Preparing the Researchers of Tomorrow by Supporting Training Programs Today

Whether you aspire to run a marathon or run your own laboratory, training is essential. Though we can’t ready you to complete 26.2 miles, we can assist you in reaching another finish line of sorts: the research career goal you want to attain.

We do that by supporting a wide range of NIH research training programs that are meant to “prepare the skilled, creative and diverse biomedical research workforce of tomorrow.”

If you are a next-generation researcher wanting to acquaint yourself with the training programs we offer or a seasoned researcher seeking to get reacquainted, this article should serve you well. Read on to learn more, including how to choose the program that’s right for you.

On your mark, get set, go!

The Programs

NIAID supports the following research training programs:

  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowships (F) provide research experience to students and scientists at various stages of their careers.
  • Research Career Development Awards (K) enable early-stage scientists to enhance their careers in biomedical research. 
  • Loan Repayment Programs (LRP) help M.D.s and some other doctoral-level professionals pursue research careers by repaying qualifying educational debt.
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Training Grants (T) provide domestic, nonprofit, and private or public graduate-level academic institutions with funds for training predoctoral and postdoctoral candidates.
  • Research Supplements add funds to an existing grant to increase the participation of scientists from underrepresented groups in biomedical research and help promising researchers return to a scientific career.
  • Research Education Program (R25) supports research educational activities to predoctoral, postdoctoral, and junior faculty that complement other formal training programs at domestic, nonprofit, and private or public academic institutions.

The Funding Opportunity Announcements

Most research training programs have associated parent announcements, which are broad funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) that allow applicants to submit investigator-initiated applications for specific activity codes.

For example, the K program includes the Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01, Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Make sure to check the Table of IC-Specific Information, Requirements and Staff Contacts for NIAID-specific requirements.

Alternatively, there are more targeted announcements like the NIAID Physician-Scientist Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00).

To apply for these or another opportunity, you must submit an application in response to the appropriate FOA. Remember, if you intend to submit your application to NIAID, make sure NIAID is listed in the Components of Participating Organizatiosn in Part 1 of the FOA.

To see the FOAs in which NIAID participates, go to NIAID Extramural Biomedical Research Training Programs.

T32 or F31? K08 or K23? Choosing an Award That’s Right for You

By offering 24 FOAs, we give you many choices, but how do you select the one that matches your needs? You have a few options.

Let Your Career Stage Point You in the Right Direction

You could start by choosing a FOA that’s suited to where you are in your career. For instance, if you

  • Are a dual-degree Ph.D. candidate in graduate school, you might consider applying for a fellowship such as one of the two Parent F30s, depending on whether you are a student at an institution either with or without NIH-funded institutional predoctoral dual-degree training programs.
  • Just received a doctoral degree and are starting your career as a junior researcher or faculty member, you have several award types from which to choose, including Ks.
  • Have an M.D. or are a Ph.D. working with patients, want to pursue a research career, and have educational debt, you might benefit from an LRP.
  • Are a principal investigator looking to train students, postdocs, or others, then think about a research supplement through which we can add funds to your existing NIAID grant to support your trainees.  
  • Are an established researcher and want to offer research, educational, and other activities to graduate (Ph.D. candidate) students, medical students, postdoctoral fellows and/or junior faculty, the R25 may suit your needs.
  • Are an established researcher and oversee a research training program at your institution, you could apply for a T32 to train predocs and/or postdocs at your institution.

For help in picking the right opportunity, go to Choose an Award by Career Stage for illustrated Ph.D. and M.D. career timelines as well as descriptions of appropriate award types for each phase.

Explore Our Website

To find application tips, general advice, and other resources, head to Training and Career Development Grant Programs in the Grants & Contracts section of the NIAID website.

If you want more details, such as need-to-know policies for your chosen training program, what to include in your application, and roles of NIAID staff, check out the standard operating procedures for Training and Career Awards, Fellowships, and Supplements at Research Rules & Policies.

Contact an Expert

When going online isn’t enough to answer your questions or provide sufficient information, touch base with an expert at NIAID.

Content last reviewed on February 21, 2018

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