Medical Research Scholars Program

“Medical discoveries of tomorrow depend on the students we train today,” said NIH Director Francis Collins. In September 2012, a new NIH Medical Research Scholars Program “will help ensure that there is a steady pipeline of scientists conducting the full range of biomedical research.”

The new program, which offers a comprehensive yearlong research experience for medical, osteopathic, dental, and veterinary students, will begin on NIH’s Bethesda campus in September 2012. Scholars will engage in mentored research experiences with NIH intramural investigators in basic science laboratories and in clinical and translational research conducted at the Clinical Center.

The Medical Research Scholars Program builds on a long partnership established with Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1985 that provided laboratory research training to top students in medical, dental, and recently veterinary schools. The new program blends the bench-focused HHMI–NIH program and the more clinically focused NIH Clinical Research Training Programa (CRTP). CRTP participants engage in clinical and translational research.

Basic, clinical, and translational research will be part of the new Medical Research Scholars Program. The program is made possible through a partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health; it is supported by a grant from Pfizer Inc and contributions from HHMI.

“Pfizer has a long tradition of supporting medical education and is proud to support the NIH Clinical Center, one of the most important teaching and research hospitals in the world,” said Freda Lewis-Hall, Pfizer’s executive vice president and chief medical officer. “Those who benefit from the Medical Research Scholars Program will gain special insight into many conditions [for which] further research and greater medical understanding are urgently needed.”

Program applications will be accepted from October 1, 2011, through January 17, 2012. At least 40 students are expected to be admitted during the program’s first year. The goal is to accept up to 70 students as the program grows.

Support for students selected for the program includes a stipend and resources for educational enrichment, such as travel to scientific meetings. There will be a curriculum in clinical protocol development and the conduct of human subjects research; seminars focusing on basic and laboratory studies and their translation into clinical protocols; and a component on the development of leadership skills.

“HHMI is pleased to have an ongoing role in this important NIH initiative,” said HHMI president Robert Tjian. “Our support will enable NIH to continue a long-running seminar series that brings these clinician-scientists into contact with leading researchers from around the nation. These opportunities—coupled with the experience of working in an NIH lab—can inspire a lifelong commitment to research.”

This is now one program, one application, and one review process offering medical, osteopathic, dental, and veterinary students a broader spectrum of opportunities all housed within the CC’s Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education, which is directed by Fred Ognibene.

For more information and to apply, visit http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/training/mrsp.