National deadline:  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis year round and are reviewed by scientists in the Institutes and Centers of the NIH. 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • College graduates who received their bachelor's degrees less than two years prior to the date they begin the program.
  • The intent to apply to graduate or professional school during their tenure in the program.

Award summary and benefits: The NIH Postbac IRTA (Intramural Research Training Award) program or CRTA (Cancer Research Training Award) provides recent college graduates who are planning to apply to graduate or professional (medical/dental/pharmacy) school an opportunity to spend one or two years performing full-time research at the NIH. Individual scientists select their own postbacs and provide the funding to support them; there is no centralized selection process. 
    These traineeships are available only in the intramural laboratories of the NIH. Most of the laboratories are located on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. Several Institutes or their laboratories that focus on particular research areas are found at other sites around the country. These include facilities of:

  • The National Cancer Institute in Frederick, MD
  • The National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, MD
  • The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Detroit, MI
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore, MD
  • The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC
  • The Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton, MT
  • The Framingham Heart Study of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Framingham, MA

NOTE: Only a limited number of positions are available in Detroit and Framingham.

For more detailed information on the IRTA/CRTA opportunities, visit:

For suggestions on how to increase your chances of being offered a position, please read the Postbac IRTA Program Frequently Asked Questions on the website.

Application Procedure: Prospective candidates must apply online. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply three to six months before they wish to begin their training at the NIH.  The program has no fixed start date.  The application requires submission of:

  • A curriculum vitae or resume
  • A list of coursework and grades
  • A cover letter describing the applicant's research interests and career goals
  • The names and contact information for three references

Selection process: Candidates will be informed of their selection by the hiring Institute. Successful candidates will be required to submit the following documentation to their Institute or Center prior to beginning their training:

  • Official college transcript(s)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. U.S. citizens may submit a copy of their birth certificate or passport. Permanent residents will need to provide a copy of their alien registration card.

Faculty representative: Keith Raether