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Comparison of the NIH POstbac Program and the Postbac Enrichment Program (PEP)

You can use this table to understand the differences among the NIH Postbac Program and PEP. IMPORTANT NOTE: The list of "Who Can Apply" is not complete; additional eligibility criteria apply.

COVID-19 Update: In mid-March of 2020, all NIH employees, contractors, and trainees, with the exception of those conducting research on the coronavirus and COVID-19 and those caring for patients (Group 0), were assigned to mandatory telework. In June, 2020, those whose work cannot be completed remotely (Group A), were allowed to begin returning to on-site work. However, the return was limited. Safe distancing was required, in addition to mask wearing and strict disinfection measures. As a result, most scientists were permitted only part-time or shift work. Those whose work is difficult to complete via telework (Group B) were allowed to join Group A in July, 2020, still with safe distancing required. Group C, individuals who can telework effectively, are just beginning to return to in-person work. (revised 3/29/22)

Trainees, including postbacs, who work in groups that conduct laboratory research, are included in Group B and now conduct in-person research on a limited basis.

Much NIH science is still conducted remotely. Lab meetings and IC seminar series are virtual. In addition, all career and professional development activities remain virtual, as do wellness activities, meetings of trainee groups, and major events such as Postbac Poster Day and the Graduate & Professional School Fair. Similarly, meetings with career counselors and OITE staff are virtual.


PropertyPostbac ProgramOITE Postbac Enrichment Program (PEP)
Application status The Postbac application is open year-round.
This application period runs from September 28th, 2022 to December 9th, 2022.
Who can apply? US citizens or legal permanent residents who are college graduates and received their bachelor's degrees within 3 years or a master's degree within 6 months of beginning the program. Applicants should intend to apply to graduate or professional school during their tenure at the NIH.

Applicants must meet all the eligibility criteria for the NIH Postbac Program. 

Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been underrepresented in health-related sciences; Students with disabilities; students who are Pell Grant-eligible; students who are enrolled in Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); students who identify as LGBTQ; and individuals disadvantaged by circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities, including recent natural disasters, are encouraged to apply.

NOTE: Current NIH postbacs and applicants who have already secured a postbac position are NOT eligible.

Application deadline Not applicable December 9th, 2022 for ALL application materials (see below).
Reference letter deadline Not applicable. References are encouraged to submit their letters within two weeks of receiving the email request. All materials including letters of reference must be submitted by the program application deadline (December 9th, 2022). References included in the NIH Postbac IRTA application are sufficient; applicants do not need to submit separate references for OITE-PEP.
Application Materials Required Complete the standard NIH Postbac IRTA application.

Complete both (1) the standard NIH Postbac IRTA application AND (2) the OITE-PEP Supplemental Application, which includes a letter of interest discussing your reasons for applying specifically to OITE-PEP, your research and career goals, and how participating in this program will enrich your training and educational experience at NIH.

NOTE: OITE-PEP will not ask for reference contact information. References included in the NIH Postbac IRTA application are sufficient

Selection by Program Committee No. Individual NIH Investigators make selections. Yes
Notification Date Variable All applicants will be notified of their status by January 27th, 2023. Those who move to the interview phase must be available for virtual interview during the week of February 6-10th, 2023. Final decisions will be made by February 10th, 2023.
Research Group Selection Applicant is responsible. OITE-PEP committee makes placements.
Program Length* One to two years One to two years, the second year depending on acceptable performance and funding availability
Program Dates* Arranged individually OITE-PEP will begin on July 10th, 2023 with a required orientation.
Location of Research Placements Any NIH campus The Bethesda, MD, campus and surrounding area only
Housing Arranged by the postbac Arranged by the postbac
For More Information Contact the NIH Postbac Program Contact PEP