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Activities and Career Development
A range of programs is offered to support trainees in their academic and professional development and to complement the mentored experience that trainees have at the bench, the bedside, or both.
The activities and resources provided by the NICHD Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Office of Education include:
Annual Meeting of Postdoctoral, Clinical, and Visiting Fellows and Graduate Students
Every spring since the Office of Education was established, the fellows and graduate students of NICHD have organized an annual meeting or retreat. About 100 trainees participate, and everyone presents a poster. You meet new fellows, exchange ideas, network, and learn from presenters and one another in this protected time away from your laboratory and clinical responsibilities.
The meeting is organized by a Steering Committee of fellows and graduate students who determine the theme for the meeting, work to identify speakers, build a program, judge abstracts, select the winner of the "best scientific image" competition, introduce speakers and moderate sessions, and in all build a set of administrative and leadership skills through this experience.
Visit the site at http://retreat.nichd.nih.gov.
Monthly Newsletter for Fellows
The Office of Education helps produce
The NICHD Connection, a monthly newsletter for and by NICHD fellows. Highlights of the publication include seminar/workshop recaps, follow-up with former fellows, feature articles written by NICHD fellows, important announcements and events, as well as recognition of remarkable achievements by NICHD fellows. Many of the issues have a career development theme, an important topic in the fellow community.
Visit the site at
Professional Development Programs
Your primary research experience and professional growth as a fellow, whether postdoctoral or clinical, will be gained in the laboratory and clinics working alongside your mentors and other members of the laboratory or patient-care team. To build and expand on this central experience, the Office of Education offers a range of activities each year from which you may benefit.
These include the following, some on a rotating basis:
- Writing classes
- Editorial service
- Grant writing
- Online scientific writing classes
- Public speaking
- Presentation skills
- Job interview preparation
- One-on-one coaching
- Job interview preparation
- Lunchtime sessions for exploration of various science careers
- Alumni speakers and panels from various career paths
- Communications of job openings, including personalized searches
- Editing of job application materials (c.v., cover letter, resume, teaching/research statements)
- Guidance of IDPs/Annual Progress Reviews
- One-on-one advising and career counseling (mentoring challenges, career transitions)
- Skills workshops and training activities (curriculum design, technology, active learning)
- Six-week college teaching workshop series, each summer
- Annual course for postbaccalaureate fellows, including scientific lectures and a journal club series taught by postdocs and clinical fellows
- Grant writing workshops
- Mock study section and grants review workshops
- Practical guidance to application preparation
- Individualized coaching and reviewing of applications
- Reference materials
- NICHD Fellows Intramural Grants Supplement (FIGS)
- NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE), annual competition
- Image competition at annual NICHD fellows retreat
- An annual, competitive internal funding opportunity for NICHD postdoc and clinical fellows
- NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, transition to academic research
- NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program: Postdoctoral Fellowships at the NIH
NICHD Developing Talent Scholars Program
(For Postbaccalaureate Fellows and Graduate Students)
The NICHD Division of Intramural Research is committed to train, support, and sustain a diverse cohort of individuals traditionally underrepresented in science.
Established in 2011, the NICHD Developing Talent Program provides a superlative research and mentoring experience to scholars while tailoring an academic and professional development plan to the needs of the individual. In addition to scholars having the opportunity to work in an NICHD lab, contributing to the lab's research initiatives, the program exposes trainees to all of the Division of Intramural Research activities, committees, and retreats on team science, leadership and management, teaching, public speaking, and grant writing. Scholars are encouraged to enhance their networking skills, fostering collaborations across the institute and NIH. Through the program's alumni liaison, career guidance and mentorship will also be provided to the scholars, on a continuing basis, in their continued professional advancement.
Typically, two trainees per year are funded as NICHD Scholars. If you would like to learn more, please contact Dr. Yvette Pittman at
NICHD Fellows Recruitment Incentive Award (FRIA)
(For Postdoctoral Fellows)
The objective of the NICHD FRIA is to encourage investigators in the Division of Intramural Research to appoint postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who come from groups traditionally underrepresented in science. The awards will be made to PIs who are strong scientists and exhibit superior mentoring ability, as well as a demonstrated commitment to the career development and academic progress of their fellows. FRIA postdoc fellows are expected to attend at least one scientific meeting per year, identify a secondary mentor outside of the laboratory, and meet at least four times per year to discuss their individualized training plan, research progression, and training and professional skills needs.
More information about eligibility and the application and award process, contact Dr. Yvette Pittman at