Funding Basic and Orthopedic Research


1. Funds for orthopedic research in the US

2. US-based opportunities for a Dutch MD

Dear GrantDoctor,

I am a medical doctor, specialized in orthopedic surgery, hand and upper limb surgery. I finished a residency program in 1995 in Argentina, South America. I am looking for grants to perform a research postgraduate project at the University of Chicago Hospital's Bone and Joint Replacement Center.

I thank you very much for your time.



Dear Betina,

If you're not a U.S. citizen, then you may be out of the running for many grants and fellowships administered by U.S.-based foundations and government agencies. But, fortunately for you, there are some funding opportunities available for orthopedic surgeons from Argentina who want to do research here!

For example, you and other non-U.S. orthopedic surgeons will find a treasure trove of grants and fellowships for both medical residents and principal investigators (PIs) at the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF). One problem: although these grants and fellowships are not restricted to U.S. citizens, they do require that awardees already be working at a U.S. institution, and this year's application deadline is 1 August! So, you may not be settled in your position at the University of Chicago in time, but perhaps you could apply for an OREF grant or fellowship next year. OREF has some excellent funding opportunities--if you're going to be classified as a PI, for example, OREF's Research Grants provide a maximum of $50,000 a year for 2 years in start-up funds for new investigators. And the OREF Career Development Awards offer grants of as much as $75,000 per year for as many as 3 years to orthopedic surgeons with a demonstrated commitment to research.

Common workplace injuries include damage to hands and upper limbs, so it occurred to me that you might also be interested in occupational safety. If so, "Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities" is among the priority research areas listed in two grant announcements: Small Grants in Occupational Safety and Health Research, offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Occupational Safety and Health Research, co-sponsored by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health. These grants are awarded to U.S.-based institutions--not to individuals--so as a citizen of Argentina, you may be listed as a PI on the grant and conduct your research at the University of Chicago. Deadlines are 1 March, 1 July, and 1 November of each year.

Another possibility--if your interests extend to arthritis--may be the Arthritis Foundation's Arthritis Clinical Science Grant for physicians. These awards are available to physicians from any country who have great ideas for projects on arthritis. Physicians must be in residence at a U.S. nonprofit institution, and the deadline for applications--1 September 2001--gives you a bit more time to sort things out.

If none of these opportunities match your needs, then consider searching GrantsNet for more general grants and fellowships for studying in the U.S. You might also peruse the vast and informative GrantDoctor archives.

Good luck,

--The GrantDoctor

Dear GrantDoctor,

I have the following question. I am a Dutch MD, female, 29 years old. I would like to do a research project on the relation between thyroid hormone levels and age-related hearing loss at a Harvard Institute. This would be very basic research like creating a transgenic mouse and things like that. The possibility is there, only there is no money for me, so I have to bring "my own." Could you please help me because this would be such a great opportunity for me.


Dear Anonymous,

As a Dutch citizen, you're facing some of the same challenges finding funds for studying in the U.S. as Betina (see above). But tricky or not, the GrantDoctor has managed to come through once again with a few suggestions that you might want to pursue....

For basic "no-citizenship-strings-attached" research support for a medical doctor, what could be a better fit than the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI's) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for Physicians? According to the fellowship brochure, HHMI is committed to funding fellows who conduct "fundamental research on basic biological processes or disease mechanisms." To be eligible to apply, you must have received your medical degree and completed your clinical training no more than 10 years before applying. And you should have no more than 2 years of postdoctoral experience before submitting your application. The next deadline is 13 December 2001, which should give you plenty of time to organize things.

You may also be interested in the Eppley Foundation's Research Grants. The foundation offers grants to postdocs in all physical and biological sciences. As a non-U.S. citizen, though, you'll need to be "associated" with a U.S. institution. Whether that means you must already have accepted an offer from a U.S. institution or if a letter from Harvard saying that you are coming soon to their university would suffice is unclear. If you are indeed intrigued by these grants and you want to know more, be aware that the Eppley Foundation only accepts written queries sent by "snail mail." These grants are usually for only 1 year, and deadlines are the first days in February, May, August, and November of each year.

Two X chromosomes, you say? Well, fellowships from the Sigma Delta Epsilon Graduate Women in Science program provide funds for women to conduct scientific research. The deadline for the 1-year biological Sigma Delta Epsilon awards--the SDE, Vessa Notchev, and Eloise Gerry Fellowships--is 1 December of each year. You must already be conducting research in either a U.S. or foreign institution before you can apply.

Good luck,

--The GrantDoctor

Due to the high volume of questions received, The GrantDoctor cannot answer all queries on an individual basis. Look for an answer to your question published in this column soon! Thank you!

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