What is FRED?

The FRED (Faculty Research and Education Development) Mentoring Program is a structured mentorship program designed to promote grant funding success for junior faculty at MSIs (minority-serving institutions) and other institutions with a strong commitment to recruiting students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM to the field of cell biology. Each early-career scientist will work with a senior faculty research mentor with a strong track record of grant funding, with the goal of preparing a strong research or educational grant proposal for submission to the NSF, NIH, or comparable funding agency. The program is structured to facilitate regular communication between the mentors and mentees, as well as several opportunities for more intensive collaboration on proposal development. Highlights of the year-long program include funding for attendance at: a summer workshop on funding, with time to work with your mentor on your proposal; a mock grant review panel at the ASCB Annual Meeting; and exchange visits between the mentor’s and mentee’s institutions. Applications for the program are generally open from January to the end of March for cohorts that will start in the summer.

Application Requirements:

  1. *Each junior faculty applicant needs a mentor that should also apply to the program.  If you don’t already have someone in mind to be a mentor, we can help you find one!  (See below).
  2. A Biosketch in NIH or NSF format
  3. A specific aims page for the draft you wish to develop
  4. A signed letter (on institutional letterhead) indicating your willingness to participate in all aspects of the program.
  5. A letter from your chair or dean documenting support for your participation in this program, including release time to purse your research or education program when this grant is funded.
  6. A brief, one-page summary of the anticipated impact of this grant on your career, answering:  what are your career plans and how will this grant help you get where you want to go?
  7. In one paragraph, explain why you meet the criteria for participation in the FRED program.
  8. For postdocs only, include a support letter from your research advisor.
  9. The application for the mentor consists of a Biosketch (NSF or NIH format), list of Other Support, mentee name, and signed letter (on institutional letterhead) indicating their willingness to participate in all aspects of the program.

Do You Need to Find a FRED Mentor?

If you are interested in applying to the FRED program as a mentee, but need to find a mentor, here are some helpful hints.  Remember when you ask someone, include the benefits of being a FRED mentor (listed below)!
1.     Ask some of your prior mentors/advisors etc.
  • Your postdoc mentor
  • Your PhD advisor or dissertation committee members
  • Former research collaborators
Many of your former mentors still want to be your mentor, and if you do well, it reflects well on them!
2.     Experts in your field
Who are the leading experts in your area of study?  What papers do you read, consult or cite?  Who presented a talk or a poster at a conference that you were interested in?  You can contact those scientists.  It can be very flattering to receive such an email from someone you don’t know. Send an introductory email with your biosketch and FRED program information, and invite them to respond to set up a time for a phone conference.
3.     Ask your peers if they can recommend someone.
Maybe your former colleagues, labmates, classmates and others have a suggestion.  Your mentor does not need to have the exact same research area as yours.  They just need to be fluent enough in your area of study to provide useful advice.
4.     Look for a mentor on NRMN
The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) is a platform to connect biomedical scientists with mentoring relationships.  Mentors sign up, meaning they want to mentor someone! https://nrmnet.net/
5.     If you still cannot find a mentor, send us a short paragraph about you and your research area and we will help try to find someone for you.

Benefits of being a FRED Mentor

  • Travel funds to the ASCB Annual Meeting (up to $1800)
  • Travel funds to visit mentee’s institution and give a seminar
  • Mentee visiting your institution to give a seminar
  • Expand your professional network
  • Contribute to broader impacts of the scientific community
  • Honorarium
If you have any questions send an email to Sydella Blatch sblatch@ascb.org
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