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Training Programs in the Biomedical Sciences

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Telework Policy for Trainees-2022
The NIH has a policy to allow for limited telework for intramural trainees (IRTA/CRTA/Visiting Fellows). NOTE: no IRTAs, CRTAs, or Visiting Fellows may be appointed with the understanding that they will be working remotely. More information here.

Eligibility Note:  
Please read the eligibility requirements and background check information before applying.  All fellowship offers are contingent upon your ability to successfully pass a federal background check. More Information here



POSTBAC PROGRAMS (for recent college graduates)

  • The Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) Program
    The Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) is a biomedical research program that enables eligible recent college graduates who are planning to apply to graduate or professional school to spend one or two years working with investigators at the NIH.

  • The NIH Academy
    The NIH Academy offers trainees the opportunity to learn about health disparities, enhance their knowledge of gaps in health outcomes, and investigate what is being done to address health disparity issues.  Any Postbac IRTA is welcome to apply to participate in the Academy


  • The Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP)
    The GPP provides graduate students with the opportunity to conduct all or part of their dissertation research in the resource-rich NIH environment. Students come to the NIH either as part of formal institutional partnerships or via individual agreements negotiated between their university mentor and an investigator at the NIH. In all cases, degrees are granted by the university partner.


  • Medical and dental students can come to the NIH in several ways.  They can spend a year on the NIH Bethesda campus conducting research under the direct mentorship of an NIH investigator as part of the National Institutes of Health Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) a comprehensive, year-long research enrichment program designed to attract the most creative, research-oriented medical, dental, and veterinary students to the main campus of the NIH in Bethesda, MD.   Students can also complete 4- or 8-week clinical rotations in the NIH Clinical Electives Program at the NIH Clinical Center.


  • Postdoctoral Training in the NIH Intramural Research Program
    Eligible U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have recently received a doctoral degree can come to the NIH as Postdoctoral IRTAs to complete up to five years of postdoctoral research. Eligible international scholars who are recent doctoral degree recipients can conduct up to five years of postdoctoral research at the NIH as Visiting Fellows; they generally come to the NIH on J1 visas. Both groups are considered NIH trainees, rather than employees.

  • Other Postdoctoral Programs at the NIH

  • Research Fellows
    Postdoctoral fellows can be promoted to Research Fellow, an appointment that makes them NIH employees, albeit temporary. An individual can spend an additional three years as a Research Fellow after reaching the five-year limit of the Postdoctoral Fellow appointment.  Research Fellows are eligible for Intramural Loan Repayment.

  • Residents and Clinical Fellows
    Physicians and dentists seeking specialty or subspecialty clinical-research training will find a vast array of both ACGME-accredited and other clinical and translational programs at the NIH.  Training requirements and program durations vary.  Like Research Fellows, Residents and Clinical Fellows are considered temporary NIH employees and are eligible for Intramural Loan Repayment.


Eligibility requirements vary based on the specific program.  Make sure you meet ALL the requirements for the specific program(s) in which you wish to participate.  Some programs require trainees to be US citizens or permanent residents, have earned certain degrees, be within a certain amount of time since degree completion, meet certain academic criteria, be enrolled in and have permission from an academic institution, and/or have a specific interest.  All trainees must be at least 17 years of age at the start of their fellowship.

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.

IMPORTANT NOTES: All fellowship offers are contingent on your ability to successfully pass a federal background check, which is required for logical and physical access to NIH facilities and systems. As part of the clearance process, you will be asked questions about a variety of topics including your citizenship, criminal history, and other personal information.  One specific question you will be asked is “In the last year, have you used, possessed, supplied, or manufactured illegal drugs?”  This question pertains to the use of controlled substances or drugs as defined under federal law. Please be aware that while marijuana may be legal or decriminalized within your home jurisdiction it remains illegal under U.S. federal law.  The use, possession, supply, or manufacture of marijuana may preclude you from obtaining the necessary clearances to participate in NIH intramural training programs, even if you were initially offered a position. If you have questions about this policy or would like guidance on the clearance process, please reach out to (please put “Eligibility Inquiry” in the subject line).