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There are scholarships for PhD students that work at any accredited university, sometimes in a particular zone. Example.

Applications may be submitted by full-time students who desire to study propose to pursue lighting education or research as part of their undergraduate, graduate or doctoral studies. Applications for the Alan Lucas Memorial Educational Scholarships may be made by those who will be a junior, senior, or graduate student in an accredited four year college or university located in Northern California (including San Luis Obispo, Fresno and north). All applications should be submitted before April 1. The scholarships to be awarded will be at least $1,500.00. The student must submit an application, a statement of purpose, a description of work in progress, transcripts, three recommendations and a scholar agreement form. Copies of all enclosed documents should be photo-copied for interested students.

Does something similar exist for postdocs or tenured professors? In particular, can an applicant for postdocs/tenured positions feasibly say "I will bring my own funding"? If the answer is "yes", is this a powerful advantage in the application process (I know it is for PhD students)?

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  • Is the question limited to the US, like the example for a PhD scholarship? Oct 2, 2022 at 6:40
  • @Snijderfrey no. Also there should be such PhD scholarships in countries other than the US right? E.g. zonta.org/Web/Our_Programs/Education/Amelia_Earhart_Fellowship/… "[The Amelia Earhart Fellowship] may be used at any university or college offering accredited post-graduate courses and degrees in these fields."
    – Allure
    Oct 2, 2022 at 6:52

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Yes, such funding possibilities exist although the situation is different between postdocs and tenured professors.

For postdocs for example the Humboldt Foundation offers the Humboldt Research Fellowship for a research stay in Germany. They state on their website:

A researcher from an academic institution of your choice in Germany will provide you with a mentoring agreement and written confirmation that research facilities are available, and will compile a detailed review for you.

So you need support from an institution, but you can choose the institution. You will have to find this support before the application. But you will usually have no big problem to find support, given that your research profile is competitive, because you would bring your own money. If the application for the scholarship is not successful, then the supporting institution does not have to hire you, obviously. So bringing your own money is a big plus because it basically creates your own position.

For tenured professors, the amount of external funding they bring is an important criterium. It may not be the money needed for your own salary, but that should be covered by the institution. So if you can say during an application process that you will bring 20 PhD students with you who are fully funded, that is a big plus. It is not uncommon that it is possible to transfer third-party funded research from one institution to another. It might take some negotiating with the funders, though.

And the Humboldt Foundation also offers something for professors.

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I understand that NSF grants are transferable by PIs and co-PIs with consent of NSF and the original receiving institution. I’ve only had one employee go through this process for a grant he was a co-PI on when he left the original institution to come to work for us. You can’t force the other personnel or students to move, though you may be able to take that funding along if they do want to move and hiring procedures are followed exactly.

Regardless, talk to your Program Officer/Director and see what they say.

I presume you have discussed leaving your university with your department chair, too. The award from the agency (in the US) was probably to the university. And definitely not to you personally. I wouldn’t talk to your agency project officer or director unless you’re ready to be accidentally outed about your move.

I can’t say anything about what other US agencies allow.

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