NIDDK Medical Student Research Training Program : NIDDK

NIDDK Medical Student Research Training Program

Purpose: The NIDDK Medical Student Research Training program is designed to provide a mentored research training experience for those medical students who are considering an academic research career. Providing the opportunity for students to interrupt their medical school studies for up to 12 months to pursue a research project should help them solidify their decisions to pursue a research career, focus their research interests, and provide a background for future training and career development programs once they have completed their medical training.

Eligibility. Medical students in good standing who have completed at least one year of their medical school education and who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible. Only students able to commit a minimum of 9 months, up to a maximum of 12 months, full time, to participate in the program may apply. Applicants must have the permission of the Dean of their medical school to participate in this program at their own or another institution. Students who have previously earned the Ph.D. degree are not eligible nor are students enrolled in the combined MD-PhD program (see for information on funding for MD-PhD students).

Application procedure. An application consisting of the following must be submitted to the NIDDK for review by program staff for each student for whom support is being requested:

    1. Completed face page of a 398 application, including proposed start date (e.g. July or September), the grant number of the T32 involved, and the  institutional business official signature. Type the student's name (Last Name, First Name) at the top of the page.
    2. Copy of most recent transcript of grades from medical school;
    3. Statement from the medical student as to his/her research interests, career goals, and expectations for the research year;
    4. Statement from the proposed mentor indicating plans for working with the student;
    5. An outline of the proposed research project for the student as well as any other activities such as participation in journal clubs, lab meetings, scientific workshops, specialized technical training, etc. prepared jointly by the student and the mentor;
    6. If the proposed mentor is NOT already listed as a member of the training faculty on an NIDDK supported T32, then a request to appoint the mentor to the training grants must be submitted to the NIDDK program director for the relevant T32 prior to submission of the student’s application, and approval must be obtained prior to submitting the application;
    7. If a DK-funded Center is available and it’s cores will be utilized by the student, include a statement from the Center director with whom the student and mentor will most closely be aligned confirming that the facilities, resources, and enrichment activities of the Center will be available to the student and mentor;
    8. A letter from the Dean of the School of Medicine indicating approval for the student to take time off from his/her studies to pursue this research year and stipulating that the student is expected resume a normal medical school curriculum once the research year has ended;
    9. Three letters of recommendation from current faculty at the school of medicine attesting to the student’s interest in a research career, academic accomplishments, and suitability for this research experience. Alternatively, one of these letters may be from someone with whom the student has already performed a research project at the undergraduate or post-baccalaureate level, at a different location.
    10. Budget page (use the Kirschstein-NRSA Substitute Form Page 4) from the PHS 398.
    11. A brief (1 page) summary of the administration of this MSRT program at your institution, including the following: 
  1.  An indication of the means used to publicize the availability of these training positions, including the faculty and staff involved;
  2. The number of students inquiring about the program, as well as the number of students applying;
  3. The method used to match students with mentors;
  4. Plans for including the students in existing training in the responsible conduct of science courses/seminars; and
  5. The number of medical students at your institution who will be taking a year off from their studies, supported by other means, to pursue a research project.
  6. If the student is not from your institution, the means by which the student found the program, and your decision process in accepting them as a trainee.

Funds available. The NIDDK will fund one or two student applications per T32 for each year. Funds are set aside to support a maximum of 18 students per year nationwide. Any T32 director may submit more than two applications with the understanding that the NIDDK will make a selection of no more than two applicants. Since many institutions have multiple DK-funded training grants, we will limit the final number of students at any one location to no more than four.

Application receipt: Applications must be received no later than April 15 of each year. NIH staff will administratively review all submitted applications. Confirmation of our intention to issue awards will be made before June 1 and Notice of Grant Awards for those applications selected for funding will be issued as soon as the parent T32 grant is awarded

Send applications (original and three exact copies) to:
MSRT Program
6707 Democracy Blvd., Room 667
Bethesda, MD 20892-5450
(for overnight delivery change zip code to 20817)
Submit the complete application as a PDF to

Restrictions/Reporting requirements. Students participating in this program may not take any courses for credit towards their degree during the MSTP period of training and must pursue their research on a full time basis. There is no pay back requirement for predoctoral support, but for tracking purposes a Statement of Appointment form must be submitted when the training begins as well as a Termination Notice once the year has ended. A final, brief progress report from the student must be submitted within 90 days of the end of the training period.

Budget. Support will consist of a stipend at the current published predoctoral stipend level as well as $4200 for research support and health insurance, and $1000 for travel to a scientific meeting, if requested. Funds will be awarded as a supplement to the appropriate T32 grant at the institution.

Inquiries. For questions or clarifications please contact Dr. Judith Podskalny at

Page last updated: August 26, 2008

General inquiries may be addressed to: Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Building 31. Rm 9A06
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
For information about NIDDK programs: 301.496.3583

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