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 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. Each early-career scientists 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 study section (mock grant review panel) at the ASCB/EMBO Meeting; and exchange visits between the mentor’s and mentee’s respective institutions. Applications for the program are generally open from January to the end of March for cohorts that will start in the summer.


The ProgramWhy Apply?Application/Program RequirementsFinding a MentorPast FRED Recipients
The program duration is 1 year beginning in July 2019. Mentees and mentors accepted into the program will:
  • Attend a Career Development Workshop held on July 12-15 in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Prepare a grant to be submitted to the NIH, NSF, or other comparable funding agency (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 a mock study section to obtain feedback on the grant proposal at the 2019 ASCB/EMBO Meeting December 7-11 in Washington, DC
  • Get individualized, extensive, and expert feedback and guidance on your grant proposal
  • Receive 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, submit manuscript publication, and speak at conferences
  • Receive travel funds to attend 2019 ASCB/EMBO Meeting (up to $1,800)
  • Receive travel funds to visit mentor’s institution and give a seminar (up to $1,200)
Note: Nearly all past FRED mentees have submitted formal grant proposals, with over 50% awarded grants (higher than most success rates). Mentors:
  • Provide guidance and expertise to junior faculty to help retain underrepresented minorities in STEM
  • Expand your professional network
  • Receive travel funds to attend the 2019 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
Note: Past mentors overwhelmingly find the program beneficial to them and a worthwhile use of their time, and want to mentor another FRED mentee in the future!
Application Each junior faculty applicant needs a mentor who 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 “Finding a Mentor” tab).
  • 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 their 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.
Program Requirements
  • Attendance at FRED Summer Workshop in San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 12-15, 2019
  • Attendance and participation in the mock study section at the ASCB/EMBO Meeting in Washington, DC on December 7-11, 2019. (Note: You are welcome to, but not required to attend the entire meeting. Mentors and mentees need to attend the mock study section itself, one four-hour session.)
  • Monthly communication to monitor progress of grant proposal and receive feedback, facilitated by ASCB
  • Reciprocal institutional visits
  • You must be or become a member of the American Society for Cell Biology if accepted to the program.
  • Mentees must be a senior postdoctoral scientist about to launch into your own independent position or an nontenured junior faculty member in your current position for five years or less.
  • 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 our tips on finding a mentor if you need help.)
  • 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.
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! 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, lab mates, 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 National Research Mentoring Network 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. 6. Don’t forgot to explain how mentors benefit from the program when you are asking (Check out the benefits listed in the “Why Apply” tab)   
If you have any questions send an email to Ashanti Edwards aedwards@ascb.org