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Research Training

Postdoc Fellows

This program is available to:

About this program

A group of postdocs sitting around a table, enjoying ice cream and smiling at the person taking a picture

This program is for recent doctoral degree recipients interested in further developing their research skills while exploring research and research-related careers. These are full-time research positions in one of the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC) in the NIH Intramural Research Program. Research groups are located on all NIH campuses, including the main campus in Bethesda, MD.

Before you begin your application we encourage you to learn more about:

Postdocs work in research groups 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. Recent doctoral recipients 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. Postdocs may not work in administrative offices or outside of the NIH Intramural Research Program.

Our postdocs come from across the U.S. and around the world. Support for international postdocs is provided by the NIH Division of International Services. NIH sponsors the majority of postdoctoral fellows on J-1 visas; a limited number of postdoctoral fellows may be appointed on, or transitioned to, an FTE which does allow an H-1B visa, but this is not the standard approach.

In addition to an intensive research experience, our postdocs have access to:

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity strengthens our community. 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 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.

Eligibility criteria

U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and international applicants are eligible for the program. In addition, you must have received your doctoral degree (PhD, MD, DDS, or equivalent) within five years of starting the program.

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 information could prevent you from taking part in the program.

Stipend and other compensation

Postdoc stipends are adjusted annually and are based on experience gained after completion of your doctoral degree. Additionally, stipend supplements are available for prior experience, multiple degrees, and expertise in areas of current interest to the NIH such as mathematics, engineering, chemistry, and bioinformatics.

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; postdocs on some campuses may be eligible to participate in the Transhare program.

Before you apply

The decision to come to the NIH as a postdoc is an important one. While a postdoc you should focus on developing scientific, professional, career, and resilience skills critical for your long-term success; finding a mentor who supports that is an important part of the application process.

Before applying, watch this video and read information on finding mentors in the Intramural Research Program. The information provided highlights many factors to consider as you explore positions.

Opening and closing dates

Postdoc applications are accepted year-round. We recommend applying at least nine months prior to your preferred start date.

How to apply

You should directly apply to NIH PIs who advertise openings or whose work interests you. To do this, send personalized emails to PIs expressing interest in their research group and highlighting why you are a strong candidate for their program. Attach a CV to your email and be sure to include the names and contact information for three references.

Our guide to finding mentors in the Intramural Research Program provides important information on how to find research groups and factors to be aware of as you interview and consider positions. We also encourage you to pay careful attention to our extensive FAQs to support you in the application process.

Selection process

Applications are reviewed throughout the year and there is no centralized selection process. Individual PIs select their own postdocs and provide the funding to support them.  Successful candidates will be informed by their PI and onboarding paperwork will be done by the hiring IC.