November 17, 2021

Limited Submission Opportunity: NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award; deadline is Dec. 15

These instructions are for VUMC investigators. VU investigators should apply through InfoReady and address any questions to

Vanderbilt School of Medicine may submit one application to the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Program.

The Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award is intended to identify the most talented Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) who intend to make a long-term commitment to research in the Environmental Health Sciences and assist them in launching an innovative research program focused on the understanding of environmental exposure effects on people’s health.

Program goals include career promotion for ESIs, as well as support of the scientific project proposed. Applications for the ONES program differ from standard R01 applications in that applicants must provide information about their career goals in the environmental health sciences, their previous research experience and achievements, plans for the active participation of an external advisory committee to provide consultation and feedback, the commitment by the institution to actively support the research program development of the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI), and a plan for career enhancement which will provide a strong foundation for future research endeavors.

Research projects proposed will be expected to have a defined impact on the environmental health sciences and be responsive to the mission of the NIEHS and the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan: Advancing Science, Improving Health: A Plan for Environmental Health Sciences Research. Applicants should consult the strategic plan to ensure that the research proposed in their application addresses the goals and priority areas of the NIEHS.

Award Information

The budget for direct costs is composed of two elements – research direct costs and career enhancement costs. For most applications, the budget for direct costs should be limited to $250,000 per year. With strong justification, research projects which have inherently higher costs may request direct costs of up to $400,000 per year. Career enhancement direct costs are limited to $250,000, which can be distributed over the 5-year award period. Note: the total direct cost budget (research plus career enhancement) may not exceed $475,000 in any year of the award.


  • PD/PIs must be NIH defined Early Stage Investigators. See
  • PD/PIs must have faculty appointments which are tenure track or equivalent, generally at the level of Assistant Professor, and have demonstrated outstanding abilities in basic, clinical, quantitative, or population-based research. Individuals must have established research independence from a mentor, and have dedicated, independent laboratory space or access to the clinical, population-based and/or public health research resources which will allow them to conduct the research proposed in the grant application as the lead, independent PD/PI.
  • Applications must have a research focus on exposure-health related responses from environmental agents within the mission interest of the NIEHS, and may focus on: industrial chemicals or manufacturing byproducts, metals, pesticides, herbicides, air pollutants and other inhaled toxicants, particulates or fibers, fungal, and bacterial or biologically derived toxins
  • Applications may not focus exclusively/primarily on: alcohol, chemotherapeutic agents, radiation that is not a result of an ambient environmental exposure, smoking, except when considered as a secondary smoke exposure as a component in the indoor environment (particularly in children), drugs of abuse, pharmaceuticals, dietary nutrients, and infectious or parasitic agents.

See the solicitation for more details.


Internal Application Process:

Anyone interested in being considered to submit VUMC’s proposal must submit the following (in a single PDF) to by 5 p.m. on December 15:


  1. Brief (2-page maximum) research plan including summary budget;
  2. Statement of support from department chair/center director;
  3. NIH Biosketch


Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to