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Applications Open! Jump Start Your Career with the Virtual 2021 Future Research Leaders Conference

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2 years 11 months
04.15.21 By Marie A. Bernard
Great Minds

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Scientific Workforce Diversity (SWD) office are pleased to announce the 2021 Future Research Leaders Conference (FRLC), an excellent career development opportunity for talented, early-career scientists interested in pursuing careers at NIH’s world-class Intramural Research Program (IRP). The selected participants will join a distinguished group of Future Research Leaders (FRLs) for a 2-day virtual conference held Tuesday and Wednesday, June 29-30, 2021. The application deadline is Monday, May 10, 2021, 12 noon (EDT).

What Does FRLC Offer Me?

The FRLC will provide the selected FRLs an opportunity to showcase their research and learn about the pathways for joining the IRP at NIH, the largest biomedical research institution in the world, with approximately 1,200 principal investigators (PIs) and more than 4,000 postdoctoral fellows. During the conference, FRLs will learn from NIH leadership and tenure-track investigators about strategies for developing an independent research career at NIH. The FRLC will offer a personalized experience for FRLs, who will be connected with a rich network of scientists from across many of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs), including in their scientific focus areas. FRLs will forge valuable connections that can yield future collaborations or mentorships.

What Opportunities Does the IRP Provide?

The IRP offers unparalleled opportunities for mentoring as well as tenure-track positions with sufficient resources to establish world-class programs—no teaching or grant writing necessary. Pathways for joining the IRP include, but are not limited to:

  • The Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigators program recruits upwards of 10 researchers each year. This program’s approach allows candidates to bring their creative ideas to NIH and if selected, NIH works to create a tenure-track position in one of the ICs to match that talent.
  • The Lasker Clinical Research Scholars program provides a unique opportunity for clinician-scientists to receive a combination of intramural and extramural support. The program aims to support early-stage clinical researchers in their development to fully independent positions.
  • The Distinguished Scholars Program (DSP) aims to cultivate a diverse and inclusive community within the IRP. 15 principal investigators from underrepresented groups in biomedical research are selected each year and provided with mentoring and other professional development activities that foster research and career success.
  • The Independent Research Scholar Program focuses on building workforce diversity of independent research scientists by selecting scholars who have a commitment to building a diverse IRP. Scholars will be independent, non-tenure track Principal Investigators.

To learn more about the NIH IRP in general, please visit IRP Careers and explore the IRP Scientific Focus Areas. To see a day in the life of an IRP scientist, watch this video or view IRP Grand Rounds and Wednesday Afternoon Lectures.

Who is Eligible and How Are Participants Selected?

We welcome applications from scientists with all of the following qualifications:

  • Postdoctoral or junior faculty investigator currently active in biomedical or behavioral research and no more than 10 years post-conferral of PhD, MD, MD/PhD, or other doctoral degree.
  • Working toward an independent research career with career goals aligned with the NIH and IRP mission.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience and promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the biomedical research workforce.

Eligible applicants will be evaluated based on the strength and potential impact of their current and planned scientific research, their progress in fostering an independent research career, the alignment of their research and professional goals with the NIH and IRP mission, and their promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the biomedical research workforce.

How Do I Learn More and Apply?

Visit the FRLC website for information about the 2021 FRLC and apply to participate on the 2021 FRLC Application Portal. For questions about the FRLC, please email

Dr. Bernard’s Parting Thoughts:

NIH recognizes that diversity makes science stronger and is therefore invested in recruiting talent that will drive innovation that turns discovery into health. We hope you will apply to join this year’s group of Future Research Leaders!

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