Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about NINR's GPP

  1. What is the GPP? Why should I consider applying?
  2. At what point in my doctoral program should I apply?
  3. What are the eligibility criteria?
  4. How much research experience do I need?
  5. What counts as “research experience”?
  6. I don’t have any research experience yet, should I still apply?
  7. I’m an international student, am I eligible?
  8. I’m a DNP student, am I eligible?
  9. How do I find investigators I might like to work with?
  10. Does my NIH mentor replace my academic advisor for the dissertation process?
  11. Will I receive my degree from NIH?
  12. I have one course left, which I can participate in as a distance student; may I complete it after I start the GPP?
  13. I don’t have a cv, can I still apply?
  14. Are GRE scores required?
  15. Can I submit more than 3 recommendation letters?
  16. Do you want undergrad transcripts as well as transcripts for masters and doctoral coursework?
  17. Can I just email my transcripts?
  18. Can I just provide my GPA or do you need grades for every course?
  19. Is a personal statement required? What should it say?
  20. How much stipend will I receive as an NINR GPP fellow?
  21. Will I continue to receive the stipend from my home academic institution?
  22. What other supports are provided to NINR GPP fellows in addition to the stipend?
  23. What is it like to be a GPP fellow?
  24. If selected, when would I begin?
  25. What other opportunities will I experience as a GPP fellow?
  26. What is life at NIH like?
  27. What is life in Bethesda like?
  28. Does NIH offer assistance with finding housing?
  29. Where can I learn more?
  30. Where and how do I apply?

 

  1. What is the GPP? Why should I consider applying?

The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP) is a doctoral fellowship program that coordinates training and funding for PhD students attending a school of nursing. The program combines the academic environment of a university and the breadth and depth of research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The goal of the program is to encourage and support the training of nursing doctoral students who are motivated to undertake careers in basic or clinical research. 

The GPP provides an unparalleled research training opportunity. Our fellows conduct their dissertation research in the world-class setting of the NIH Intramural Research Program, receiving co-mentorship from internationally known scientists at the cutting edge of their respective fields, as well as their university doctoral advisors. As the GPP Handbook states, fellows “build their career and shape the future” even as they earn their doctorate.

In addition to learning how to approach research both critically and creatively, using a variety of technologies and approaches, the GPP offers fellows a chance to develop communication, collaboration, management, teaching, and leadership skills that are critical to their success as scientists. The GPP experience provides fellows with a rich array of social and networking opportunities as well.

  1. At what point in my doctoral program should I apply?

Because all doctoral coursework must be completed prior to the GPP fellow arriving at NIH, PhD nursing students interested in becoming an NINR GPP fellow generally apply between August and December of their second year. Accepted students begin their NINR GPP fellowship the following September (the actual start date is flexible, agreed up by the Training Director, the student’s doctoral advisor, and the student). A sample timeline is provided below.

August to December 2016 — Interested PhD nursing students apply to the NINR GPP

February to March 2017 — Prospective applicants are interviewed

Spring 2017 — Applicants are notified of their status (accepted or not)

Summer 2017 — Accepted students complete all final doctoral coursework at their home academic institution

Late August / Early September 2017 — New NINR GPP fellows arrive at the NIH campus in Bethesda MD to begin their research training

  1. What are the eligibility criteria?

The NINR GPP is open to doctoral (PhD) students currently enrolled in a school of nursing who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. Preference is given to applicants committed to a career as an innovative and creative leader in the nursing and scientific research community and with a research interest that is congruent with one or more focused research areas in the NIH Intramural Research Programs

The next most important criterion is research experience. The selection committee also considers letters of recommendation, the student’s academic performance, particularly in science courses, and the research and career goals of the applicant. An up-to-date curriculum vitae (cv) is also required—applications without this element are considered incomplete and are not reviewed. Cvs should be emailed directly to NINR Acting Training Director & Deputy Training Director Dr. Pamela Tamez at pamela.tamez@nih.gov

  1. How much research experience do I need?

The NINR GPP selection committee looks for at least 6 months of experience.

  1. What counts as “research experience”?

Working as a research assistant with a nurse scientist or other basic science research investigator/mentor; hands-on laboratory training for basic skills, such as NINR’s Summer Genetics Institute (SGI); or developing a grant.

  1. I don’t have any research experience yet, should I still apply?

Research experience is strongly encouraged. Applicants lacking any research experience are unlikely to be selected as NINR GPP fellows.

  1. I’m an international student, am I eligible?

You must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. to become a GPP fellow. For questions concerning visas, please consult with the NIH Division of International Services.

  1. I’m a DNP student, am I eligible?

You must be enrolled in a nursing PhD doctoral program to become an NINR GPP fellow.

  1. How do I find investigators I might like to work with?

An excellent place to start is the NIH Office of Intramural Education’s (OITE) Mentors web page (https://www.training.nih.gov/programs/gpp/mentors). In addition to links to the NIH Intramural Program website (http://irp.nih.gov/our-research/principal-investigators), where you will find profiles on NIH’s 1200 or so Principal Investigators (PIs), the page also offers links to the intramural divisions at the Institute-level, as well as resources such as sample questions to ask a PI (click on Thoughts on Choosing a Research Mentor).

Another way to search online is to use the NIH Intramural Research Database (http://intramural.nih.gov/search/index.taf), which allows one to look up studies by topic, PI name, IC name, year, etc. This is good approach for students who are interested in a particular area of research. One may also read the NIH Almanac (https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/what-we-do/nih-almanac) to learn facts about the research programs and activities of the agency's 27 Institutes and Centers.

  1. Does my NIH mentor replace my academic advisor for the dissertation process?

No. Your NIH mentor and academic advisor will serve as co-mentors for the dissertation process.

  1. Will I receive my degree from NIH?

No. Students will receive their doctoral degree from the academic institution in which they are enrolled.

  1. I have one course left, which I can participate in as a distance student; may I complete it after I start the GPP?

No, all doctoral coursework must be completed before matriculating to the NINR GPP.

  1. I don’t have a cv, can I still apply?

No. Applications submitted without a cv will not be considered. Please copy and paste your cv into the cv/resume section of the online application. CVs should also be emailed directly to NINR Acting Training Director & Deputy Training Director Dr. Pamela Tamez at pamela.tamez@nih.gov.

  1. Are GRE scores required?

No, GRE General Test scores are not required.  

  1. Can I submit more than 3 recommendation letters?

Please submit only the required number of recommendation letters. The application system will not accept more than 3, and additional emailed recommendation letters may not be properly linked to your application.

  1. Do you want undergrad transcripts as well as transcripts for masters and doctoral coursework?

Yes. Grades are required for your entire academic history. You will need to cut and paste your courses and grades into the GPP application system. Official transcripts are required only if you are selected as a fellow.

  1. Can I just email my transcripts?

All applicants must enter their courses and grades into the GPP application system when first applying to the GPP. If you are accepted as a fellow, you will be required to send an official transcript.

  1. Can I just provide my GPA or do you need grades for every course?

Grades are required for every course, in addition to your GPA.

  1. Is a personal statement required? What should it say?

Yes, a personal statement is required for the GPP. Please highlight your research interests and goals and provide a summary of your background, experience, education/training and how they have influenced your research interests. Explain why you wish to become a GPP fellow and how you anticipate this experience will influence your career direction.

  1. How much stipend will I receive as an NINR GPP fellow?

The stipends for graduate students at the NIH are adjusted yearly; the level depends on prior research experience and number of years at NIH as a graduate student. For details, see the Trainee Stipends page. The student’s doctoral program/academic institution may supplement the basic NINR stipend.

  1. Will I continue to receive the stipend from my home academic institution?

The NINR GPP does not require you to give up your doctoral program stipend. It is up to your home academic institution whether you continue to receive your program’s stipend while a GPP fellow at NIH.

  1. What other supports are provided to NINR GPP fellows in addition to the stipend?

NINR will support students for up to three years. In addition to a stipend, this support includes:

  • a tuition allowance
  • modest sums for travel
  • health insurance

23. What is it like to be a GPP fellow?

To learn more about the NINR GPP experience, see our video interview with Dawn Betters, a recent NINR GPP graduate. You may also enjoy watching the National Advisory Council of Nursing Research presentations of two other NINR GPP fellows, in which they discuss their experience in the program and provide an overview of their research. These videos are available on the NINR GPP web page at http://www.ninr.nih.gov/GPP.

To learn more about the GPP in general, we recommend reading the NIH Catalyst article “Grad Students Unite: The NIH Graduate Partnerships Program,” available at: http://irp.nih.gov/catalyst/v20i4. It features interviews with three GPP students.

  1. If selected, when would I begin?

NINR GPP fellows usually re-locate to the Bethesda, MD, area the August following their acceptance into the program, so they are ready to begin the research for their dissertation in September.

  1. What other opportunities will I experience as a GPP fellow?

In addition to providing unparalleled research training, the GPP experience offers a rich array of educational, career, and social opportunities. The NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) has developed a number of workshops, seminars and courses to enhance your experience at NIH. These events are designed to help transition you from student to colleague and give you the necessary tools and skills to take that next career step; whether it is in academia, industry, administration, science policy or any of the various paths that an advanced degree in the biomedical sciences can take you.  You may wish to review the OITE Upcoming Events page to learn more about these opportunities. 

  1. What is life at NIH like?

At the NIH, graduate students work in a highly collaborative research environment with leading scientists and clinicians. They share the NIH campus with the largest research hospital in the nation. They explore areas such as bioinformatics, biophysics, epidemiology, immunology, cell and molecular biology, neuroscience, health sciences, structural biology, sensory and communication neuroscience, molecular pathology, biobehavioral research, and developmental biology. Our 317-acre campus boasts plenty of green space, where we have regular cultural events for staff and the public, as well as cafeterias, shops, and fitness centers.

  1. What is life in Bethesda like?

Bethesda, Maryland, where the main campus of NIH is located, is just outside of Washington, DC.  Excellent restaurants, shops, transportation, and entertainment make Bethesda a great place to work, and the wealth of museums, monuments, parks, sports and cultural activities in the Washington metropolitan area provides ample recreation opportunities. To learn more, visit http://www.bethesda.org/.

  1. Does NIH offer assistance with finding housing?

To find housing near NIH, you may want to start by searching SamsList, an online resource of verified landlords with rental listings near the NIH. NIH also has a useful document for those relocating to the area for an extended time called “Moving to the National Institutes of Health: A Guide to Help You Move to Bethesda, Frederick, and Baltimore.” It is available for download here.    

  1. Where can I learn more?

For additional questions and answers concerning the GPP, please visit https://www.training.nih.gov/trainee_-_gpp_faqs. You may also wish to review the GPP Handbook.

30. Where and how do I apply?

To apply to the NINR GPP, first review the application instructions on our NINR GPP page at www.ninr.nih.gov/GPP. There you will find a link to the Institutional GPP application system on the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) website. Please note: NINR requires all GPP applicants to use the 5-page form normally used by prospective PhD candidates. This longer form enables NINR to receive all the necessary information and materials for its review process with the exception of a cv, which applicants may email directly to NINR Acting Training Director & Deputy Training Director Dr. Pamela Tamez after completing the online application form. Dr. Tamez's email address is pamela.tamez@nih.gov