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2017 Graduate Summer Opportunity to Advance Research Program

The GSOAR application is now CLOSED.

We are pleased to announce the 2017 Graduate Summer Opportunity to Advance Research (GSOAR) Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The GSOAR program is a partnership between the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education and the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. GSOAR students will spend the summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the world's leading scientists, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. During their internships at NIH, scholars perform research with a mentor in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) where they will be immersed in a culture of translational science and will explore important elements of the basic, translational and clinical research enterprise. (To get an idea of the types of research conducted in the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the NIH, visit In addition to performing full-time research, scholars will:

  • Participate in a customized curriculum that will use case studies and group activities to develop communication, critical thinking, career readiness, and leadership skills needed to thrive in interdisciplinary graduate programs and research environments in the biomedical sciences.
  • Participate in a leadership development program focused on self-awareness, resiliency, conflict management, effective mentoring relationships, and understanding emotional intelligence.
  • Participate in the NIH Translational Science Training Program
  • Engage the broader NIH community in discussing cutting-edge research through participation at NIH Summer Poster Day.
  • Establish an individualized development plan to take advantage of the many workshops and seminars offered for all NIH summer interns. These include our summer lecture series, communication skills workshops, and the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP) Annual Scientific and Professional Development Retreat.
  • Have the option to attend a two-day Data Science Bootcamp.

The GSOAR Program will begin with a two-day orientation and leadership training program followed by a two-day symposium on Translational Science and the therapeutic development process. Students will meet with OITE and NIH mentors for program activities throughout the summer.

During their internships at NIH, scholars will receive a monthly stipend and Transhare benefits for travel within the Metro DC area (Transhare is a transportation subsidy provided to individuals who agree to use any form of public transportation and not their car to get to work).

The NIH GSOAR Program is a summer research immersion experience that seeks to prepare a diverse cadre of young scholars for the rigors of biomedical research so that they excel in graduate school and are highly competitive for future opportunities in the biomedical enterprise. This program is designed for recently matriculated, first or second year graduate students enrolled in a biomedical PhD program, especially those interested in integrating translational approaches into research design. Students completing a master's degree who are transitioning into a biomedical PhD program are also eligible to apply. Students from diverse backgrounds and students who have faced disadvantage that impacted their educational or research opportunities earlier in their educational careers are especially encouraged to apply.

In addition, applicants must:

  • Be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Be enrolled for Fall 2017 in a PhD graduate program at a university in the U.S., Puerto Rico, or other US territory.
  • Students applying for Fall 2017 admission should apply knowing that participation in the program will be dependent on successful matriculation into a graduate program.
  • Have permission from their graduate school program/university to participate in the program.

Application Process
Applicants should complete the standard NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) application and choose "GSOAR" in item 9. Applicants should discuss the following important elements in the application cover letter:

  • Prior research experience, and current and future research interests.
  • Educational and career goals.
  • How participation in GSOAR will assist in achieving stated goals.
  • Commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community within the biomedical research enterprise.
  • Leadership experiences in school and in the community.
  • Potential NIH investigators with which to work over the summer.

The application deadline for this program has been extended to January 9, 2017, at 11:59 pm EST. The full application package, including reference letters, must be completed by January 9, 2017 at 11:59 pm for applicants to be considered for the program.

How the Program Works
The selection committee will review applications to the GSOAR Program, and applicants will be informed of the committee's decisions by the end of January. Applicants who are not selected for this internship will be released into the general pool of applicants for the NIH Summer Internship Program and will be advised about the selection process for SIP to maximize their chances of admission.

Individuals who are selected to participate in the GSOAR Program will work closely with OITE staff throughout the mentor selection process. Applicants should not contact NIH intramural scientists to discuss placements prior to acceptance. In addition, you need not specify on your application an NIH Institute/Center in which you would like to be placed.

All interns participating in the GSOAR Program must be on the Bethesda campus from June 12th to 16th for orientation.  Students will join their research group on June 19th and the program will run through August 11th, 2017. Summer internships are full-time positions; interns are expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours per week to their projects and training. Students should not, therefore, expect to take courses during the daytime. Furthermore, they should not make plans for evening coursework or volunteer activities before speaking to program staff.

Table comparing the GSOAR Program with other summer programs at the NIH




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