The NIH Postbac IRTA program (CRTA, Cancer Research Training Award, in the National Cancer Institute) provides recent college graduates who are planning to apply to graduate or professional (medical/dental/pharmacy) school an opportunity to spend one or two years performing full-time research at the NIH.
IMPORTANT: Watch the new videocast - Applying to the NIH Postbac Program
Stipend Information: The stipends for trainees are adjusted yearly; the level depends on prior experience. For details, see the Trainee Stipends page.
Application Procedure: Prospective candidates must apply online. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply three to six months before they wish to begin their training at the NIH. The program has no fixed start date. The application requires submission of
- a curriculum vitae or resume,
- a list of coursework and grades,
- a cover letter describing the applicant's research interests and career goals,
- and the names and contact information for three references.
Candidates may specify the scientific methodologies and/or disease/organ systems that interest them.
Selection: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis year round by scientists in the Institutes and Centers of the NIH. Individual scientists select their own postbacs and provide the funding to support them; there is no centralized selection process. For suggestions on how to increase your chances of being offered a position, please read the Postbac IRTA Program Frequently Asked Questions.
The decision to come to the NIH as postbac is an important one. You are commiting a year or two of your life to an in-depth research experience. Please take the time to review ourguidelines on choosing a mentor before making this decision. The document discusses questions you should ask a potential mentor, questions you might ask other students in the research group, identifying what you need from a mentor, and evaluating your options.
Candidates will be informed of their selection by the hiring Institute. Successful candidates will be required to submit the following documentation to their Institute or Center prior to beginning their training:
- Official college transcript(s)
- 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 alien registration card.