Grant Writing Training (FRED)

This program is currently being considered for renewal and is not active.

FRED Mentoring Program for Grant Funding Success

The Faculty Research Education Development (FRED) Mentoring Program is designed to promote grant funding success for junior faculty at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and other institutions with a strong commitment to recruiting students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM to the field of cell biology.

Course Details

Course Objectives


  • Get individualized, extensive, and expert feedback and guidance on your grant proposal.
  • Gain valuable advice and guidance from a group of senior scientists.
  • Expand your professional network.
  • Facilitate collaboration.
  • Obtain other professional development including improved chances of promotion, invitations to present seminars and speak at conferences, manuscript publication.
  • Receive travel funds to attend ASCB|EMBO Meeting (up to $1,800).
  • Receive travel funds to visit mentor’s institution and give a seminar (up to $1,200).

Nearly all past FRED mentees have submitted formal grant proposals, with over 50% awarded grants (higher than most success rates).


  • Provide guidance and expertise to junior faculty and help retain underrepresented minorities in STEM.
  • Expand your professional network.
  • Receive travel funds to attend the ASCB|EMBO Meeting (up to $1,800).
  • Receive travel funds to visit mentee’s institution and give a seminar (up to $1,200).
  • Contribute to broader impacts of the scientific community.
  • Receive an honorarium.

Past mentors overwhelmingly find the program beneficial and a worthwhile use of time and want to mentor another FRED mentee in the future.

Program Requirements

Mentees and mentors accepted into the program will:

  • Attend a Career Development Workshop in the summer, July 12-15, 2019 in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Prepare a grant to be submitted to the NIH, NSF, or other comparable funding agency. The mentee prepares and submits grant; mentor provides mentorship/guidance during process.
  • Communicate with each other at least monthly to receive feedback on their grant proposal.
  • Visit each other’s institution to present a seminar and work on the grant proposal.
  • Attend the ASCB|EMBO Meeting in December to participate in a mock study section to obtain feedback on the grant proposal.

Who Is Eligible to Apply?

  • You must be or become a member of the American Society for Cell Biology if accepted to the program. Not a member? Join here and apply as a member applicant.
  • Mentees must be a senior postdoctoral scientist about to begin an independent position or an untenured junior faculty member in the current position for five or fewer years.
  • All program participants must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident, because FRED is funded by the National Science Foundation of the U.S. Federal Government
  • Each mentee who applies needs to have a mentor apply as well (see tips below on finding a mentor).
  • Priority is given to underrepresented minority faculty and faculty at MSIs. Faculty at other institutions with high underrepresented minority enrollment or a strong commitment to underrepresented students in the field of cell biology are also encouraged to apply.

 Application Requirements

  • A biosketch in NIH or NSF format
  • A specific aims page for the draft grant proposal you wish to develop
  • A signed letter (on institutional letterhead) indicating your willingness to participate in all aspects of the program
  • A letter from your chair or dean documenting support for your participation in this program, including release time to pursue your research or education program when this grant is funded
  • 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?
  • In one paragraph, explain why you meet the criteria for participation in the FRED program
  • For postdocs only, include a support letter from your research advisor
  • 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 willingness to participate in all aspects of the program including summer workshop, ASCB|EMBO Meeting mock study section, monthly communication with mentee, and reciprocal institutional visits.

Help Finding a Mentor

When you ask someone to mentor you, be sure you explain how they will benefit (see Course Objectives for Mentors above)

  1. Ask a former mentor/advisor (it reflects well on them to continue to mentor)
  • Your postdoc mentor
  • Your PhD advisor or dissertation committee members
  • Former research collaborators
  1. Ask 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, who will be pleased at your interest. Send an introductory email with your biosketch and FRED program information, and invite them to respond to set up a time for a phone call.
  1. Ask your peers to recommend someone
  • Maybe your former colleagues, lab mates, or classmates have suggestions
  • A mentor does not need to be in your research area. They just need to be fluent enough in your area of study to provide useful advice.
  1. Look for a mentor on the National Research Mentoring Network
  1. If you still cannot find a mentor, email a short paragraph about you and your research area and we will help try to find someone for you.


This program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation Grant #MCB-1340398.

2021 FRED Grant Writing Virtual Summer Workshop

This three-day interactive workshop will focus on
the preparation of proposals for a variety of NIH and NSF programs. The workshop will include structured working sessions on idea development, how to identify and recruit a grant writing mentor, and refining ideas into specific aims. Interested in this opportunity? Register now.

When: July 29-31, 2021

Deadline to Apply: July 9, 2021

Past FRED Recipients

Anita Quintana, FRED 2019 mentee

"The FRED program is an exceptional way for junior faculty and junior investigators to gain professional development and grant writing training. The events sponsored by the FRED program were an integral component of my development and have helped to propel my career forward."

Robert Kao, FRED 2018 mentee

"ASCB FRED provided me with all the essential toolkit and strategies for developing a competitive and funded grant."

Fernando Vonhoff, FRED 2018 mentee

"At the FRED program I felt the support from a whole group of mentors that really cared about human connections and excellent science. It was my first "meta-mentorship" experience"


Urbain Weyemi, FRED 2018 mentee

"The FRED program with the ASCB has significantly reshaped and fostered my young scientific career. Through FRED, I was able to find a great mentor who has been very instrumental in helping transitioning from a postdoctoral to a faculty level"

Leslie Caromile, FRED 2017 mentee

“Participation in the ASCB FRED program provided me the opportunity to work with award winning scientists and mentors to craft impactful NIH and DOD grant applications in the field of prostate cancer tumor cell biology. Both applications were funded! I can truthfully say that the tools and experiences gained from my participation in the FRED program will be beneficial to my scientific career for year to come”

Aníbal Valentín-Acevedo, FRED 2017 mentee

"Participating on the FRED Program gave me the opportunity to  receive much needed mentoring and advice, but most importantly,  it helped me create professional connections that impacted and will continue to positively impact my career for years to come"

Hadiyah Nicole-Green, FRED 2015 mentee

"It’s one thing to have a grant writing training session but it’s another to face a panel of funded veterans in my field. These were all people who’ve had successful funding careers and they brought me to another level of insight. To have that kind of expertise from people who have sat on panels that decided the fate of so many grants . . . was priceless."

Lalita Shevde-Samant, FRED 2015 mentor

"Everybody should have a mentor at some point in their life"

Nathan Bowen, FRED 2015 mentee

"Coming together face to face with my mentor . . . and with the other mentors, mentees, and the MAC members for a few days of intentional mentoring was a career-affirming experience"

Anita Corbett, FRED 2015 mentor

"Nothing is more critical than dedicated time to discuss attainable goals and plans for the future that is created by the FRED interaction."

Mark Mamula, FRED 2015 mentor

"The FRED program allows new scientist/scholars the opportunity to learn important fundamentals in succeeding in academic research . . . Moreover, the FRED program also cultivates scientific collaborations among junior and senior investigators in ways that may not have otherwise developed"


"The FRED program helped launch my NIH-funded academic research career and helped pave the way for several other opportunities. Following mentoring through this program, I received an R01-equivalent SC1 award from NIGMS, a Visiting Professorship to work at Harvard Medical School from the ASCB MAC, a 2019/20 US-UK Fulbright-CRUK scholarship to work at the U. of Manchester Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, and an R13 grant to support our CSUN-based CSU-ICM event from the NCI. The opportunities have significantly increased my lab's research and mentoring capacity"


Michelle Martínez Montemayor, FRED 2014 mentee

"The ASCB FRED program helped me secure NIH and private grants, a promotion in rank, participation in NCI R01 and R15 study sections and many significant collaborations. The leadership is very inclusive and supportive of minority scientists, which facilitates the difficult process of fitting in and increases the sense of belonging in the same circles as renowned scientists. As a first FRED cohort participant and grant awardee, the FRED leadership encouraged my participation as a lecturer and mock grant reviewer in subsequent FRED workshops. I have met outstanding fellows and faculty who have also influenced me into becoming a successful scientist. I am very proud to be a FRED mentee and recommend it to all my fellow minority scientists."