The Department of Defense (DoD) on March 14 announced $3.6 million in Supplemental Support for Research Trainees (SSRT) awards to 34 early career researchers pursuing basic research across multiple scientific disciplines. These one-year funding add-ons to existing DoD grants will help offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the continued work of 25 PhD candidates and nine postdoctoral fellows at universities across the United States.
“DoD basic research funding serves to train and develop the next generation of creative and far-thinking U.S. researchers,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, Director, Basic Research Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering [OUSD (R&E)]. “The pandemic has severely disrupted career paths, and we are proud to make these funds available to trainees as they prepare to launch their research careers in support of national security needs.”
Early career nominees were evaluated by the Basic Research Office based on the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on their career progression and their proposed research. In total, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research received 54 proposals from 44 different institutions, of which 34 early career researchers were selected for SSRT funding. The coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on the health, wellbeing, and productivity of the U.S. scientific and technological community, disproportionally affecting the professional development of early career researchers and disrupting the normal progression of the researcher talent development pipeline.