Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Research Training

OITE-Postbac Enrichment Program (OITE-PEP)

This program is available to:

An OITE-sponsored postbac cohort program to support diverse students entering careers in research and healthcare related fields.

About this program

This program is for recent college students considering graduate or professional school in healthcare and STEM fields. The goal is to support a diverse cadre of postbacs to explore research and healthcare careers. OITE-PEP is a cohort program within the broader NIH Postbac Program. Postbac positions are full-time research positions within one of the NIH Institutes or Centers (IC) in the NIH Intramural Research Program.

In addition to having access to the resources offered to all NIH postbacs, OITE-PEP postbacs participate in orientation, leadership, professional development, and well-being programs as part of a cohort or learning community.

Eligibility criteria

To be considered for OITE-PEP, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have graduated from college within one-year of beginning the program. Preference for admission to OITE-PEP will be given to students who lack substantial research experience as an undergraduate or who are making a substantial shift in research focus as a postbac. We strongly encourage applications from individuals who will enthusiastically participate in cohort activities and who feel the program will benefit their development as a researcher and leader. We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and strongly encourage applications from individuals:

  • from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in biomedical research and healthcare fields
  • with disabilities
  • 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)
  • who identify as LGBTQ+
  • disadvantaged by life circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities.

Current NIH postbacs or applicants who have already secured a postbac position are not eligible to apply.

You must also be able to pass a federal background check. We strongly encourage you to carefully read the full terms and conditions. Ignoring this could prevent you from taking part in the program.

OITE-PEP postbacs work on, or near, the NIH Bethesda campus and must be available to begin their position on July 8th, 2024.

Stipend and other compensation

Stipends for postbacs are adjusted annually and are based on relevant research work experience gained after completion of your bachelor's degree.

We also 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. Postbacs on some campuses may be eligible to participate in the Transhare program.

Before you apply

The decision to come to the NIH as a postbac is an important one.  These are full-time research positions where you will be expected to master a variety of techniques, present your research, and work on complex teams. In addition, participation in the OITE-PEP cohort requires a substantial time commitment in addition to your research responsibilities. Be sure that you are excited about the OITE-PEP activities before applying to this program.

Opening and closing dates

The OITE-PEP application opens on October 4, 2023 and closes on December 3, 2023.

How to apply

There are two applications to apply for OITE-PEP:

  1. Complete the online postbac application which includes:
    1. a resumé
    2. a list of coursework and grades
    3. a cover letter broadly describing your prior research experiences, your current interests and career goals
    4. the names and contact information of three references
  2. Complete the online OITE-PEP application. Enter your information and respond to the following 4 essay prompts: (aim for ~350 words for each prompt)
    1. Essay prompt #1: Why are you applying to the OITE-PEP?
    2. Essay prompt #2: Describe your specific career goals, research interests, and how a year (or two) of research at NIH will help you reach those goals.
    3. Essay prompt #3: How have your life experiences influenced your future goals? If applicable, you may include if you've faced financial or educational hardships, or if your past or current circumstances have limited your research opportunities.
    4. Essay prompt #4: Discuss your commitment to diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

Please reach out to us at if you receive an offer from an NIH PI who found your postbac application in the general applicant database.

We encourage you to pay careful attention to our extensive FAQs to support you in the application process.

You must complete both applications to be considered for OITE-PEP.

Selection process

The OITE-PEP selection committee reviews applications and invites a subset of candidates to interview virtually in late January. Successful candidates will be informed of their selection in early February.

During the application process, we encourage you to visit the NIH Intramural Research Program website and explore the breadth of research conducted at the NIH. OITE-PEP applicants should not contact NIH intramural scientists to discuss placements on their own. Individuals who are selected to participate in OITE-PEP will work closely with OITE staff throughout the mentor selection process to find a research group that best fits their research interests.