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ADA Postdoctoral Initiator Pathway Program

General Information

Program Description

The ADA Initiator Pathway opportunity is a two-phased award designed to support the transition of postdoctoral scientists from mentored training to independent research faculty. These awards are highly competitive and intended to support particularly innovative and transformational ideas that have the potential to have an exceptional impact in diabetes with an emphasis on the investigator’s potential to significantly transform diabetes through translational research (“moving the needle”) to improve the lives of people with diabetes. These awards provide salary and research support for applicants during late stages of mentored training through establishment as independent research faculty.


Schools may submit one (1) application for Penn’s internal competition.


  • Must currently be in full-time research training position (postdoctoral fellow, research fellowship).
  • Have no more than seven years of research training following terminal doctoral degree.
  • Cannot concurrently hold an NIH K99/R00 grant. (All other career development awards are allowable unless concurrent awards prohibited by the other granting agency.)
  • Must devote at least 75 percent of their total time and effort to research during the funding period (with 50-100 percent effort to the ADA project as defined below).
  • At the end of Phase 1 (two years into award), the investigator needs to have obtained a faculty appointment at an accredited research institution.
  • For any sponsored research projects, the applicant must be eligible to serve as Principal Investigator for the project, unless otherwise noted in the LSO. Please see Penn’s PI Eligibility requirements to ensure you are eligible.

Award Information

  • A research award of $100,000/year in Phase 1; up to $325,000/year in Phase 2 for up to seven years. Maximum combined support for Phase 1 and Phase 2 is $1,625,000.
  • Support: Project support and PI salary.
  • Indirect support: Up to 10 percent of directs in Phase 1; up to 30 percent of directs in Phase 2.
  • Project percent effort required: 75-100 percent effort to the ADA project in Phase 1; 50-75 percent effort to the ADA project in Phase 2.

Review Process

Selection Criteria

The University has been invited to nominate 1 Postdoctoral Fellow. A committee, established by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR), will determine the final nominees to represent the University. This call for nominations will prioritize translational applications that move knowledge and discovery gained from basic research to its eventual translation into patient and population benefit. The ideal applicant will propose innovative research that will be an important step towards the eventual goal of improving the lives of people at risk of diabetes or living with the disease—and the pathway to this impact is clear.

OVPR Internal Review Process

Applications must include the following:

  1. Cover Page which includes:
    • Proposal Title
    • Candidate’s name, academic rank, department, email address, phone number and campus address.   
  2. Letter of Institutional Nomination (maximum 1 page): The letter should delineate the institution’s nomination and commitment to the applicant.
  3. Letters of Recommendation (maximum 1 page): Three Letters of Recommendation assessing the scientific abilities and potential of the applicant are required and must be uploaded to the application at the time of submission.
  4. Research Proposal (maximum 3 pages): including project title, aims and objectives. References should also be included to support the proposal but are not counted in the three-page limit. 
  5. A CV (Using NIH format) (maximum 5 pages), which includes educational background, professional appointments, awards and honors. Include all current research support (start-up and external) and pending support, including dollar amounts and start/end dates.
  6. All materials must be submitted in a single pdf document in the above order to
  7. Subject line of the email should be, ADA_Initiator_applicant LAST name_ applicant FIRST name.