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Phase 1: Arrival and integration

Set yourself up for a successful training experience

The goal of this phase is to set a solid foundation for your training experience. Take care of your personal needs AND tend to your research needs. Avoid getting distracted by experiences that can happen later to allow you to focus on activities that lay the foundation for your success now.

Your tasks for this phase

Attend OITE orientation and any orientations offered in your IC. Meet staff in your IC training office and reach out to OITE staff, career/educational advisors, and well-being advisors so you begin building a network of mentors and advocates outside of your research group. Please reach out to us questions and if you have concerns about integrating into your group or into the broader NIH community. We are here to help!

Core competencies

Ethics and responsible conduct

Complete required research ethics training and the mandatory OITE training “Your Rights and Responsibilities” which covers the NIH civility and anti-harassment program.


Develop your communication skills including workshops on presenting your work or your assertiveness skills. Visiting Fellows may wish to participate in the OITE English Communication for Visiting Scientists and explore English language courses offered by FAES.

Well-being and resilience

It is advisable to take the Becoming a Resilient Scientist series early in your NIH training experience as the series covers fundamental principles of thriving in research groups. This course will help you choose other well-being offerings and is an important element of your training experience.

Career readiness

When considering what other core competencies to address now, reflect on your skills and gaps coupled with thoughts on your current career goals. This will help prioritize specific trainings. An OITE career counselor can also help with this process.

Thoughts specific for trainee groups

If you are a:

Postbac. You should schedule an introductory meeting with a career or educational advisor shortly after you arrive. This will help you develop a timeline for applications and important career development activities to support your success.

Graduate Student. You should talk with your NIH PI about university requirements. Also connect with your university mentors and establish standard ways of updating them about your progress at NIH. If you are participating in a collaborative project, establish a process for giving both mentors engaged in your work and talking together.

Postdoc. It is easy to ignore career development activities and to focus exclusively on your research. Avoid this! Attend career readiness activities and develop your core competencies. While this need not take a substantial amount of time at this point, these activities lay the foundation for your future success.

Next steps

Have you completed arrival and integration? Move to the next phase of training.

Phase 2: Working and achieving goals