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Medical Research Scholars Program: FAQs

Year-Long Fellowship


Q. What are the eligibility requirements for the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP)?

This program is intended for medical, dental, and veterinary students:

1. Candidates must currently be enrolled at one of the following accredited schools in the U.S. or its territories, and must currently be enrolled at one of the following accredited schools in the U.S. or its territories, and must be in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year:

2. Candidates currenly enrolled in PhD programs or in MD/PhD programs are not eligible to apply.

3. Applicants should have a strong interest in conducting basic, translational, or clinical research.
4. Fourth-year medical students who intend to participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) are not eligible to apply to the NIH MRSP. If a student decides to participate in the NRMP after submitting a completed NIH MRSP application, the NIH MRSP application must be withdrawn. Accepted fourth-year students must defer graduation before participation.

5. Dental and veterinary students: participation in the NIH MRSP is recommended after the second or fourth year of school due to the integrated nature of the third and fourth (clinical) years.

6. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

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Q. When is the application deadline?

The application opens October 1. The deadline is Friday, January 8, 2021 (5:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time).

Q. Are there any suggestions regarding the submission of an online application?

To be considered for the MRSP, you must complete and submit your application by January 8, 2021 (5:00 PM EST). Your application will be considered incomplete if it is not submitted by the deadline. Applications that are incomplete after the deadline will not receive further consideration.

You may save the information entered into the application by selection the "save" button at the bottom of the application. You can continue to edit and update your application at a later date. To submit a completed application, select the "submit" button.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all of your application information is correct. False or inaccurate information contained in an application may be grounds for denying candidacy or removing a participant from the program.

Q. Do I need to submit an official transcript into the electronic application system?

No. Unofficial transcripts may be submitted at the time of application. If you are selected to participate, the program will request an official transcript at that time.

Q. How are my references notified about a request for a letter of recommendation and how are the letters submitted?

You must provide contact information for your three references in your on-line application. To allow your references to receive an electronic system-generated request for a letter of recommendation, you must select the "Send Reference Request" button at the bottom of the application. Letters of recommendation can only be submitted electronically. Your three letters of recommendation must be received on or before January 10, 2020 (5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time).

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Q. What is the next step in the application review process?

After applications are reviewed and evaluated, eligible candidates will be invited to the NIH to participate in interviews the first weekend in March. Candidates will interview with NIH senior investigators and have an opportunity to tour the NIH Clinical Center and the program's housing facilities. Candidates accepted into the program will be notified in mid-March 2020.

Q. Is financial support provided to eligible candidates invited NIH MRSP Interview Weekend?

Yes, travel and lodging are provided for MRSP interviewees.

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Q. Do program participants receive a stipend?

Yes, program participants receive an annual stipend. This amount is determined annually. Currently, the NIH MRSP participants receive an annual stipend of approximately $38,000.

Q. Is the NIH MRSP stipend taxable?

Yes, although no monthly deductions are taken, stipends are subject to state and federal income taxes. Quarterly tax payments are advised. A tax advisor can provide further information.

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Q. Is housing provided?

Yes, this is a residential program, and all participants are required to live in the housing provided:

The NIH MRSP has one residential location on the NIH campus, in Building 60. It consists of variably sized, fully furnished apartment options. Studio and one bedroom apartments have private bathrooms and kitchens or kitchenettes; there are also smaller single rooms which share communal bathrooms and a kitchen.

All rents include utilities (gas/electric, and water), and apartments are furnished with the basics for living. Students are expected to provide their own linens. There are no pets allowed.

Q. Are NIH MRSP Scholars reimbursed for moving expenses?

Yes, the program will reimburse the Scholars for reasonable costs associated with relocation to the NIH and back to their school at the end of the year, up to a predetermined maximum amount.

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Year-Long Fellowship

Q. How long is the NIH MRSP fellowship?

The NIH MRSP is a 12-month program. All of the selected Scholars are expected to participate in the program for 12 months.

Q. Will I be assigned an advisor when I arrive?

Yes, after acceptance into the program (i.e., before their arrival) Scholars will be assigned an advisor from the program's Board of Advisors, generally based on their stated area of interest. The advisor oversees the Scholar's training, helps to identify a research mentor, and offers guidance to the Scholar throughout his/her tenure in the program.

Q. How do I select a research mentor?

Accepted students will participate in a Webinar with program leaders that will guide them on strategies and tools for mentor selection. Among the tools provided will be a listing of all pre-approved mentors in each NIH institute/center, access to titles and descriptions of all active research projects. Following the Webinar, accepted students should work with their assigned advisor to identify a mentor. Mentors can be selected before arrival in Bethesda or shortly thereafter. All mentor selections must be approved by the Scholar's advisor, and the MRSP academic director.

Q. Is health insurance required?

Yes, Scholars must have health insurance to participate in this program. The cost of health insurance benefits are covered by the program. A health insurance policy can be obtained through the NIH Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES). The program will reimburse for outside insurance coverage if the individual is enrolled in a private health insurance plan that meets NIH requirements.

Q. Can educational loans be deferred while I am in this program?

Yes, participants in NIH-based year-out enrichment programs have been able to defer student loans while at the NIH. As a NIH MRSP participant, you are considered to be engaged in a graduate fellowship. A NIH MRSP administrator can provide guidance on submitting loan-deferment applications. Scholars should contact their financial aid officer to determine their school's mechanism for deferment.

Q. Are NIH MRSP participants permitted to take academic courses at the NIH?

Yes, Scholars may take courses during the Fall and Spring semesters through the FAES graduate school, which is located on campus. The cost of the tuition and books for approved courses will be paid by the program from the Scholar's allotted education fund.

Q. Is travel support available for Scholars who wish to attend scientific meetings?

Yes, NIH MRSP participants may attend and be supported for domestic scientific or professional meetings while in the program. The Scholar's mentor and a program administrator must approve the conference or meeting.

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This page last updated on 09/01/2020

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