Launching Successful Beginnings for Early Career Faculty Researchers

Vicki S. Conn, Cindy M. Anderson, Cheryl Killion, Barbara J. Bowers, Jean F. Wyman, Linda M. Herrick, Julie J. Zerwic, Carol E. Smith, Marlene Z. Cohen, Lazelle E. Benefield, Robert Topp, Nancy L. Fahrenwald, Marita G. Titler, Janet L. Larson, Maureen M. Varty, Urmeka T. Jefferson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Junior faculty follow a research path replete with challenges as they strive to create knowledge in their area of interest while balancing new responsibilities. Unlike graduate school, where students focus inward on personal development, junior faculty must add responsibilities in ways that hold them accountable as members of a university. This special article deals with three themes of interest to new junior faulty launching research programs: personal development, collaboration and team development within university settings, and funding advice. Strategies in these areas provide guidance on navigating early careers and finding success in the academic setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-174
Number of pages22
JournalWestern journal of nursing research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Your manuscripts should be used to inform your grant proposals. Each study should be the “pilot study” for the next project in your program of research. Based on your review article and your dissertation publication, what is the next important piece of research? Your grants should also progress from small, perhaps internal grants funded by your college or university, to larger grants—first from specialty organizations or other nursing organizations (such as MNRS, Sigma Theta Tau, or the American Nurses’ Foundation) to even larger grants, such as an R15, R21, R03, or a new investigator R01. While the grant proposal is being reviewed, you need to be collecting data for that or another project. Starting your career with a small study, with or without funding, is a good way to begin.

Funding Information:
Newly appointed assistant professors in research intensive environments are expected to support their program of research with grant funding from highly competitive external sources. For many people, this means they have to decide whether their first NIH application will be for a K award (K01) or a small R-level grant (R01, R21, etc.). This is an important decision as it could influence one’s larger program of research. Some will argue for the K award and others will argue for the small R-level grant. Both are highly competitive.

Funding Information:
The K01 is a training grant and it is designed for early career researchers who need additional training and experience. It is ideal for someone who needs to add new research skills in a specific area. It is attractive because it requires the principal investigator (PI) to devote 75% effort to research, leaving only 25% effort devoted to teaching, thereby enabling the assistant professor to focus on establishing a robust program of research. This is a good mechanism to pursue if new faculty members/researchers need additional training and they need more pilot data. Getting the additional training can be useful in broadening or creating more depth in one’s program of research, and this could have a long-term positive impact on research productivity. On the downside, the K01 award provides a relatively small amount of money for conducting the research. Because the K award is a training grant, it is not seen as a research grant, and it does not bring full indirect cost recovery funds to the researcher’s university.


  • career mobility
  • faculty
  • nursing research

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