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Office of Fellowship Training - Training Activities

The Office of Fellowship Training is here to assist in your training goals. Some examples of past ad-hoc training courses include interviewing skills, how to put together a scientific poster, scientific oral presentations, funding opportunities for graduate and medical school, and the Nobel Laureate Seminar Series. If you have an idea for a training that you would like to see, please contact our office to discuss what avenues are available.

NIMH DIRP Pre-Doctoral Research Festival

The NIMH Division of Intramural Research and the Office of Fellowship Training want to thank all the attendees of the first annual NIMH Pre-doctoral Research Festival for their part in making the event a great success. According to the evaluations and conversations with the attendees, discussions with scientists and fellows about neuroscience research being conducted at the NIMH as well as learning about NIMH postdoctoral fellowship opportunities was much appreciated. The two day festival included lectures by NIMH scientist, well prepared posters and oral presentations by the attendees and tours of the NIMH facilities. Topics covered ranged from cortical thickness and activation on verbal memory in normally developing children to therapeutic implications of cellular plasticity and resilience in severe mood disorders. Over 70 participants from 52 institutions across the United States contributed to the success of this event.

Following are the photos from this year’s event. For further information about the Research Festival, please email Margarita Valencia.


The Office of Fellowship Training provides orientation for all new employees. The NIMH Orientation has been expanded to include new NIMH federal employees (GS and T-42s), fellows, contractors and volunteers—all should attend this orientation. As is being done in other NIH IC’s, the new NIMH staff orientation has been lengthened to include a second day. This second day will ensure that all new staff complete mandatory online training before they begin their regular duties in the labs and branches. Orientations for all new staff now fall on the Monday of every FTE pay period. Please contact Margarita Valencia for the exact schedule.

NIH Orientation  is an online module that is required for all new FTEs and non-FTEs and recommended for contractors as well.

The NIH Fellows Handbook  put together by Felcom  offers helpful information for fellows.

NIMH-IRP Annual Scientific Retreat

The Intramural Research Program's Scientific Retreat provides an opportunity for NIMH Fellows and Investigators to meet and discuss the science being conducted throughout the IRP in an informal, social environment. All NIMH Fellows and Investigators are invited to participate. The two-day event is co-sponsored by the Fellows' IRP Committee and the NIMH Office of Fellowship Training. Please contact Margarita Valencia for more information.

Grantwriting Seminar

To support the training of the postdoctoral fellows, the IRP provides a series of workshops and seminars that provider the cornerstone of the grants didactic experience. These seminars are geared to completing an application for a Public Health Service Grant, PHS 398, including Research Career Awards and Institutional National Research Service Awards. The first of the Grantwriting workshops is held in the Winter of every year with the second phase three months later and the final phase of the grantwriting seminar held May through July. Please contact Margarita Valencia for more information.

This year’s Grant writing Seminar will be held on January 28 and 29. To attend, please complete the registration at 

Scientific Writing

This one-day seminar covers publishing and presenting results of scientific research. In addition the range of scholarly publishing - from original peer-reviewed journal articles, to book chapters, review articles, to abstracts and posters- will be presented. Participants learn tips and strategies that will result in the most efficient production of the data necessary to publish, how to decide who will be included as authors and in what order, how to choose a journal, how to write to impress reviewers maximally, how to avoid the perception of conflict of interest, and how to respond to the criticisms of reviewers. Please contact Margarita Valencia for more information.

Ethics for Lunch

The NIH has required each Institute to provide Ethics training to the appropriate staff. "Ethics for Lunch" is conducted each year during the Winter by Dr. Barry B. Kaplan of the Office of Fellowship Training. All Fellows, (except Clinical Fellows), Staff Scientists, Staff Clinicians, Tenure Track Investigators, Laboratory Technicians are required to attend. Please contact Margarita Valencia for scheduling.

Investigator’s Seminar

Every month a different NIMH IRP investigator is invited to present his/her latest research to the IRP community. Please contact Margarita Valencia for more information.


The Postbaccalaureate IRTAs at NIMH meet to organize this seminar training series. The focus changes depending on the needs of the current IRTAs involved. New post-bac IRTAs are always welcome to participate. Contact Margarita Valencia with ideas.

Pre-IRTA Committee

The post-baccalaureate and pre-doctoral IRTA award recipients generate ideas for activities and seminars tailored specifically to those intending to seek Ph.D. and M.D. degrees in the future. Past seminar ideas include how to make a scientific presentation, mock graduate/medical school interviews, and panel discussions with admissions counselors from graduate/medical school programs. Contact Margarita Valencia with your ideas or if you would like to become involved.


The NIH Fellows Committee  consists of representatives from each institute working to enhance the intramural training program, foster communication among fellows and the NIH community, and serve as a liaison to administration programs affecting the training experience. Representatives are selected for one year appointments based on elections and the recommendation of the ICD Scientific Director. Representatives serving on the Felcom committee must serve on at least one Felcom subcommittee. Please contact Margarita Valencia for more information.

NIH Visiting Fellows Committee

The NIHVFC  is a self-governing body serving the interest of visiting fellows in their transition to life at the NIH, by working to make your experience here worthwhile; as well as creating the opportunities for visiting fellows to maintain continuity in their research upon returning to their home countries. Contact Margarita Valencia for more information.

FARE Awards

FARE  is the acronym for the Fellows Award for Research Excellence, begun in 1995. The seventeenth annual NIH-wide FARE competition (FARE 2011) will again provide recognition for the outstanding scientific research performed by intramural postdoctoral fellows. The award is sponsored by the NIH Fellows Committee, the Scientific Directors, the Office of Research on Women's Health, and the NIH Office of Education, and is funded by the Scientific Directors and the Office of Research on Women's Health. Fellows submit an abstract of their research, which is peer reviewed in a blind study section competition. Please contact Margarita Valencia for more information.

  • Winners of FARE awards will each receive a $1000 stipend to attend a scientific meeting at which they will present their abstract, either as a poster or a seminar.
  • FARE 2005 winners will also be asked to present their work at one of the FARE poster sessions that follow each WALS 2004/2005 seminar.
  • FARE 2005 winners will serve as judges for FARE 2006.


The FELLOW-L  list was created to promote fellowship between postdoctoral staff and to provide a forum for educational, scientific and employment issues. The number of subscribers has grown to over 1000 and geographically extends from Bethesda to Baltimore, North Carolina, and Montana. The list is among the largest serving bench scientists at the NIH.

The Pre-IRTA  list-serv is set up to provide information for the Pre-IRTA, Post baccalaureate and Technical IRTAs regarding seminars, lectures, extracurricular activities and social events. You must have an NIH e-mail address to subscribe to this list-serv.