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The Faculty Research and Education Development (FRED) Program


Overview of the mentoring program

The Faculty Research and Education Development (FRED) Program is a year-long intervention offered by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) to promote grant funding success of junior faculty at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

The program will accept a limited number of young scientists and match each with a more experienced funded senior faculty at a research-intensive institution for a long-term structured mentoring relationship focused on preparation of a research or educational grant to be submitted to the NSF or comparable funding agency.  In addition to monthly phone/email conferences by junior faculty and mentors, the program will include:

  • A “Career Development Workshop for Junior Faculty and Mentors” held in July 1-2, 2014 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The workshop, which will introduce junior faculty and mentors, will focus on mentorship, grantsmanship, funding agency policies and opportunities, faculty survival skills, and will include a mock review panel/study section and the opportunity to interact with program officers from funding agencies. Junior faculty must provide a one-page summary and a specific aims page, which will be reviewed by their mentors, in order to participate.
  • A visit by each junior faculty to the mentor’s institution, at which they will present
a seminar.
  • A visit by the mentor to the junior faculty MSI, including a seminar presentation and meeting with students.
  • Junior faculty and mentors meeting at the ASCB Annual Meeting in December, to include review of grant proposals.
  • In addition, a curated website will be developed to disseminate results of this program and to serve as a resource for junior faculty and mentors throughout the U.S., and to promote communication among participants.


The mentoring program is focused on newly independent investigators.  Persons who are eligible to participate are senior postdoctoral scientists who are about to launch into their own independent positions and untenured junior faculty members who have been in their current positions for five years or less.  Minority professors and professors in colleges and universities with a high minority enrollment are especially encouraged to apply for this award.

Selection of mentored participants

Eligible scientists may submit applications to the Minorities Affairs Committee of the ASCB at any time prior to the April 1, 2014 deadline.  The selection committee will evaluate all complete applications using criteria that include the following considerations:

  • Impact of the program on the mentee as judged by the applicant’s statement;
  • Preparation of the applicant to be a mentee;
  • Submitted specific aims and summary drafts for the proposed grant application.

Selection of mentors

Mentors may apply to work with a specific junior faculty applicant, or to be matched with a suitable applicant by the selection committee.

Expectations of the participants

Writing a good grant proposal requires time, effort, and willingness of the proposer to react constructively to direct and often frank criticisms.  In order for the advice to be useful, it is necessary that the mentee provide the mentor a mature draft of the proposal at least three months, and preferably six months, prior to the deadline for submission of the proposal to the funding agency, as well as earlier drafts or grant components every month.  And it is important for the mentor to commit to providing constructive feedback in a prompt and understandable manner.  It is expected that the mentor should read and critique at least two drafts of the proposal prior to the development by the mentee of the final proposal.

Participant support

The award includes funding for travel by both the mentee and mentor to visit each other’s institutions.  These visits may occur during the writing process or after the grant has been submitted.  It is the MAC’s expectation that both the mentee and mentor will be invited to present a research talk to the academic community during the visits.  This mentoring program is a new initiative and it is important that we monitor it in order to improve it as we grow the program in the future.  Thus, from time to time, the Minorities Affairs Committee or its representatives will survey the participants in order to understand better the effectiveness of the program.  All participants—mentees and mentors—are expected to participate in these assessment surveys.  In addition, funding is provided for both to attend the June Career Development Workshop for Junior Faculty and Mentors, and the ASCB Annual Meeting the following December.  

For more information, contact ASCB Senior Manager, Minorities Affairs, Deborah McCall by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by phone at (301) 347-9323.

Deadline: April 1, 2014

Apply Here

Mentee Application Form

Mentor Application Form (To be completed by those interested in being a mentor)

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