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Research Training

Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP)

This program is available to:

An opportunity for graduate students to perform research within the NIH Intramural Research Program while enrolled in a doctoral program in the U.S. or abroad

About this program

The Graduate Partnerships Program allows doctoral students the opportunity to do dissertation research in the NIH Intramural Research Program while enrolled as full-time students at a university in the U.S. or abroad.  There are two ways for students to participate in this program.

  • Individual partnerships allow currently enrolled doctoral students at universities worldwide to perform all or part of their dissertation research at the NIH.  Students may be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or foreign nationals.
  • Institutional partnerships are longstanding agreements with specific university programs where students apply directly to the partnership and begin their graduate experience jointly with us.

Students pursuing the following degrees may join the Graduate Partnerships Program: PhD, DPhil, PharmD, DrPH, PsyD, MD/PhD, or DVM/PhD. Students pursuing a master’s degree should explore the Academic Internship Program. The Graduate Partnerships Program is not appropriate for students currently pursuing an MD, DO, DDS or other professional degree.

Graduate students work within one of the NIH Institutes or Centers (ICs) in the NIH Intramural Research Program.  Research groups are located on all NIH campuses, including the main campus in Bethesda, MD.

Graduate students work in a research group directed by a Principal Investigator (PI). We offer research opportunities in the biomedical, behavioral and social sciences with opportunities to explore basic, translational and clinical research. Students with experience in biology, engineering, epidemiology, psychology, mathematics, chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, nursing, physics, computer science,  bioinformatics and other health-related fields are invited to apply. Graduate students may not work in administrative offices or outside of the NIH Intramural Research Program. Before applying, we encourage you to learn about:

In addition to an intensive research experience, all NIH graduate students have access to:

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity strengthens our community. We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and strongly encourage applications from:

  • people from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in biomedical research and healthcare fields
  • people with disabilities
  • Students who are/were Pell Grant-eligible in college
  • Students who are/were enrolled in Tribal Colleges and Universities, community colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • people who identify as LGBTQ+
  • people who were disadvantaged by circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities.

Eligibility criteria

Eligibility requirements for individual partnerships and the various institutional partnerships differ, so carefully read the eligibility requirements for each program.

Regardless of how you come to NIH, you must be able to pass a federal background check. We strongly encourage you to carefully read the full terms and conditions. Ignoring this information could prevent you from taking part in the program.

Stipend and other compensation

Graduate student stipends are adjusted annually and are based on experience gained after completion of your undergraduate degree. While conducting dissertation research at NIH, all GPP students must be paid according to our stipend table, even if their funding is from a university or doctoral fellowship.

We offer fully-paid health insurance for individuals and families. This includes coverage for medical, dental, and vision needs.

There is free parking on each NIH campus; graduate students on some campuses may be eligible to participate in the Transhare program.

Before you apply

The decision to come to NIH as a graduate student is an important one. You will be a full-time student at your university while performing research on one of the NIH campuses. You will be required to meet all the academic requirements of your graduate program while doing your dissertation research at NIH. It is crucial that you fully understand the structure and the expectations for your specific partnership as you will be required to spend time on both campuses.

Opening and closing dates

Institutional Partnership applications generally open in August and close in December each year. Visit the institution partnerships page for more details on application opening and closing dates.

Individual Partnership applications are open year-round.

How to apply

The application process differs for individual partnerships and the various institutional partnerships; read information provided in the application center and follow instructions for programs that interest you.

Start your application

Contact us

Have questions?

Check out our extensive frequently asked questions list to support you in the application process.

You can also reach out to us with questions at