Started in 1996, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is the NSF’s most prestigious award to recognize junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar. The CAREER Program is an NSF-wide program, which means all directorates participate at some level. More than 200 programs across the Directorates review CAREER proposals. Review and Funding methods vary according to Directorate and Division practices.

Who Does it Support?

The CAREER Award supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

What Does it Support?

As a career development award, all CAREER proposals must have an integrated research and education plan at their core.  Proposed education activities may be in a broad range of areas and may be directed to any level: K-12 students, undergraduates, graduate students, and/or the general public, but should be related to the proposed research. A CAREER proposal must indicate the goals and objectives of the proposed education activities, how it will be integrated with the research component, and the criteria for assessing how these goals will be met. Principal investigators are strongly encouraged to describe how the impact of the educational activities will be assessed or evaluated.

What is the size of a typical CAREER Award?

In most directorates, the minimum CAREER award, including indirect costs, will total $400,000 for the 5-year duration.

What Are the Basic Eligibility Requirements?

– By the Directorate’s deadline for application submission, the PI must hold a PhD in an area of science supported by NSF
– By the Directorate’s deadline for application submission, the PI must be untenured
– To remain eligible to receive a CAREER award, the PI must remain untenured until October 1 following the submission deadline
– To remain eligible to receive a CAREER award, the PI must have received no previous CAREER awards

Who has received CAREER awards in my area of science?

NSF makes the abstracts of all funded proposals available on its website. To search for active and/or expired awards, conduct an advanced search using the Reference Code 1045 as follows:NSF award search

Other Resources:

NSF’s CAREER Program Website

CAREER Program contacts at the NSF

Latest CAREER Program Solicitation – NSF 17-537 (released by the NSF on January 24, 2017)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – NSF 17-050

Webcast archives from the Fall 2016 NSF Grants Conference