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Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research (SIP) 

Important Change for 2019: If you are a high school student, please apply to High School SIP (HS-SIP) or one of the HS-SIP Subprograms; SIP is only for college, graduate school, and professional (e.g., medical, dental, pharmacy, etc.) school students.

NOTE: In addition to the main SIP program, we describe SIP subprograms (CCSEP, C-SOAR, AMGEN, G-SOAR, and GDSSP) organized by the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education at the end of this page; be certain to take a look and see if any of them interest you.

You can also apply to two additional programs using the SIP application: the Biomedical Engineering Summer Internship Program (BESIP) and the NINR-Summer Genetics Institute (NINR-SGI).

The application for summer 2018 is now closed. The application for summer 2019 will be available in early December.

Program Description: Summer programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide an opportunity to spend a summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research (At the NIH "biomedical sciences" includes everything from behavioral and social sciences, through biology and chemistry, to physics, mathematical modeling, computational biology, and biostatistics). The NIH consists of the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center and more than 1150 laboratories/research groups located on the main campus in Bethesda, MD, and the surrounding area as well as in Baltimore and Frederick, MD; Research Triangle Park, NC; Hamilton, MT; Framingham, MA; Phoenix, AZ; and Detroit, MI.  NOTE: the number of positions in Hamilton, Framingham, Phoenix, and Detroit is limited.

Internships cover a minimum of eight weeks, with students generally arriving at the NIH in May or June. The NIH Institutes/Centers and the Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) sponsor a wide range of summer activities including an orientation to help interns get off to a good start, lectures featuring distinguished NIH investigators, career/professional development workshops, and Summer Poster Day.

To increase your chances of being offered a position, please do four things:

  1. Watch the Applying Successfully SIP Video (coming soon).
  2. Read the SIP FAQs carefully.
  3. Read our suggestions for creating a successful SIP application.
  4. After submitting your application, if you applied to the General  SIP Program, contact NIH investigators with whom you would like to work and explain why you would be a good addition to their groups. (IMPORTANT NOTE: applicants to SIP subprograms should NOT contact investigators.)  You can identify NIH investigators with projects that interest you by searching the NIH Intramural Annual Reports. Use the text search feature to find project descriptions that contain the key words you enter. You can also visit the NIH Intramural Research Program website for a list of investigators organized by scientific focus area.  You can then find contact information for the investigators in the NIH Enterprise Directory.

Eligibility: The 2019 Summer Internship Program is for students who

  • are 18 years of age or older on June 15, 2019,*
  • are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, AND
  • are in college (including community college) or graduate/professional school at the time of application, OR
  • are high school graduates at the time of application and have been accepted into accredited college or university programs.

Individuals who are U.S. permanent residents must be attending or have been accepted into institutions in the U.S.

* Individuals who are in college (including community college) or graduate/professional school at the time of application but who will be 17 years of age on June 15, 2019, should contact the NIH to inquire about a waiver of this age requirement.

Students with disabilities; students from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the NSF to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders); students who identify as LGBTQ; students who are Pell-grant eligible; and others disadvantaged by circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities, including recent natural disasters, are encouraged to apply.

Stipend Information: The stipends for trainees are adjusted yearly; the level depends on education completed prior to starting at the NIH. For details, see the Trainee Stipends page. The Institute/Center (IC) in which you work or your research group pays your stipend.

Application Procedure: Prospective candidates must apply online. The application is available from early December to March 1. It requires submission of

  • a curriculum vitae or resume,
  • a list of coursework and grades (please note: we do not need a transcript at this time),
  • a cover letter describing the applicant's research interests and career goals, and
  • the names and contact information for two references.

Candidates may also specify the general subject areas, scientific methodologies and/or disease/organ systems that interest them.

Selection: The NIH Summer Internship Program is highly competitive.  In 2018, 4603 completed applications were submitted by students in college and graduate and professional school, and 929 interns were selected. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis from November through April by scientists in the Institutes and Centers of the NIH.  Individual scientists select their own summer interns and provide their funding; there is no centralized selection process, and the OITE plays no role. Data for 2017 indicate that applicants who submit their materials in the first two weeks have a success rate almost 3 times greater than those who submit during the 2 weeks just before the deadline.  For additional suggestions on how to increase your chances of being offered a position, please read the SIP Frequently Asked Questions. You can find a YouTube video entitled "Finding an NIH Mentor", which demonstrates how to use NIH investigator databases, on the OITE YouTube page.

Candidates will be informed of their selection by the hiring Institute or Center, generally by May 1. Successful candidates will be required to submit the following documentation to their Institute or Center prior to beginning their training:

  • Official college or graduate/professional school transcripts
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. U.S. citizens may submit a copy of their birth certificate or passport. Permanent residents will need to provide a copy of their permanent resident (green) card.

SIP Subprograms

One of the goals of the NIH is to build a highly diverse and inclusive scientific workforce. Toward that end, the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education welcomes applications for multiple special SIP subprograms. The subprograms target community college students, college students who would not normally have the opportunity to pursue research projects during the academic year, beginning graduate students in the biomedical sciences, and students enrolled in master's programs in data science and computer science. Note that an individual will normally be eligible to apply to only ONE subprogram.

Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP): In summer 2019, the NIH will again offer a SIP subprogram designed to recruit community college students to the NIH. Students in CCSEP can take advantage of all the opportunities available to other SIP interns. In addition, they will make a commitment to completing an enrichment curriculum. If you are a community college student and interested, please read about CCSEP.

College Summer Opportunities to Advance Research (C-SOAR): We are pleased to announce the second year of the NIH College Summer Opportunities to Advance Research (C-SOAR). The goal of the program is to encourage a diverse group of individuals to consider careers in the biomedical sciences. In addition to performing full-time research in a laboratory or on a project at the NIH, C-SOAR interns will meet each week as a group with students in the Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP). Together they will participate in workshops and courses focused on the development of academic and professional skills in preparation for careers in health care and in social, behavioral, and biomedical research.

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 to C-SOAR. Please read more about C-SOAR.

The Amgen Scholars Program at NIH is a partnership between the Amgen Foundation, the Foundation for the NIH, and the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education. This program is for undergraduates who are interested in learning more about health disparities and the role science, policy, and community engagement can play in their elimination. Preference will be given to students that lack opportunities to carry out independent research during the school year (due to family responsibilities, economic exigencies, or inability of their institutions to provide such opportunities). Amgen Scholars at NIH will spend the summer working on the main NIH campus in Bethesda. The Program will have four core components: 1) independent research performed under the mentorship of an NIH intramural scientist; 2) roundtable discussions exploring the intersection of research and public policy related to health disparities; 3) career guidance and mentorship focused on the broad array of biomedical careers; and 4) leadership training focused on the skills needed to work successfully in team-oriented global research environments. If you are interested, please read about the Amgen Scholars Program at NIH.

Graduate Summer Opportunity to Advance Research (G-SOAR): In summer 2016, the NIH launched a SIP subprogram designed around the unique experiences of graduate students in the biomedical sciences. G-SOAR students will spend the summer working on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, or other campuses in Maryland. In addition to working in a research group at the NIH, G-SOAR students will participate in an enrichment curriculum to help them develop critical thinking skills and graduate school survival skills, provide career guidance and mentorship focused on the broad array of biomedical careers, and emphasize leadership training focused on the skills needed to work successfully in team-oriented and global research environments. If you are interested, please visit the G-SOAR Program webpage for more information. 

Graduate Data Science Summer Program (GDSSP): The NIH will introduce the Graduate Data Science Summer Program in summer 2019. The program is a partnership between the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education and the newly formed Office of Data Science Strategy. The GDSSP is designed for master’s students in computer and data science with an interest in the biomedical research enterprise.  GDSS students will spend the summer working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the world's leading biomedical researchers. In addition to working in a research group, GDSSP students will participate in a customized curriculum that will help them to to explore the many uses of data science in biomedical research and to improve their leadership skills, including self-awareness, resiliency, conflict management, effective mentoring, and emotional intelligence.  The GDSSP is a cohort based program where students can build peer networks and lifelong friendships.  If you are interested, please visit the GDSSP webpage to learn more about this exciting new program.

IMPORTANT SUBPROGRAM NOTES:

  1. Although you use the online SIP application to apply for all these subprograms, eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and program curricula vary (view a SIP program comparison chart). Please read each program's description carefully to decide which, if any, will best fit your needs.
  2. If you choose to apply to a subprogram, your application will not be available as part of the general SIP program (and NIH investigators will not be able to see it) until AFTER subprogram selections have been made. If you are not selected for the subprogram, your application will be released to the general SIP applicant pool and you can then begin the process of finding a research group.
  3. Individuals selected to participate in the subprograms will be matched with NIH investigators by the selection committees.