CTSI/Medical School Early Career Research Award

Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) / Medical School Early Career Research Award


The Clinical and Translational Science Institute CTSI/Medical School Early Career Research Award (ECRA) strives to increase the diversity of the University of Minnesota Medical School tenure-track faculty. It provides dedicated funding to support recruiting early career research faculty who are underrepresented in medicine (URM). Funded by the Medical School, this award is open only to Medical School faculty or faculty who are being actively recruited by the Medical School.

Description of the Award

Annually for five consecutive years, the Medical School will recruit three URM early career, research-oriented faculty for tenure-track positions. Each recruited faculty member will be provided with commitment from the ECRA program for up to 75 percent salary support for three year (including salary and fringe not to exceed the NIH salary cap. The recruited faculty member will also be provided with $500,000 in start-up funding to be used to support her or his research.

Departments may contribute additional support to the start-up package or additional salary, with associated fringe benefits. The award application and reporting will be administered by the Medical School Office Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, in collaboration with the CTSI Research Training, Education and Career Development Core (CTSI-Ed).


Medical School Office of Diversity Equity & Inclusion: ms-odei@umn.edu

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Faculty eligible for ECRA must:

  • Have an MD/DO, PhD or equivalent terminal degree
  • Be in the process of being recruited as tenure-track faculty member at the Medical School. Recruitment can be from a UMN training program or within the first three years of an external faculty appointment
  • Be from an NIH-recognized URM group defined as Black or African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders, and those with disabilities, defined as physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Have from the requesting department a guarantee of a minimum of 75 percent time and effort protected for research for the first three years of faculty appointment. Any clinically relevant topic of research is permitted

ECRA Eligibility Process & Criteria


ECRA Recruiting

  1. RECRUITMENT: During the recruitment process, the Department Head (DH) or designated proxy indicates potential additional resources/training programs (e.g. CTSI scholars including ECRA).
  2. ECRA INQUIRY: DH/proxy communicates with the Vice Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (VD DEI) interest in ECRA eligibility and shares available information for pre-review (CV, research plan, reference letters).
  3. PRE-REVIEW ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION (VD DEI): Available materials are reviewed to determine appropriateness, qualifications, and discussion/decision; communicate with DH to proceed and submit a full application.
  4. ELIGIBILITY NOTIFICATION: If pre-approved, DH is notified and invited to submit a full application including a departmental support letter. If not approved, information about ineligibility is provided.
  5. ECRA INTERVIEW SCHEDULED: The faculty candidate is notified of their pre-eligible status and scheduled for an interview with the Selection Committee.


ECRA Interview

  1. ECRA CANDIDATE INTERVIEW: The Selection Committee interviews the faculty candidate; discusses and decides on award approval.
  2. ECRA FUNDING APPROVAL LETTER: Medical School ODEI, with the Dean's Finance office, creates a Notification of Approval letter.
  3. APPROVAL NOTIFICATION: Written notification of approval is sent to the DH (includes expectations of the department and faculty candidate) or non-approval (with feedback).
  4. ECRA SLOT HELD: Contingent on successful recruitment, an approved ECRA “slot” is held to allow completion of the recruitment process by the department.


ECRA Onboard

  1. RECRUITMENT COMPLETED: The DH completes recruitment, providing progress updates every 2-3 months to Medical School ODEI.
  2. LOGISTICAL SUPPORT: The ECRA Scholar, Departmental Finance and Dean’s Office Finance leads meet to discuss ECRA resource logistics and planning.
  3. ECRA SCHOLAR NAMED: The faculty candidate is named an ECRA Scholar and participates in Medical School/CTSI available and required activities designed for ECRA faculty.
  4. NETWORKING: The new ECRA scholar is invited to the ECRA Scholar Faculty Group; a monthly mentoring session with VD DEI; the BIPOC Faculty Scholar Group, as well as CTSI scholar training cohorts.

ECRA Onboarding Process & Year 1 Expectations

ECRA Application Requirements

The Early Career Research Award opened for applications on January 1, 2019.  Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2024 on an open and rolling basis (i.e. no deadline).

Three faculty members will be selected for this award per academic year (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2024) until a maximum of 15 faculty members over five academic years are awarded. The awards will be on a first-come, first-served basis annually.

The request for application must be initiated by a Department Head or their designated proxy and submitted using the online application form.

Application requirements include:

  1. Department chair letter of recommendation (with clearly stated commitment to protected time, description of collaborative opportunities at the University of Minnesota, vision of the candidate aiding in departmental growth and contributions to faculty diversity.)
  2. NIH Biosketch
  3. Full CV*
  4. Individual Development Plan (may be revised based on the recommendation of the Selection Committee.)
  5. Research Plan Statement* (addresses focus of research and specific aims)
  6. Three external letters of reference* (that specifically address the potential of the candidate as a successful academic researcher; these may overlap with faculty appointment letters of reference.)
  7. Proposed mentors list and justification for mentoring committee members* (one page total); attach NIH Biosketch if mentors are external to UMN Medical School
  8. ECRA cover sheet (.doc) (certifying application of information)

*Pre-review materials

Submit ECRA Application

Requirement While Receiving Award

  • Acceptance of a full-time appointment at University of Minnesota as a tenure-track assistant professor

  • Minimum 75 percent time and effort protected for research for at least three years

  • Active and regular participation in the appropriate CTSI-Ed career development program. Activities Include:

    • Formation of a multidisciplinary mentoring team that meets as a group a minimum of three times per year
    • After each mentoring team meeting, written summary reports, including suggestions and recommendations, must be sent to the department chair and selection committee via ODEI*
    • Provide an annual progress report and individual development plan (IDP) to the selection committee
    • Submit an individual NIH K award in year two of funding and resubmit in year three if necessary
    • Participation in other selected activities is highly recommended, but not required, including the Faculty Success Program through the independent National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, the University of Minnesota Health Equity Leadership & Mentoring program and other research mentoring programs/professional development opportunities based upon the IDP

* It is the responsibility of the awardee to schedule the mentor committee meetings.

Continued funding in years two and three is contingent on meeting these requirements and approval of the selection committee based upon the annual progress report and IDP. 


ECRA Scholars