NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

National Research Council (US) Committee to Study the National Needs for Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Personnel. Research Training in the Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Sciences. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.

Cover of Research Training in the Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Sciences

Research Training in the Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Sciences.

Show details

Appendix BRuth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Training Grants and Fellowship

The National Institutes of Health, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and Health Resources and Services Administration provide predoctoral and postdoctoral research training support through a number of National Research Service Award programs. At each level the programs are distinguished by whether they are made directly to individuals, who use the support at an institution of their choice, or to institutions, which in turn make awards to individuals in their programs. The following is a list of programs encompassed by the National Research Service Awards:


National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (F30)—The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) provide National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) predoctoral training to individuals working towards the combined M.D./Ph.D. degree. This fellowship program is designed to help ensure that highly trained physician-scientists will be available in adequate numbers and in the appropriate research areas and fields to meet the nation’s mental health, drug abuse and addiction, alcohol abuse and alcoholism and environmental health sciences research needs. In addition, this mechanism has the potential to train clinical investigators who wish to focus their research endeavors on patient-oriented studies.

National Research Service Awards Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (F31)—This fellowship program is directed at different groups.

The National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship for Minority Students will provide up to five years of support for research training leading to the Ph.D. or equivalent research degree; the combined M.D./Ph.D. degree; or other combined professional degree and research doctoral degree in the biomedical, behavioral sciences, or health services research. These fellowships are designed to enhance the racial and ethnic diversity of the biomedical, behavioral, and health services research labor force in the United States. Accordingly, academic institutions are encouraged to identify and recruit students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who can apply for this fellowship. Support is NOT available for individuals enrolled in medical or other professional schools UNLESS they are also enrolled in a combined professional doctorate/Ph.D. degree program in biomedical, behavioral, or health services research.

The NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship for Students with Disabilities will provide up to five years of support for research training leading to the Ph.D. (or equivalent research degree), or the combined M.D./Ph.D. degree (or other combined professional research doctoral degrees) in the biomedical or behavioral sciences. The intent of this Predoctoral Fellowship Program is to encourage students with disabilities to seek graduate degrees and thus further the goal of increasing the number of scientists with disabilities who are prepared to pursue careers in biomedical and behavioral research.

The NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellows are provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). These Institutes award NRSA individual predoctoral fellowships (F31) to promising applicants with the potential to become productive, independent investigators in the scientific mission areas of these Institutes. This program will provide predoctoral training support for doctoral candidates that have successfully completed their comprehensive examinations or the equivalent by the time of award and will be performing dissertation research and training.

National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32)—This fellowship is designed to provide individuals who have received a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.C., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., Eng.D., Dr. P.H., D.N.S., N.D., Pharm.D., D.S.W., Psy.D., or equivalent degree with postdoctoral training that broaden their scientific background and provide them with the potential to become productive, independent investigators in fields related to the mission of the NIH constituent institutes and centers. Research is to be conducted at a sponsoring institution and under the direction of an individual who will serve as a mentor and will supervise the training and research experience. Individuals may receive up to 3 years of aggregate NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants and individual fellowship awards.

National Research Service Award Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship (F33)—The NIH awards NRSA senior fellowships (F33) to experienced scientists who wish to make major changes in the direction of their research careers or who wish to broaden their scientific background by acquiring new research capabilities. These awards will enable individuals with at least seven years of research experience beyond the doctorate, and who have progressed to the stage of independent investigator, to take time from regular professional responsibilities for the purpose of receiving training to increase their scientific capabilities. In most cases, this award is used to support sabbatical experiences for established independent scientists. This program is not designed for postdoctoral-level investigators seeking to prove their research potential prior to independence. Senior fellowship support may be requested for a period of up to 2 years. However, no individual may receive more than 3 years of aggregate NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional and individual awards.

Minority Access to Research Careers Faculty Fellowships (F34)—For advanced research training of selected faculty members at eligible institutions in which student enrollments are drawn substantially from minority groups.

Intramural National Research Service Award Postdoctoral FellowshiR (F35)—To allow physicians, dentists, and veterinarians with limited research experience an opportunity to prepare for careers in biomedical or behavioral laboratory research through training on the NIH campus.


National Research Service Award Institutional Training Grants (T32)—The institutional research training grants provide support to training programs at institutions of higher education, and are designed to allow the director of the program to select the trainees and to develop a curriculum of study and research experiences necessary to provide high-quality research training. The grant offsets the cost of stipends and tuition support for the appointed trainees. The following types of training can be supported by this grant:

Predoctoral Training. Predoctoral research training leads to the Ph.D. degree or a comparable research doctoral degree. Students enrolled in health-professional training programs that wish to postpone their professional studies in order to engage in full-time research training may also be appointed to an Institutional Research Training Grant. Predoctoral research training emphasizes fundamental training in areas of biomedical and behavioral sciences. Awards may not be used to support studies leading to the M.D., D.O., D.D.S., or a similar professional degree, unless the trainee is enrolled in a combined-degree (e.g., M.D./Ph.D.) program. In addition, they may not be used to support residencies or other non-research clinical training.

Postdoctoral Training. Postdoctoral research training is for individuals who have received a Ph.D., D.V.M, D.D.S., M.D., or a comparable doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Research training at the postdoctoral level must emphasize specialized training to meet national research priorities in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences. Research training grants are a mechanism for the postdoctoral training of physicians and other health professionals who may have extensive clinical training but limited research experience. For such individuals, the training may be a part of a research degree program. In all cases, postdoctoral trainees should agree to engage in at least 2 years of research, research training, or comparable activities beginning at the time of appointment. It has been shown that the duration of training has been shown to be strongly correlated with retention in post-training research activity.

Short-Term Research Training for Health-Professional Students. Applications for Institutional Research Training Grants may include a request for short-term predoctoral positions reserved specifically to provide full-time, health-related research training experiences during the summer or other “off-quarter” periods. Such positions are limited to medical students, dental students, students in other health-professional programs, and graduate students in the physical or quantitative sciences. Short-term appointments are intended to provide such students with opportunities to participate in biomedical and/or behavioral research in an effort to attract them into health-related research careers. Short-term positions should be requested in the application and approved at the time of award. Normally, short-term positions are not to be used for individuals who have already earned a doctoral degree. Short-term research training positions should last at least 8 but no more than 12 weeks. Individual health-professional students or students in the quantitative sciences selected for appointment should be encouraged to obtain multiple periods of short-term, health-related research training during the years leading to their degree. Such appointments may be consecutive or may be reserved for summers or other “off-quarter” periods. It should be noted that not all NIH Institutes and Centers permit short-term positions. Applicants interested in such positions should contact the awarding institute or center prior to completing their application.

Short-term appointments on regular NRSA Institutional Research Training Grants (T32) should not be confused with NRSA Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grants (T35), which are exclusively reserved for short-term research training appointments.

Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Institutional Grants (T34)—The Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Branch of the Division of Minority Opportunity in Research (MORE) of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) provide awards for biomedical research to selected institutions to support the undergraduate education of minority students who can compete successfully for entry into graduate programs leading to a Ph.D. degree in the biomedical or behavioral sciences. Biomedical research includes such areas as cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, genetics, etc., and behavioral research as well as the more quantitative areas such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer sciences, necessary to analyze biological phenomena. The MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program supports institutional training grants for underrepresented minority junior and senior honors students in any of the above cited science areas to improve their preparation for graduate training in the biomedical/behavioral sciences. In addition, MARC U-STAR grants provide an allowable cost support to improve the research training environment for MARC trainees and pre-MARC students (freshmen and sophomores) and science faculty development at MARC-supported institutions. Currently, progress in many sub-disciplines in the biological sciences (e.g., structural biology, bioinformatics, modeling of complex systems, population genetics, and evolution) is dependent on the use of information and methodologies from diverse disciplines of science such as mathematics, biophysics, computer science, and engineering. Thus, the MARC U- STAR program specifically encourages the development of pedagogical tools for incorporating quantitative concepts, computational skills, and principles of modeling complex biological phenomena in pre-MARC and MARC student science curricula. To this end, the MARC U-STAR program will also provide funds for the development of needed course materials for the curricular changes proposed, as well as for faculty training required for introducing the use of such materials in the different science courses.

Short-Term Training Awards (T35)—National Research Service Awards (NRSA) Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grants (T35) are made to eligible institutions to develop or enhance research training opportunities for individuals interested in careers in biomedical and behavioral research. Many of the NIH Institutes and Centers use this grant mechanism exclusively to support intensive, short-term research training experiences for students in health professional schools during the summer. In addition, the Short-Term Institutional Research Training Grant can be used to support other types of predoctoral and postdoctoral training in focused, often emerging, scientific areas relevant to the mission of the funding NIH institute or center. The proposed training must be in either basic or clinical aspects of the health-related sciences. The training should be of sufficient depth to enable the trainees, upon completion of the program, to have a thorough exposure to the principles underlying the conduct of research.

Copyright © 2011, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK56991


  • PubReader
  • Print View
  • Cite this Page
  • PDF version of this title (3.5M)

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...