What is the significance of obtaining a grant in the pursuit of a faculty position? This was a popular question at the 2023 fellows’ retreat career discussion led by Natalie Porat-Shliom, PhD, an Earl Stadtman Investigator in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. Her answer is worth repeating:

“In my perspective, the importance of securing a grant cannot be overstated for several reasons. Beyond merely showcasing your capability to acquire financial support, it also underscores your proficiency in grant writing—an art distinct from manuscript composition. Gaining proficiency in grant writing is a vital component of scientific training that is often underemphasized during postdoctoral training.”

NICHD leadership agrees. In 2018, the NICHD Division of Intramural Research (DIR) launched a competitive research funding opportunity for NICHD postdoctoral, visiting, and clinical fellows: the Intramural Research Fellowship (IRF). These research fellowships are for NICHD intramural fellows within their second or third year of training to help prepare them for the process of applying for an NIH grant.

This month, we honor those who applied for and received and IRF award for Fiscal Year 2024. Their work exemplifies the scope and impact of NICHD intramural research by postdoctoral fellows.

You too can hone your grant writing skills through workshops and grant application preparation. Several of the February announcements and events are dedicated to grant writing activities, including announcements for the Independent Research Scholars (IRS) Program, the next cycle of NICHD Early Career Awards, and the popular annual NIH Grant Writing Course led by Dr. Paula Gregory.

Before signing off for the month, I’d like to extend the warmest of welcomes to Dr. Megan Bohn, the new NICHD Office of Education Deputy Director. I’ve known Dr. Bohn since my own postdoctoral days at NICHD, and her return to the institute as an expert in science training and career development is a wonderful gain for the program. I’ll keep my words brief here, but please check back for an in-depth introduction to Dr. Bohn in a future issue!

This newsletter is for NICHD fellows and by NICHD fellows. We want to hear from you! Please send your questions, comments, and ideas to our editor at shana.spindler@nih.gov.