NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER)

Note to PIs: The following program summary is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It does not replace the sponsor’s actual funding opportunity announcement. Always review the most recent version of the sponsor’s full announcement to verify that the deadline has not changed and to identify the most current program requirements.

About the program

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.


A Principal Investigator (PI) may submit only one CAREER proposal per annual competition. In addition, a Principal Investigator may not participate in more than three CAREER competitions. Proposals that are not reviewed (i.e., are withdrawn before review or are returned without review) do not count toward the three-competition limit.

Award amount and award period

The CAREER award, including indirect costs, is expected to total a minimum of $400,000 for the 5-year duration, with the following exceptions: Awards for proposals to the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), the Directorate for Engineering (ENG), or the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) are expected to total a minimum of $500,000 for the 5-year duration. Before preparing a CAREER proposal, PIs are strongly encouraged to contact their disciplinary Program Officer or the appropriate CAREER contact to discuss budget requests for their proposed CAREER activities, and typical funding levels for their discipline. Many programs and Directorates prefer to make more awards by funding CAREER proposals closer to the minimum award size. Proposers should also review the list of recent CAREER awards made in their discipline for guidance on average award size.

Application deadline

July 19, 2017
Third Wednesday in July, Annually Thereafter


July 20, 2017
Third Thursday in July, Annually Thereafter

for ENG

July 21, 2017
Third Friday in July, Annually Thereafter


Learn more

Visit https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17537/nsf17537.htm.

Last updated: August 1, 2019.