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IARF FAQs

General Information

Eligibility

Application Process


GENERAL INFORMATION


What is the Intramural AIDS Research Fellowship Program?
It is a collaborative effort between the Office of AIDS Research, the Office of Intramural Training & Education, and the Office of Intramural Research, designed to further cross disciplinary research into HIV and AIDS at the National Institutes of Health.

What is the purpose of the fellowship?
The purpose of the AIDS Research Fellowship is to promote the recruitment and engagement of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from all scientific disciplines whose research work can be related to HIV and AIDS to the broad field of AIDS research and. It provides an opportunity for researchers at an early stage of their career to gain experience applying for and securing funding through a competitive grant-like fellowship. 

What research fields are most likely to be supported by this fellowship?
The program seeks to promote research within the comprehensive portfolio of basic and clinical AIDS research at the NIH.  This includes (but not limited to) work in the following fields: epidemiology; etiology and pathogenesis; therapeutics research; vaccines; microbicides; health disparities and behavioral and social science research to address HIV infection and its associated coinfections, opportunistic infections, malignancies, and other complications. This research can focus on the critical elements of the epidemic in the US and/or the global pandemic. Fellowship proposals addressing one or more of these scientific areas will be considered for support under this initiative.

Where can I find more information about the HIV/AIDS and HIV-Related Research Initiative?
More information can be found in the Office of AIDS Research website, where you can review the NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research. 

How many fellowships do you award each year?
The number of fellowships awarded varies by year depending on the funding available. However, in previous years, the program has awarded 11-15 fellowships per year.

Can this award be used for research training purposes outside of the NIH?
No, this fellowship is intended to provide support for training in the Intramural Research Training Program at the NIH.

Do I need to submit a budget estimate for research-related costs?
No, we do not require submission of budget for project-related cost.

ELIGIBILITY


Who is eligible to apply?
Graduate (predoctoral level) students in the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program (NIH-GPP) and IRTA/CRTA postdoctoral trainees in the NIH Intramural Research Program and Visiting Fellows are eligible to apply. Individual from underrepresented populations are particularly encouraged to apply.

Can I apply if I am appointed as a Research or Clinical Fellow at the NIH?
No. Research and Clinical Fellows and others appointed as Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) are NOT eligible to apply.

I am a graduate (or postdoctoral fellow) conducting research at another institution/university, can I apply?
No. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are conducting research at other institutions or universities and are not part of the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) are ineligible to apply for the fellowship.

I am a graduate (or postdoctoral fellow) supported by an NIH grant at my university, can I apply?
No. Students who are supported through NIH grants (under the NIH Extramural Research Program) are ineligible to apply. Only graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Intramural Research Program at the NIH are eligible to apply.

I am a graduate student about to defend my thesis and am applying for a postdoctoral position at the NIH. Can I apply
Only if you have been offered a postdoctoral position and will be at the NIH by the start of the fellowship period are you eligible to apply. However, you must discuss this with your prospective NIH mentor and submit all materials requested including a research plan to be considered.

If I accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH but haven’t started yet, can I apply?
Only if you will be at the NIH by the start of the fellowship period are you eligible to apply. However, you must discuss this with your prospective NIH mentor and submit all materials requested including a research plan to be considered.

I was awarded this fellowship last year.  Is there a renewal option?
Renewal applications from 2021 fellows will be considered. A complete application is required for renewal applications. We understand the challenges faced during COVID-19 that impacted fellows’ s research progression/productivity and will take that into consideration. The research plan should summarize any accomplishments or progress made during 2021 and describe the research that will be conducted during the second year of IARF support. No more than two years of funding will be awarded to any individual.


APPLICATION PROCESS


When is the application period?
For year 2022, application opens on Friday May 20th, 2022 and will close on Tuesday June 7th, 2022 by 12:00 pm (ED).

What is the application timeline?

Application Process

Deadline

Application Opening

May 20th, 2022

Application Deadline (all materials must be submitted by this date)


June 7th, 2022 (by 12 pm EDT)

Application Review

June 8th – June 26th, 2022

Notification of Award

June 29th,2022

Deadline to Accept Award

June 30th, 2022

When will decisions be announced?
All applicants will be contacted by email about the final decision by end of June of the application year.

If I receive the fellowship, how will the funds be made available? 
Funds will be transferred from the OITE to your IC budget office. Note that these are FY 2022 funds and must be spent during FY 2022. 

What does this award offer?
The IARF awards will include a full stipend (according to your educational level at the beginning of the award period) and health insurance.

What application materials should I submit?
To be considered for this award, applicants must submit the following materials:

  1. A cover page that provides the following information:
    • Project title
    • Applicant’s name and title
    • Mentor’s name and title
    • Sponsoring IC
    • Proposed start date
    • The signatures of the proposed mentor and the IC Scientific Director (or designee), indicating their approval of the submission and that the proposal was indeed written by the applicant
  2. The applicant’s curriculum vitae (three-page limit)
  3. A research (four-page limit, single-spaced, including references).
  4. Relationship to the NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research (half page or included in research plan)
  5. A career development plan (two-page limit, double-spaced)  
  6. A letter of support from the proposed mentor

Please refer to the Application Materials Guidance for specific information to address each component.

What are some common mistakes that applicants make by applicants?
Common mistakes include (but are not limited to):

  • Unrealistic goals: Make sure your research plan is feasible within one year of fellowship support or two years, if planning to apply for a second year of funding. Keep mind that renewal applications have to go through the same process as all first-year applications and there is no guarantee the application will be funded for a second year.
  • Non-specific or unclear career development plan: Clearly state what your career goals are or that you are still exploring careers.  Show that you understand what skills you need to develop to be successful in your chosen career path.  Discuss what specific activities you are planning to attend or be part of that will further your career goals or career exploration.
  • Poor CV: Make sure you tailor your CV to the fellowship. Proofread it and have others provide feedback. Take a look at the Guide to Resumes & Curricula Vitae to find tips and guidance on how to craft your CV.
  • Weak letter of support from your PI: Make sure your PI submits a strong letter of support that is tailored to this fellowship. Provide them with information about the fellowship and the points they should speak about in the letter (see item #6 on the Application Materials guidance document).

How will applications be evaluated?
When reviewing applications, reviewers place equal emphasis on all materials submitted. Applications that are successful are those where applicants have a well thought-out, innovative, and feasible research plan that shows outstanding scientific potential. The applicant must demonstrate through the materials submitted commitment to science and careful consideration of the steps needed to advance their career. Equal emphasis is place on mentor’s history of mentorship and how he/she will contribute to the career and professional development of the applicant. 

Whom should I contact if I have any questions?
If you have any questions about the process or the program please email IARF@mail.nih.gov.