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Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE)

The Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) has a decades-long history that recognizes the outstanding scientific research performed by intramural grad students, postdocs, and fellows.


About FARE

FARE is sponsored by the NIH Fellows Committee (Felcom), the Scientific Directors, and the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education, and is funded by the Scientific Directors. Fellows submit an abstract of their research, which is peer reviewed in a blind study section competition. Authors of abstracts with the top 25% of scores are recognized as FARE winners. FARE winners receive a stipend to attend a scientific meeting and have the opportunity to be selected for a talk or presentation. FARE winners also serve as judges for the next year’s competition.


Yes! All previous FARE winners are encouraged to apply again this year. However, your abstract must be significantly different from your previous winning abstract. This means it must be at least 50% different in both content and wording (i.e. it should reflect current data and not simply rehash last year's data).

Yes. However, if you win FARE award and leave NIH before the fiscal year you will not be able to use the $1500 travel award.

How to apply

FARE applications are accepted every year in February and March.

  • All applicants must submit their application and abstract online.
  • The submitted abstract will be automatically emailed to your mentor, who must approve it.

It is your responsibility to ensure that deadlines are met. No extensions will be granted.

Your abstract must be 2500 characters or less, including spaces and carriage returns.

The electronic application is only able to process simple ASCII characters without formatting. Therefore, many special characters (e.g. Greek letters or subscripts/superscripts) will not appear correctly. If your abstract contains special characters, please spell them out in English (e.g. write "alpha" and "beta" rather than using the special character). In most cases, subscripts and superscripts can be understood if they are in the body of the text.

Mentor sign-off is also intended to avoid the possibility of authorship disputes. Any application not approved by the deadline will be deleted from the pool. You will receive an email notifying you of whether your mentor has approved or rejected your abstract. Your abstract cannot be modified after it has been approved by your mentor.

If that happens, you have until the mentor approval deadline to revise your abstract, resubmit, and get it approved by your mentor. There will be no grace period beyond the mentor approval deadline to revise a rejected abstract.

Although it is not required, FARE winners are highly encouraged to present their submitted research at the Research Festival poster session. Those that do participate in the Research Festival will be given a ribbon to identify them as FARE winners.

No. You must register for the Research Festival separately from your FARE submission.

Recommendations for abstracts

The Attend Tips for Successful Abstracts session is offered in the spring. Check the OITE events page for details.

Speaker(s): FARE co-chairs

To help you with writing a FARE abstract, the FARE co-chairs will lead a webinar for NIH fellows.

Topics covered will be:

  • What is the FARE competition procedure?
  • Am I eligible for FARE?
  • How are FARE abstracts different from typical abstracts?
  • How are FARE abstracts judged?
  • What makes a FARE abstract standout to the judges?
  • Can you create a FARE abstract from an abstract you've already written?
  • What do FARE winners receive?

  • The abstract you submit to FARE should reflect your own current, first-author data, collected while you have been at the NIH. The data must be recent – either unpublished, submitted, accepted, in press, or published.
  • There can be only one author listed per FARE abstract. While you may describe data from a larger research project (i.e. one in which multiple scientists participate on specific parts), you should emphasize the contribution you have made, and place your contributions in context to the larger global project.
  • FARE abstracts may need to contain more background than would be usual in an abstract for a scientific meeting. Judges come from all scientific disciplines.
  • As the entries will be judged anonymously, your abstract should not contain identifying information (e.g. names, bibliographic references etc.). The presence of any potentially identifying information will disqualify the abstract from the competition.

Abstracts will be deemed not eligible and therefore disqualified from winning FARE award if found to have any of the following:

  • Inclusion of references (including DOI numbers, OMIM numbers or hyperlinks/hyperlinks to websites/datasets/coding tools).
  • Inclusion of potential identifiable information (e.g. author name, affiliation, referencing a paper in which the author or their lab members are key authors, patents, clinical trial IDs).
  • The author’s data was published before January 1st of this year.
  • Data is not significantly different from previous winning abstracts (if you are a previous FARE winner).

Yes. If your abstract meets conditions for disqualification, you will receive a courtesy notification email. Note that you will not have an opportunity to re-submit your abstract or have it reconsidered for FARE award once your abstract is deemed disqualified. Therefore, prepare your abstract carefully to avoid grounds for disqualification.

No. Each qualifying fellow may submit only one FARE abstract.


No. You should revise the abstract (i.e. it should reflect current data, not just a rehash of last year's data).

FARE judging

FARE winners are also being asked to serve as judges. Since judges are not allowed to evaluate their own abstracts, we ask that winners who also are applying to FARE they submit their abstract to a different study section from the one they will be judging.

All attempts are made to place each abstract in the author's first-choice of study section. However, at times the number of abstracts submitted to a study section exceeds a reasonable number, and abstracts must be moved to their second- or third-choice study section. In this situation, abstracts are placed in the first-choice study section in the order by which they are submitted. Therefore, the earlier you submit, the more likely your abstract will be placed in your first-choice study section.

The FARE application requires you to choose three study sections. Study sections are filled in the order that abstracts are submitted. Therefore, if you feel there is only one study section appropriate for your abstract, we encourage you to apply early.

Approved abstracts are stripped of identifying information, divided into study sections, and judged by a panel of three trainees and two tenure-track/tenured scientists or staff scientists/clinicians. Winners will be notified by mid-August.

Abstracts are evaluated on four criteria: Scientific Merit, Originality, Experimental Design, and Overall Quality/Presentation.

Your abstract may not have been written appropriately for the FARE competition. Remember, FARE abstracts may need to have more background than would be usual in an abstract for a scientific meeting or a journal article. It is also important to remember that your abstract is judged on the basis of other submissions as impartially as possible. Not winning the FARE competition has no bearing on, and has no reflection on, the ability to publish your data.

For FARE winners

Winners of FARE awards will each receive a $1500 stipend to attend a scientific meeting at which they will present their abstract, either as a poster or an oral presentation. FARE winners serve as judges for the following year's FARE competition.

All winners have the potential to be selected for a talk at the NIH research festival or invited to present at a Special Interest Group (SIG) seminar series, provided their research matches the scientific interests of the session or group. If you would prefer not to be considered for a talk, there is an option to opt-out during the abstract submission process.

Yes. They will be posted in October.

No, you cannot transfer your FARE award. It is specific to the individual FARE winner.

The process differs between ICs. Winners should contact their Branch Secretary, their Administrative Officer, or the office of their Scientific Director to learn how to activate their FARE award.

Your FARE award should be used to cover costs related to attending a scientific meeting within the United States during the upcoming fiscal year. In order for you to use your award, we ask that you present your abstract, either as a poster or a seminar, at the meeting you choose. FARE awards may be used for international scientific meetings only with the approval of your Scientific Director.


Reach out to, or to your IC scientific director.