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Medical Research Fellows Program

Fellowships to USA Dental, Medical, and Veterinary
Students for Biomedical Research Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Deadline Date:

01/11/18 2:00 PM ET - Deadline for all applicants excluding Janelia Research Campus


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Fellowships of $43,000 to USA dental, veterinary, or medical students to carry out mentored, full-time biomedical research at a nonprofit or academic institution. Fellows may propose basic, translational, and applied research across a range of eligible biomedical fields.

Medical Research Fellows Program:

The goal of the HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program (“Med Fellows Program”) is to strengthen and expand the nation’s pool of physician-scientists.

The fellowship provides support for one year of full-time, mentored research training in fundamental biomedical research.

HHMI plans to award fellowships to medical, dental, and veterinary students who have a demonstrated interest in and commitment to biomedical research as evidenced by previous wet-laboratory research experience and a track-record of scholarship as undergraduates and during their initial medical, dental, or veterinary school training.

To ensure continued excellence and diversity among applicants and awardees, HHMI welcomes applications from all qualified students and specifically encourages applications from women and members of minority groups underrepresented in the sciences.

Partnership Initiatives. Some Medical Fellows conducting research in the following areas may be supported by organizations partnering with HHMI:

-Duchenne muscular dystrophy research (Partner: Duchenne Research Fund);
-Epilepsy research (Partner: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy);
-Genetics research (Partner: American Society of Human Genetics); mentor must be ASHG member;
-Inherited retinal degenerative disease research (Partner: Foundation Fighting Blindness);
-Orthopaedic research (Partner: Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation);
-Parkinson’s disease research (Partner: Parkinson’s Foundation);
-Preclinical research in interventional radiology (Partner: Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation); mentor must be SIR member; and
-Veterinary student research (Partner: Burroughs Wellcome Fund).

The application process is the same for students eligible for partnership-sponsored fellowships. Students apply via the HHMI Competition System and designate their interest in a partner-sponsored fellowship slot within the Medical Fellows Program application.

Fellows sponsored by organizations that have partnered with HHMI will receive the same level of funding and will have all the obligations and privileges of other fellows participating in the Medical Research Fellows Program.

Medical Research Fellows Program at Janelia:

The HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program is seeking highly talented students with an interest in neuronal networking and/or imaging at the cellular and molecular level for an intense year-long research training experience at the Janelia Research Campus, a world-class biomedical research center in Ashburn, Virginia. Students should have a proven track-record of research accomplishment, a commitment to a basic research eld being pursued by Janelia investigators, and must comply with the specific application and eligibility requirements for the Janelia program. Awardees will live and work on the campus, located in Loudoun County, Virginia, which is near Washington, D.C.

Loan Deferment:
HHMI can complete loan deferment forms for fellows so that they are able to defer their loans during their HHMI fellowship year.

Area of Research:

The proposed project must be in the basic, translational, or applied biomedical sciences. HHMI does not fund clinical research, health services or health policy research.

Basic Science Research:
Basic science research is conducted to increase understanding of the physical, chemical, and functional mechanisms of life processes and diseases.

Translational Research:
Translational research is the process of applying ideas, insights, and discoveries generated through basic scientific inquiry to the treatment or prevention of diseases.

Applied Research:
Applied research is directed toward specific objectives, such as the development of a new drug, therapy, or therapeutic procedure. It involves the application of existing knowledge to a specific medical problem. Applied research can be conducted with animals or non-animal alternatives, such as computer models or tissue cultures.

Examples of eligible fields of research include the following:
-Biomedical engineering
-Cell biology
-Developmental biology
-Mathematical and computational biology
-Molecular biology
-Structural biology

Research Mentor and Research Plan:

The applicant is responsible for selecting a research mentor at an academic or nonprofit research institution in the United States and for making arrangements to work in that person’s laboratory. HHMI will not make these arrangements. The designated mentor must be the faculty member who will directly supervise the proposed research. A mentor may have no more than two applicants in any one competition year. An applicant may have a co-mentor if her or his research plan crosses areas of expertise, or if a co-mentor would strengthen the research training experience. Selection of a mentor is a key step in the application process and a particularly important element in evaluation of the application by the review panel.

In selecting a mentor, the applicant should seek a scientist who has recent publications in the area of research, experience in the research techniques to be used, external grant support from NIH or other major agencies, the ability to provide financial resources to support the research project during the entire proposed fellowship term, the time and interest to train the applicant, a track-record of mentorship, and a strong, stimulating research environment in the department. The mentor should be aware that s/he is responsible for covering visiting student researcher fees, fringe rates or other costs imposed by the host institution, if any, for a Medical Fellow from a different institution. The proposed mentor does not have to be an HHMI investigator. Applicants are encouraged to consult with several individuals, including deans, senior faculty, and members of the laboratory under consideration, before making a final choice of mentor.

The research plan should be suitable for a one year research training period. It is extremely important that the project provide a rigorous, high-quality research training experience doing hypothesis/discovery-based research, and not technician-type work. The project should ask a specific and substantive question about basic biological processes or disease mechanisms, diagnosis or treatment. In general, applicants should avoid limiting the project to working out details of a laboratory technique. In addition, they should avoid projects that involve a single protocol for the fellowship term with no opportunity to devise experiments based on data from initial experiments. Extensive discussion between the applicant and the proposed mentor is expected in order to identify an appropriate research project—one that is up-to-date, instructive, and feasible in a one-year fellowship period—and to craft the research plan. It will be assumed that the applicant has written the plan after discussion with the mentor.

In past years reviewers have found that some applications did not reflect an appropriate level of interaction with the mentor prior to submitting the application. Applicants should allow sufficient time to develop the research plan fully and to make evident the quality of the expected working relationship. Applicants to the Medical Research Fellows Program at Janelia will be matched with a mentor if their application progresses past the interview stage.

Location of Study:

Fellows must choose an academic or nonprofit research institution in the United States (excluding NIH or other government agencies) as their fellowship institution. The fellowship institution need not be the student’s medical, dental, or veterinary school. Fellows are responsible for making all arrangements for attendance at their chosen institution.

A fellow may engage in research away from the fellowship institution (including a non-U.S. research institution) during the fellowship term if, in the research mentor’s judgment, such an arrangement would further the fellow’s training.

Awardees of the Medical Research Fellows Program at Janelia will work and live at the Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.

Fellowship Term:

Fellows must engage in research full-time during the fellowship term. Fellows may not undertake medical, dental, or veterinary school coursework, a clerkship, or any graduate school coursework, with the exception of one graduate course per semester that is directly related to the fellow’s HHMI research project, with approval in advance from HHMI. Students may receive academic credit for their research. They may not take time off to study for boards or other examinations.

Stipend and Allowances:

There are no allowances for dependents. If the student begins the fellowship term prior to the HHMI payment date in early June, it is his/her responsibility to arrange for temporary funding by the fellowship institution until the HHMI funds are received and the award is set-up.

The research allowance is for research-related enrichment activities that directly benefit the fellow, including travel to scientific conferences, Medical Fellows Program regional meetings, HHMI science meetings; the scientific Meeting of Medical Fellows in April; and for some of the fellow’s research-related expenses, if there is a balance remaining after all of the aforementioned travel-related expenses have been covered.

The first priority for use of fellow’s allowance is health, dental, and vision insurance for the fellow. The allowance may also be used for required education- related fees incurred as part of the fellowship. It is not permissible to use any funds in the award for tuition or registration fees toward any professional degree, except to the extent that students are required to maintain their matriculation at their medical, dental, or veterinary school. It is permissible to use the fellow’s allowance for tuition and registration fees within the fellowship term for one graduate course per semester specifically related to the fellow’s research, with advance approval from HHMI. If the fellow is conduct- ing research at an institution that is not his or her medical, dental, or veterinary school, the fellow’s allowance may be used to cover reasonable travel and moving expenses to and from the fellowship institution up to a maximum of $1,500 round-trip. Fellows are required to comply with HHMI relocation guidelines and to submit an estimation of moving expenses to HHMI in advance of relocation.

Indirect costs (F&A) are not provided with this award. Federal, state, or local fringe benefit rates and employer-related costs such as FICA and Medicare (employer’s portion), worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, and similar costs cannot be charged to this award. Visiting student researcher fees or other costs for fellows conducting research at an institution other than their own school may not be charged to this award. A fellow may not supplement the stipend through private employment or consulting work or receive funds from another external fellowship, scholarship, or similar award. However, the fellow’s institution may supplement the stipend in accordance with its usual policy for comparable students.

HHMI funds may not be used for the purchase of electronic devices or software, including computers, computer equipment, camera or video equipment, cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, e-readers, or any related accessories.

At the end of their fellowship year, fellows may use balances remaining in the fellow’s or research allowance accounts for continuation of the research conducted during their HHMI fellowship year, attendance at scientific conferences if they are presenting their HHMI research, and pre-acceptance publications costs related to their HHMI project, if any, as long as they are matriculated in medical, dental, or veterinary school. The fellowship institution must make every attempt to make these funds available to the fellow while they are still matriculated.

Medical Research Fellows at Janelia will be expected to live on-campus in furnished housing.

Evaluation and Selection:

Fellowships are awarded on the basis of the applicant’s ability and promise for a research career as a physician- scientist, and the quality of the training that will be provided. The applicant’s ability and promise are assessed through the track-record of research experience, the personal statement, the proposed research plan, and letters of reference. The quality of the training is evaluated through the research plan and the information provided in the mentor’s endorsement, including the mentor’s curriculum vitae, a list of current funding, a list of trainees, and an individualized training plan for the applicant.

Conditions of Appointment:

Appointment of a fellow is contingent on satisfactory completion of the academic year in which the fellowship application was submitted, and on the student’s academic status as a student in good standing.

Fellows will be required to engage in laboratory research full-time and may not undertake any medical, dental, or veterinary school coursework, a clerkship, or any graduate school coursework during the fellowship term, with the exception of one graduate course per semester that is directly related to the fellow’s HHMI research project, with approval in advance from HHMI. During that year, fellows may not be enrolled in a PhD or an ScD program.

After an award has been made, a change of fellowship institution or mentor or a major change in the research plan requires HHMI approval for continuation of the fellowship.

Fellows are expected to conduct research according to the highest scientific and ethical standards and in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies regarding protection of human research subjects, humane care and use of laboratory animals, and laboratory safety. Fellows are responsible for the conduct of research and the preparation of research results for publication within the established guidelines of their fellowship institutions. HHMI assumes no responsibility for a fellow’s research findings or their interpretation.

2018 Scientific Meeting of Medical Fellows:

All current Medical Fellows are required to participate in the scientific Meeting of Medical Fellows, which will be held in conjunction with the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI)-Association of American Physicians (AAP) Joint Meeting in Chicago. Fellows will present a poster on their fellowship research project to ASCI members, hear scientific talks by leading physician-scientists, and attend career development sessions.

All fellowships are subject to further provisions contained in the booklet Information for Medical Fellows and Fellowship Institutions (which will be e-mailed to awardees) and any further documentation provided by HHMI.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175920

Number of Grants:

HHMI plans to award up to 60 fellowships.

Estimated Size of Grant:

For the 2018-2019 fellowship year, the total amount awarded to each Medical Fellow is $43,000. HHMI will provide the funds to the fellowship institution, which in turn will pay the fellow. The annual stipend is $32,000. In addition to the stipend, the award includes a fellow’s allowance of $5,500 and a research allowance of $5,500.

Term of Contract:

The fellowship term may begin no earlier than May 1, 2018, and no later than September 1, 2018. The term of the fellowship is 12 consecutive months.

Fellows must engage in research full-time during the fellowship term.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be currently enrolled in a medical, dental, or veterinary school in the United States. Students may apply during any year of their studies, but applicants in the last year of school must defer graduation until completion of the fellowship year.

All students must make a commitment to conducting 12 months of continuous, full-time laboratory research with minimal interruptions for interviews for residency or post-graduate training. These fellowships are not available to students enrolled in a combined medical, dental, or veterinary/PhD program (e.g., MD/PhD), a PhD program, or an ScD program or to those who have completed a PhD or an ScD in a laboratory-based science.

Previous wet-laboratory research experience is required. Applicants should have one or more substantial research experiences (e.g., summer or part-time research experience), other than course-based labs/ research experiences. Applicants with a year of full-time research experience since entering medical, dental, or veterinary school must show how further full-time research experience at this time would strongly enhance their future research careers. Students applying for the Medical Research Fellows Program at Janelia should have significant research experience and accomplishments.

There are no citizenship requirements for application, but those who are not U.S. citizens must have and maintain an appropriate visa with eligibility to work in the United States status by the award acceptance deadline of March 23, 2018. Students must be authorized to work in the United States during the entire term of their HHMI fellowship year. HHMI will not handle visa matters for applicants.

Applicants may not concurrently have two Medical Research Fellows applications in the HHMI Competition System (e.g., a Medical Research Fellows at Janelia application and a standard Medical Research Fellows application). It is recommended that those applying for the Janelia option have a mentor and project in mind at another fellowship institution in the event their prescreening application does not progress in the Medical Research Fellows at Janelia competition. Those not progressing past the Janelia interview stage are encouraged to complete the standard Medical Research Fellows Program application with a mentor at another fellowship institution by January 11.

Pre-Application Information:

Program Dates:
-November 1, 2017 (Janelia only): Prescreening application deadline
-Early December (Janelia only): Interviews for selected candidates
-December 11, 2017 (Janelia only): Interviewees notified of outcome
-January 11, 2018, 2 p.m. ET: Application deadline
-March 16, 2018: Award notification
-March 23, 2018: Acceptance deadline
-May 1 - September 1, 2018: Fellowship begins

Applicants to the Medical Research Fellows Program at Janelia should review the research underway to determine if the projects being pursued meet their interests:

Mentor List:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Medical Research Fellows Program
Undergraduate and Graduate Programs
4000 Jones Bridge Road
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

(301) 951-6708

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming