of the submission deadline.   An application is not considered complete without the Institutional Certification form.  

Can I fax the signature page or institutional certification forms by the application deadline?
No.  Faxed documents will not be accepted.

Can I change institutions during the course of the award?
The award is portable.  Most awardees will change institutions to begin a faculty appointment.  However, transferring your award is not guaranteed.  The institution that you wish to transfer to must demonstrate a commitment to you by offering you a tenure track or equivalent faculty appointment and significant start-up money.  In addition, BWF must approve the transfer.  Transfers during the faculty portion of the award are discouraged.

May I interrupt the award because of family commitments or to complete clinical or other training?
Yes.  BWF will allow you a no-cost extension up to two years during the term of the award.

Are awardees permitted to have other simultaneous funding, for example, from the National Institutes of Health or another foundation?
Award recipients may obtain funds from other sources for research in the same or similar areas as that conducted under these grants, so long as there is no conflict with meeting the terms of BWF’s award.  Award recipients may not hold concurrent BWF awards or NIH K99/R00 awards.

I am based at a North American non-profit institution, but my primary postdoctoral mentor or faculty sponsor doesn't hold a faculty appointment at an accredited, degree-granting North American institution. Can I apply to this program?
No.  An eligible candidate’s primary postdoctoral mentor must hold such an appointment at a degree-granting university in the U.S. or Canada.

I currently hold a BWF award.  Am I eligible for this award?
Possibly. Contact senior program associate Debra Holmes, via email or by phone, 919/991-5134, to discuss eligibility.

I am a past BWF grant recipient. Am I eligible for this award?
Possibly. Contact senior program associate Debra Holmes, via email or by phone, 919/991-5134, to discuss eligibility.

I am at an independent research institute. Am I eligible for this award?
Possibly. You must apply through a degree-granting university affiliated with your research institute. If you receive an award, the university affiliated with the research institute must agree to administer the grant. Researchers at federal facilities or research institutes that are not affiliated with a degree-granting institution may not apply. This policy is non-negotiable.

What are my chances of receiving a Career Award for Medical Scientists?
There is no way to definitively know how many proposals we will receive this year, and therefore what the success rate will be.  However, based on data from previous CAMS competitions, we estimate an award rate of 9-10 percent.