Know an assistant professor in need of grant writing help?

The ASCB Faculty Research and Education Development (FRED) Mentoring Program aims to promote grant funding success for junior faculty or senior postdocs at minority-serving institutions and other institutions with a commitment to students that are underrepresented in STEM. By partnering early-career scientists with successful senior scientists, this program enables junior faculty to receive individualized and structured help for one year and make use of extensive feedback to develop a competitive grant proposal.

FRED is run by the ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee and is a National Science Foundation (NSF)–funded opportunity for junior faculty to work with more senior faculty with an excellent track record of grant funding with the direct goal of preparing and submitting a strong proposal to the NSF, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or a comparable funding agency. Proposals can be research- or education-focused, and participants will learn about the array of funding mechanisms open to them, beyond NIH R01-type grants. In the four years that this program has been available within ASCB, nearly all participants have submitted grant proposals, with over half obtaining funding, which is a higher than typical success rate. Participants benefit in additional ways, with many receiving promotions or committee appointments, publishing their work, or making other significant achievements that came about in part because of their involvement in the FRED program.

This year-long program facilitates regular communication between junior faculty and their selected senior faculty mentor. In addition, the program enables collaboration, networking, and professional development between the mentor and mentee. To achieve this, the FRED program provides funding for a summer career development workshop on grant writing, a mock grant review panel at the ASCB Annual Meeting in December, and the opportunity to exchange visits between the mentor’s and mentee’s institutions.
Strong candidates are those who, as faculty, will have an impact on underrepresented minorities in cell biology and STEM and are willing to work with a mentor to achieve funding success. To apply, a mentee must find an eligible and willing mentor and provide a summary of the anticipated impact of this grant on the mentee’s career. Most mentors do not find participation to be an undue time burden, want to do it again, and benefitted from being in the program in several ways. If an applicant does not have a mentor in mind, ASCB has suggestions to help or will try to help find one.

The next deadline for applications is March 25, 2018, and eligible candidates are highly encouraged to apply. More information on the program and past participants is available at: For questions, please email Sydella Blatch at

About the Author:

Pinar Gurel is a postdoctoral fellow in the Alushin lab at Rockefeller University where she is investigating the role of actin structural plasticity in mechanosensation using cryoEM and other biophysical tools. Pinar earned her PhD in the Higgs lab at Dartmouth College where she studied the mechanism of actin filament severing by the formin, INF2. She is currently the co-chair of COMPASS. Email: Twitter: @pinar_gurel