The Department of Defense (DoD) offers a number of research funding opportunities for Early Career Faculty with the long-term goal of developing the next generation of academic scientists, engineers and mathematicians in strategic disciplines whose research aligns with agency mission and priorities. 

Note to PIs: The following summaries are intended for informational purposes and do not replace the sponsor's actual funding opportunity announcement. Always review the sponsor's full announcement to verify program guidelines, requirements and deadlines.

The Air Force Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) supports young in career scientists and engineers who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees within the last seven years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The program objectives are to foster creative basic research in science and engineering; enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators; and increase opportunities for the young investigator to recognize the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering.

  • Most YIP awards are funded up to $150,00 per year for three years. Approximate submission deadlines: mid-May (White Papers); mid-July (full proposals).

YIP awards are one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the Army on outstanding scientists beginning their independent careers. The objective of the YIP is to attract outstanding young university faculty members to pursue fundamental research in areas relevant to the Army, to support their research in these areas, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.

  • Research areas of interest are mechanical sciences, mathematical sciences, electronics, computing science, physics, chemistry, life sciences, materials science, network science, and environmental sciences. 
  • Outstanding YIP projects may be considered for a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
  • Typical awards are funded up to $120,000 per year for 3 years. Proposals are accepted anytime.

The ONR Young Investigator Program seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment, who have received their doctorate or equivalent degree on or after 01 January 2012, and who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. The program objectives are to attract outstanding faculty members of Institutions of Higher Education to the Department of the Navy's Science and Technology (S&T) research program, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.

  • Proposals addressing research areas described in the ONR science and technology (S&T) department section of ONR's website, which are of interest to ONR program officers and division directors, will be considered.
  • Applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to contact the appropriate Program Officer who is the point of contact for a specific technical area to discuss their research ideas. 
  • Typical awards are $510,000 over a 36-month period. Additional funding may be requested (under the 36-month period) up to $250,000 to cover equipment costs, testing, ship time, etc. Approximate submission deadline for full proposals: mid-August.

The objective of the DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA) program is to identify and engage rising stars in junior research positions, emphasizing those without prior DARPA funding, and expose them to DoD needs and DARPA’s program development process. The YFA program provides funding, mentoring and industry and DoD contacts to awardees early in their careers so they may develop their research ideas in the context of national security needs. The long term goal of the YFA program is to develop the next generation of academic scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who will focus a significant portion of their career on DoD and National Security issues.

  • Participation in the YFA program is limited to any current tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professors and to tenured Assistant or Associate Professors within three (3) years of their tenure appointment at a U.S. institution of higher education or equivalent at a U.S. non-profit science and technology research institution.
  • Anticipated award amount: up to $500,000 in 24-month base period and up to $500,000 if 12-month option period. Approximate submission deadlines: mid-September (Executive Summaries), mid-November (full proposals).


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For assistance developing DoD proposals, please contact Research Development



To learn about other funding opportunities for Early Career Faculty, please the additional resource pages listed below.