2023 Biomolecular Interaction Technologies Center (BITC)
Request for Applications to the BITC Post-Doctoral Fellows Program

The Biomolecular Interaction Technologies Center (BITC) is an industrial consortium that is hosted by the University of Delaware, and is composed of member companies that provide funding and technical advisement to support the advancement of technologies focused on measurement, prediction, and/or control of biomolecular interactions. This Request for Applications is for the inaugural BITC Post-Doctoral (PD) Fellowship program. The BITC PD Fellowships are intended to provide support for industrially relevant academic research that falls within the BITC mission of advancing technologies to better characterize, quantify, and/or predict biomolecular interactions within the context of applied biophysics for research, development, and/or manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals such as but not limited to: therapeutic proteins such as monoclonal antibodies, bivalent or multivalent antibodies; vaccines, including mRNA-LNP platforms; gene therapies; and cell-based therapies. The Fellowships are intended to supplement existing funding for the successful applicants, not to provide stand-alone funding for each Fellow. These fellowships are being offered to allow successful applicants to explore research topics that are complementary to their primary post-doctoral appointment, while engaging with industry subject matter experts (SMEs) to connect to industry needs and engage with industry mentors. In addition to supporting high quality research, a goal of the BITC PD Fellowship program is to help engage next-generation academic leaders with industry SMEs at an early stage in their career.

Applicants for the BITC PD Fellows program must either currently be in a post-doctoral position or have secured a position that will start within six months of the date of their application submission. A brief letter of support from the faculty supervisor is required, endorsing the application, and indicating support for the proposed work and availability of the needed laboratory infrastructure for the project.

The application process includes two stages. The first stage is a short, written description of the project idea and how it relates to, but expands upon, the primary project area of the applicant. This should also include what areas of industrial application the candidate anticipates might be of most interest. The written description is limited to 3 pages, single spaced, 1-inch margins, 11-point Arial font or equivalent, and should be submitted as a pdf. The application must also include a copy of the applicant’s CV, as a separate file. The letter of support from the faculty supervisor should also be submitted as a separate file. Applications will be received and evaluated on a rolling basis until a final due date of 15 August 2023. The application materials should be sent via email to the BITC Director, Prof. Christopher J. Roberts, cjr@udel.edu.

In the second stage, selected candidates will be invited for an interview (online) before final awards are made. The award amount for each Fellowship is $45,000 USD per year for up to two years; renewed after year 1 subject to BITC approval based on progress against the research goals of the proposed BITC PD Fellowship project (total of $90,000 USD). The fellowship funds may be used for salary, benefits, travel, and/or research supplies. No overhead or F&A charges, and no capital equipment charges are allowable with the Fellowship funds. As the BITC PD Fellowships are supplements beyond existing support, Fellows are expected to commit nominally 30 % of their effort to their BITC PD Fellowship project, on average, over the full project period. It is anticipated that this should not be difficult to achieve since the project should align with other topic areas of their post-doctoral work in the faculty mentor’s laboratory.

Fellows will be given the opportunity to engage with industry scientists as SMEs and industry mentors from the BITC member companies during their time in the program. It is required that BITC PD Fellows will meet periodically (at least quarterly) with the industry SME mentor(s) and/or the BITC Director for project updates and scientific discussions. Any public disclosures regarding research supported by BITC funding will need to be submitted for review by BITC prior to public release; including abstracts, posters, powerpoint presentations, and manuscripts. Intellectual property created pursuant to BITC-sponsorship may be subject to a non-exclusive, royalty-free (NERF) license to BITC members. For additional details or questions, contact the BITC Director (Prof. Christopher J. Roberts, email: cjr@udel.edu).