applications regardless of the projects' immediate applicability.
One feature of the NIH health sciences program has been its support of graduate and postgraduate training and its awards to junior faculty. NIH has three early career programs:
Graduate students are supported by training grants awarded to institutions with the strongest faculties and curricula, as judged by competition. An institution selects its graduate students, and the grant pays stipends and tuition costs for three to five years.
Postdoctoral fellows are supported by individual grants awarded by competition to scientists nearing completion of their graduate studies who have applied to carry out postdoctoral research. They are generally three-year awards.
Junior investigators are supported by individual, competitive grants awarded to junior faculty to defray their salaries and some part of their research costs for five years. Their universities release them from some teaching obligations for that period. The awards permit young scientists to redirect their interests and to spend much of their time doing research at the start of their careers.
NIH has been the source of hundreds of millions of dollars for equipment and major construction at universities (although the amounts awarded have decreased sharply in recent years). The program has been of inestimable value in increasing the pace of research at recipient institutions. NIH's grants for research, training, other infrastructural elements, such as instruments, facilities, symposia, meetings, and public information has resulted in the construction of a comprehensive and complete system of support for biomedical research.