Medical Research

Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists


The purpose of the Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists is to provide supplemental, flexible funds to early-career physician-scientists working on clinical research projects and facing extraprofessional demands of caregiving. Ten U.S. medical schools administer these funds to eligible faculty. The goal of this program is to retain early-career physician scientists in research.  

Individuals are not eligible to apply directly to DDCF for these institutional awards. 

Participating Institutions

  • Duke University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Yale University

Click here for descriptions of each participating institution.

History & Rationale

Over 40 percent of young physicians with fulltime faculty appointments at academic medical schools leave academics within ten years.[1] The reason behind this attrition is complex and multi-dimensional, but one factor is that young faculty members, particularly women, face substantial extraprofessional demands such as childcare and eldercare.

Several innovative programs have been developed at the institutional level to help researchers maintain productivity in the face of transitory, significant obstacles. Often referred to as “extra hands” awards, these financial supplements provide technical assistance to young faculty members.[2] Evaluation of one of these programs has shown return on investment in the form of retention of scientists in research, promotion within academic ranks, and attainment of new grants.[3]

Furthermore, the Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering (IWISE), a consortium of leaders from scientific and medical fields, recently recommended that grant-making organizations and institutions consider creating gender-neutral award programs for primary caregivers that provide supplemental research support.[4]

To assist researchers facing these demands, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is offering the opportunity for institutions to establish a Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists.

Award Details

The foundation has awarded 10 five-year grants of $540,000 each ($500,000 in direct costs, plus $40,000 in indirect costs) to U.S. medical schools and affiliated hospitals that will identify and provide supplemental, flexible funds to young faculty members working on clinical research projects and facing significant extraprofessional demands of caregiving. These supplemental funds are recommended to range from $30,000 to $50,000 per individual per year, with a total of about six awards to early-career faculty member over the term of the grant.

Institutions identified a program director and optional co-director who are responsible for managing the selection process, mentoring the young scientists who receive funding, overseeing an evaluation of program outcomes and contributing to the network of program directors from the 10 schools.

Program directors are responsible for establishing a program that provides supplemental grants to physician scientists at the junior faculty level who are working on significant biomedical problems. These early-career physician-scientists must have active financial support for their main research and be on a clear trajectory to a successful independent research career. Importantly, they must be able to demonstrate a compelling case for why the funds are needed to maintain productivity when also facing significant demands of being a caregiver.

The supplemental funds from the Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists would typically be used to support technical assistance for one to two years.  

New grants are not being offered at this time.

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[1] Association of American Medical Colleges. Available at:

[2] Munson, Weisz, and Masur. 2014. Juggling on the Ladder: Institutional Awards Help Faculty Overcome Early-Mid Career Obstacles. American Society of Cell Biology Newsletter 37:9

[4] Smith et al, 2015. Seven actionable strategies for advancing women in science, engineering, and medicine. Cell Stem Cell Forum 16:221.