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National Institutes of Health
Graduate Partnerships Program

university fellowships committee

The Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP) links the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with universities in the graduate doctoral training of students. The mission of the GPP is to establish and foster dynamic doctoral training partnerships with national and international universities and institutions dedicated to quality education in biomedical basic and clinical research while providing the infrastructure and community support needed by the students and researchers in these partnerships.

The fields covered by the Graduate Partnerships Program include Biomedical Sciences, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Structural Biology, and, for students with Nursing degrees, special programs in Biobehavioral Research. In addition to Partnerships with institutions in the United States, there are also NIH Graduate Partnerships in Biomedical Sciences at Oxford and in Health Sciences at Cambridge in Great Britain. The NIH partnerships accept 50-75 new graduate students each year. Graduate students enrolled in NIH-University partnership programs receive an NIH Intramural Research Training Award for stipend, health benefits, and tuition support as needed. This award is renewable up to five years, based on the student’s progress toward degree. Stipend levels increase yearly.

Applications are submitted during the Fall, according to a deadline that is mutually agreed upon by the University and NIH. Applicants must submit both the GPP and university applications by the specified deadline. An admission committee comprised of university professors and NIH investigators review each application and mutually agree upon a list of students to be interviewed for admission. After the interviews at both NIH and university, the admission committee agrees on a list of students that should receive an acceptance for admission. The admission season ends on April 15.

Recipients of NIH-GPP Fellowships typically do a first laboratory rotation at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, during the summer before they begin classes on their home campus. The next 1-2 years are spent completing coursework requirements and doing additional lab rotations at the home campus and at NIH. By the beginning of Fall of the second year, students choose their primary research mentor at NIH or their home campus, often developing a collaborative project with two mentors that spans both.

Students are encouraged to design their projects and curriculum to learn the language of, and build expertise across more than one field or discipline. Partnership students complete the qualifying exam, dissertation proposals, and dissertation research, as do other students at their home university. (The partnerships with Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden are slightly different, following the European model with few coursework requirements. These programs also expect a student to do roughy equal amounts of research at the university and at NIH.) For all schools, students meet the graduation requirements of their home institutions and receive their degrees from them.

To be considered for the NIH-GPP Fellowships, applicants must:

  • submit both the university application and the online GPP application
  • be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident immigration status
  • meet the admission deadline established by each program

Interested applicants should contact the Boston College Campus Coordinator for the NIH-GPP Fellowships.

To get additional information about the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program Fellowships, the partnership universities, and the application process before talking with the Campus Coordinator, consult the web site for the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program.