2025 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award
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Overview of the Program

The A.P. Giannini Foundation has played an important role in science philanthropy since its inception in 1945. The Foundation has distributed nearly $50 million to fund innovative research that advances the translation of biomedical sciences into treatments, preventions and cures for human diseases.  Recent fellowship awards have supported research into heart disease, influenza, leukemia, embryonic development, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism, and novel therapies to address cystic fibrosis, melanoma, Hepatitis B, diabetes, kidney disease and more.

A.P. Giannini Fellows are among the most highly respected medical and scientific investigators in their respective fields and have served as mentors to succeeding generations of young scientists.  Fellows have held leadership positions at schools of medicine, in the public sector and in industry, including at Roche, Gilead, the National Institutes of Health, the White House, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, UCSF, Harvard University, and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, to name a few.

In addition to supporting research, the A.P. Giannini Foundation provides an integrated communications and leadership training program.  Fellows form a cohort in the first year of the fellowship to create a learning community and to support one another’s professional development.  In Year 1, fellows receive individualized and group communications training and learn the essential components of delivering engaging scientific presentations.  In Year 2, fellows participate in leadership workshops and receive one-on-one coaching to learn how to enhance their professional effectiveness.  In Year 3, Fellows meet with Foundation postdoctoral alumni to discuss topics such as starting a lab and writing Specific Aims statements.  Fellows are also provided guidance in identifying mentors outside of their current principal investigators.

The Foundation is governed by a 10-member board of Directors, including representatives from the A.P. Giannini family, Bank of America, and the biotechnology and health care industry.  The Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee advises the Board of Directors on the quality and competitiveness of fellowship candidates, their research projects and the overall postgraduate research fellowship program. Committee members also identify candidates at their medical schools, review and evaluate fellowship applications and select new Fellows each year.

Objectives of the Program

The A.P. Giannini Foundation invites physician-scientists and junior researchers with 3 to 36 months of postdoctoral research experience to apply to the 2025 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship & Leadership Award.

The Fellowship and Leadership Award supports innovative research in the basic sciences and applied fields and trains fellows to become established investigators and to pursue scientific leadership positions in academia, industry, public and non-traditional career pathways.  Research projects should advance the translation of biomedical science into treatments, preventions and cures for human diseases.

The Foundation expects to fund 6 to 8 new fellowships in 2025 on a competitive, peer-reviewed basis for a maximum of three years based on satisfactory performance.

Eligibility and Qualifications

Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to apply to the 2025 program if they have completed no less than 3 months and no more than 3 years in their mentor’s laboratory as of December 31, 2024. The starting date of postdoctoral studies should be well documented and easily verifiable. Applicants with tenure-track research positions or faculty appointments are ineligible.

Applicants must be United States citizens or permanent alien residents. They must hold or complete an MD; MD/PhD; PhD or equivalent degree before they activate the fellowship.

Applicants must arrange their research training before they apply to the 2025 program. The research program must be sponsored by an accredited California medical school and performed under the mentorship of a principal investigator who holds a full-time faculty or primary appointment at the applicant’s sponsoring medical school.

Fellowship Stipends

Fellows receive a competitive stipend for their research training.  Stipend payments are sent directly to the sponsoring medical school and can be used only for salary support. No deductions are allowed for benefits, departmental or institutional overhead. The current stipend is $70,000 in each of the three years.

Candidates may be eligible to obtain additional salary support from their sponsoring institution. Fellows cannot concurrently hold a full fellowship from another source or a federally funded career development award. Other income will not preclude favorable consideration.

Leadership Award

Fellows receive leadership training and support to maximize their postdoctoral experience. Fellows participate in workshops and receive one-on-one coaching to foster their communication and leadership skills. The Foundation requires that fellows participate in the leadership program.

Timeline for Application Submission, Evaluation and Funding

The Foundation must receive the candidate’s completed application and letters of reference before 3:00 pm (PST) on November 7, 2024.

Please note the Foundation will not accept applications received after November 9th nor consider faxed or emailed applications. 

The Foundation will notify candidates of the status of their application by January 22, 2025.  Finalists will be interviewed on March 6, 2025.

Application Procedures

Applicants must use the online portal to apply to the 2025 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship & Leadership Award and should work with their mentor and grants officer to prepare the application in advance of the deadline to avoid errors and omissions. Application instructions are available here.

Notification to Candidates

The Foundation will notify candidates when their application is complete, but it may take a week for the Foundation to circle back with a candidate after the application has been submitted. Candidates must notify the Foundation if they accept another fellowship at any time during the application and review process (November 7, 2024 – March 6, 2025).

The A.P. Giannini Postdoctoral Research Fellowship & Leadership Award is competitive. In recent years, about 20 percent of candidates who apply receive awards. The Foundation does not provide candidates with critiques of their applications or their rankings in the review process.

The Scientific Advisory Committee places strong and equal emphasis on evaluating the academic record and potential of the candidate, the scientific innovation and medical significance of the research, the quality and nature of the proposed mentorship and the candidate’s plan to develop skills and experience to achieve career advancement.

The Committee emphasizes the following criteria in selecting candidates to interview:

  • The originality and the scientific and medical importance of the proposed research.
  • The relevance of the research into the treatment, prevention and cure for human diseases.
  • The accomplishments of the candidate as demonstrated in peer-reviewed publications and letters of recommendation.
  • The commitment of the candidate to a career in biomedical research.
  • The commitment of the principal investigator to provide significant and personalized leadership to mentor the candidate and support his/her career development.
  • The accomplishments of the principal investigator in the candidate’s field of inquiry.

Conditions of Fellowship Award

Fellows must comply with the following conditions of the fellowship award:

  • Activate the fellowship between July 1 and December 1, 2025.
  • Complete at least the first year of the fellowship before accepting another full fellowship.
  • Attend the Foundation’s communications and leadership workshops.
  • Notify the Foundation promptly if plans change and unable to continue the fellowship. The fellowship cannot be transferred to a different institution or mentor.
  • Devote at least 80% of time to research. Fellows may include time for clinical work.
  • Send the Foundation a brief report at the end of the first, second and third years of the fellowship summarizing the progress of the research project and fellowship experience.
  • Acknowledge the support of the A.P. Giannini Foundation in all published papers resulting from the research project and provide the Foundation with one reprint of each publication.
  • Include the title, “A.P. Giannini Postdoctoral Fellow,” in curriculum vitae, online profiles such as LinkedIn, and on department and lab websites.

2025 Application Instructions

The application is completed and submitted through this online portal. 

We recommend that you create an account and enter the names and e-mail addresses of your three references and mentor as early as possible.  Doing so will trigger e-mails from the application portal to your references and mentor; those emails will include a link through which your references and mentor submit their letters on your behalf. 

More information about qualified persons to serve as references is provided below.

All application materials, including letters from your three references, are due November 7, 2024, by 3 pm PST. 

The Foundation will not accept applications received after the November 7, 2024, deadline nor consider e-mailed or mailed applications.

Three Letters of Reference

The Foundation requires three letters of reference from qualified individuals best able to assess the candidate’s potential to conduct meaningful research. M.D. candidates should include a letter from their Residency Chief or Fellowship Director. For candidates with a Ph.D. degree, one of the three references must be the doctoral thesis advisor.

The quality and depth of these letters are critical to evaluating the candidate’s suitability for the fellowship program.  References must submit letters on their institution’s letterhead.

The candidate’s prospective mentor may not serve as one of the three references.

Mentor’s Letter of Support (maximum of four pages)

The mentor’s letter of support should provide a detailed, personalized appraisal of the candidate’s qualifications and proposed research.  The letter should outline the specific mentorship plan to help the candidate further develop his/her scientific career and promote his/her independence.  The letter should also include a brief description of the research facilities and equipment available to the candidate.

Research Application

The application further requires that candidates upload a single PDF that contains 6 components.  These 6 components, described in more detail below, are to be presented in the following order and labeled as follows:

1. Biosketch

2. Personal Statement

3. Non-Technical Statement

4. Significance of Proposed Research

5. Technical Statement of Proposed Research

6. Mentor's Biosketch

The six components of the application should be typed, using standard fonts no smaller than 12-point, and uploaded as a single PDF via the online portal:

1. The candidate’s biosketch and bibliography of relevant publications

Do not include poster presentations or conference abstracts.

Do not include copies of published articles.

2. Personal statement, not to exceed one page

Briefly describe why your experience and qualifications make you particularly well suited for the fellowship. Describe your mentor’s contribution and your level of independence on the project. Finally, state how the fellowship will assist in your future career path.

3. Non-technical statement for non-scientific audience in 300 words or fewer

State the title of your research project and provide a brief description of the proposed research project that can be understood by the general public.

4. Significance of proposed research for non-scientific audience, not to exceed one page

Explain the practical application of your research beyond the laboratory and the potential to help advance the translation of basic biomedical sciences into new preventions or treatments for human diseases.

5. Technical statement of proposed research, not to exceed five single-spaced pages (excluding bibliography)

Outline the research problem, the hypotheses, methodology, expected results and timeline for the research project.

6. Mentor’s NIH biosketch

In addition, include a list of the following: (1) no more than 15 publications relevant to the candidate’s research (2) current and pending support for the laboratory and (3) former postdoctoral trainees and their current positions.