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2021 NIH Academy Enrichment Program (NAEP)

Program Description

The 2021 NIH Academy Enrichment Program (NAEP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers competitive funding to trainees at the postbaccalaureate level interested in learning about health disparities while performing world-class research at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda campus. NAEP Scholars will spend one to two years working at NIH's main campus in Bethesda, Maryland side-by-side with some of the world's leading scientists, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. During their tenure at NIH, scholars will be matched with mentors in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) where they will be immersed in a culture of biomedical 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 24 Institutes and Centers that make up the Intramural NIH, visit In addition to performing full-time research, scholars will:

  • Participate in the NIH Academy, a customized curriculum that will use journal clubs, case studies, and group activities to explore the relationship between science and society in evening roundtables. We will examine the role of science, policy, and community engagement in the elimination of health disparities (for a definition of health disparities, visit the NIH Academy Homepage).
  • Participate in a leadership development program focused on self-exploration, building resiliency, understanding conflict, finding mentors, and understanding emotional intelligence.
  • Present their research at the NIH Postbac Poster Day.
  • Establish an individualized development plan to take advantage of the many workshops and seminars offered for NIH postbacs. These include lectures such as, "Going to Graduate School" and "Going to Medical School", communication skills workshops, and the NIH Graduate & Professional School Fair.

During their time 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). Health insurance (individual or family coverage) will also be provided.


The NAEP is designed to encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds to perform biomedical research while actively learning how to engage in eliminating health disparities, ultimately promoting a society in which all people live healthy lives. NAEP scholars should be committed to pursuing a career in biomedical science and be planning to attend graduate and/or professional (medical/dental/pharmacy/nursing, etc.) school. Those with experience in health disparities and a keen interest in learning more about the biological, environmental, social, and genetic causes of health disparities are especially encouraged to apply. NIH encourages applications from students in all science disciplines and from diverse backgrounds.
In addition, applicants must:

Application Process

Applicants should complete the standard NIH Postbac IRTA application. In addition, applicants should complete the NIH Academy Enrichment Program application (please click on the link in the sidebar), which includes a one-page letter of interest. NOTE: References included in the NIH Postbac IRTA application are sufficient; applicants do not need separate references for the NAEP application.

Please be certain to discuss these important elements in your letter of interest:

  • Interest in and knowledge of health disparities
  • Experiences you've had or would like to acquire with health disparities, either professional or personal
  • How the elimination of health disparities fits into your career goals
  • Research interests and educational/career goals
  • Leadership experience

The deadline for consideration for the NAEP is February 24, 2021at 5 PM EST. Both the NAEP and Postbac IRTA applications, including reference letters, must be completed for applicants to be considered for the program.  

Applicants must be available for a brief phone interview prior to final selections.  Applicants will be notified of their status by April 14 May 1, 2021.

How the Program Works

The selection committee will review applications to the NIH Academy Enrichment Program, and applicants will be informed of the committee's decisions by the stated deadline. Program staff will help match individuals who are selected to participate in the NAEP with researchers at the NIH. Every effort will be made to place participants in research groups related to their research interests. Applicants should NOT contact NIH intramural scientists to discuss placements on their own. Applicants who are not selected for the NAEP, who successfully find a postbac position at NIH, are still eligible to participate in the NIH Academy.

All participants in the NIH Academy Enrichment Program must be available for a two-day orientation, held in September.

Postbac IRTAs are full-time positions; postbacs 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 NIH Academy Enrichment Program with other NIH Academy and Postbac IRTA positions at the NIH