Genentech Career Development Award for Underrepresented Minority Emerging Vision Scientists
The Genentech Career Development Award for Underrepresented Minority Emerging Vision Scientists provides research funding to early-career underrepresented minority (URM) investigators who have received their initial faculty appointment and are working to establish an independent vision research program. The award provides a two-year grant totaling $100,000 to support research and personnel costs.
The intent of the award is to provide URM investigators who are early in their careers with an opportunity to explore novel and innovative research project ideas. The award is intended to provide resources to promote the generation of promising preliminary results that may be leveraged to catalyze success in earning additional, longer-term funding support, as well as the authorship of impactful scientific publications.
The successful applicant will have strong scientific mentorship support at their home institution. ARVO will match the recipient with a mentor outside of their home institution to provide support related to career advancement. This mentor will be a senior member of the eye and vision research community thoughtfully selected from the ARVO membership to ensure a productive, meaningful mentorship relationship.
2021 recipient: Elizabeth Zuniga-Sanchez, PhD
Elizabeth Zuniga-Sanchez, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Her lab's research focuses on identifying the key molecular interactions that mediate selective wiring of photoreceptors to their respective synaptic targets. They aim to uncover general principles of neural circuit formation, as the molecular mechanisms of wiring complex circuits in the retina may be conserved within other regions of the central nervous system. Their long-term objective is to make significant contributions in vision research, with the overall goal of preserving and restoring sight in those affected with retinal diseases.
Scientific area of focus
The fellowship will provide funding to support a well-conceived research project in any area of vision science.
Eligibility criteria will include the following:
- Applicant must be from historically disadvantaged backgrounds- e.g. membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American Professoriate has been severe and longstanding:
- Alaskan Native (Aleut, Eskimo, or other indigenous People of Alaska)
- Black/African American/Afro-Caribbean
- Mexican/Mexican American
- Native American Indian
- Native Pacific Islander (Hawaiian/Polynesian/Micronesian)
- Puerto Rican
- Applicant must be within the first four (4) years of a primary academic appointment
- Applicant must have a strong record of scholarly productivity and be poised to become an independent investigator. Candidates with an active NIH R01 or equivalent government grant are not eligible. Candidates with a current or previous ARVO Foundation career development awards are also ineligible.
- Applicant must be employed in the United States. Applicants must be a US citizen, permanent resident, or have DACA status.
- Applicant must be working in the field of eye and/or vision research
- Applicant must have an academic appointment at the level of Instructor or Assistant Professor (or equivalent) at the time the award is made (December of the year of application)
- Applicant must not be related by blood or marriage to any current member of the awards committee, or any current officer of ARVO or the ARVO Foundation
- ARVO and ARVO Foundation Officers, Board members and ARVO Foundation Awards Committee members are not eligible to apply for or be nominated for an award nor may they supply letters of support during their terms
Use of funds
Funds may be used for research, including salary of research staff, student support and laboratory supplies. Funds may not be used for purchasing major equipment (cost exceeding $5,000). No overhead fees can be assessed. The project period must commence within six months of notification of the award and be completed within two years of the start date. The award is not transferrable to other institutions. The award cannot be used for the principal investigator’s salary.
The fellowship application process will use ARVO’s online application program and follow all ARVO policies. Eligible applicants must adhere to all application requirements, pre-award deadlines, and post award requirements. Award applications open on July 1 and close September 1. Awardees shall be notified by the end of the calendar year.
The application has four parts and will include submission of:
Part 1 - Introduction of the applicant
- Applicant’s biographical sketch (NIH style-5 page limit)
- Outline of the applicant’s career objectives shall be included in the personal statement of the biographical sketch (no more than 250 words)
- Brief discussion of how this award will benefit the applicant (1 page; minimum 10 pt. font)
Part 2 - Scientific statement
- Detailed scientific statement (3 pages; minimum 10 pt. font), to include:
- Abstract (30 lines) to be used in the announcements of the successful applicant
- Research and objectives
- Explanation of the use of funds
- Budget outline and justification
Part 3 - Letters of support
- Biographical sketch of the applicant’s local mentor; please use personal statement section to address mentoring experience
- Letter of support from department chair, including the following:
- Assessment of the applicant’s scientific expertise, including where the candidate has exhibited scientific initiative and their potential for independent research
- Description of the applicant’s mentoring plan within the department
- Description of the research environment
- Affirmation that funding will go directly to support awardee
- Letter of support from another member of the department who can speak to the applicant’s research
- At least one additional letter of personal reference that speaks to the applicant’s potential (may not be from a relative).
Part 4 - Affirmations
- Affirmation of meeting all eligibility requirements
- Affirmation of adherence to all relevant ARVO policies (see policies described below)
The ARVO Foundation will require that applicants abide by the following ARVO policies: Statement for the Use of Animals in Ophthalmic and Vision Research, Statement on Registering Clinical Trials, and any local rules and regulations.
Review of applications
A committee of subject matter experts selected from the ARVO membership will serve on the ARVO Foundation Awards Committee to review and evaluate applicants. Review will be based upon but not limited to: the impact of the award on the applicant’s career, the potential scientific impact of the proposed research project, resources available to the candidate and the suitability of the research environment.
All decisions regarding the selection of these fellowships will be made solely by ARVO and the ARVO Foundation and will not include Genentech, or its representatives in any part of the process. Upon selection of the successful applicant and their acceptance of the award, Genentech will receive the awardee’s biosketch and an abstract of the research project described in the application.
Post-award reporting and responsibilities
The awardee will be responsible for submitting a substantive progress report to the ARVO Foundation 90 days prior to the end of the first year. The second-year payment is contingent upon the receipt of this report and adequate evidence of research progress.
Awardees will be expected to submit their findings for possible presentation (platform or poster) at an ARVO Annual Meeting through the conventional abstract submission process. This fellowship award does not include a guaranteed opportunity to present results during an ARVO Annual Meeting.
The Awardee shall prepare and submit results as appropriate for publication in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, or another scientific/ medical journal. At the conclusion of the grant, a final report must be submitted to the ARVO Foundation within 30 days of completion.
The final report and publication plan will be shared with Genentech. Upon the successful candidate’s request, the ARVO Foundation will also facilitate a meeting of Genentech representatives and the awardee to informally discuss the work.
This fellowship program does not include a guaranteed opportunity to work for Genentech or any of its affiliated companies.
Applications open July 1
Applications close Sept. 13
Recipients notified December