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NIMH Cohort Program for Advancing Scientific Excellence (CPASE) – For Postbacs

About this program

NIMH Cohort Program for Advancing Scientific Excellence. Continuous circle graphic showing the relationship between development, inclusion, mentorship, and excellence.

This program is for recent college graduates considering graduate or professional school in neuroscience, psychology, healthcare, and STEM fields. CPASE is a cohort program within the broader NIH Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (Postbac IRTA) Program . Participants will conduct full-time research for 1-2 years at the main NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. The cohort program will supplement the research and mentorship experience that postbacs receive from their Principal Investigator and lab members.

The objectives of the NIMH CPASE are to:

  • Recruit postbacs who are committed to fostering an environment that allows individuals from a range of backgrounds to feel included and thrive
  • Encourage peer networking, communication, and support within the cohort
  • Help trainees reach the next step in their career path
  • Provide tailored mentorship as well as career and professional development trainings

Eligibility criteria

To be considered for the NIMH CPASE, you must meet the eligibility criteria for the NIH Postbac IRTA Program :

  • Candidate must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree obtained within 3 years of the fellowship start date
  • If the candidate has a master’s degree, then the candidate must start within 6 months of receiving that degree

Preference for admission to the NIMH CPASE will be given to individuals who lack substantial research experience as undergraduates or who are making substantial shifts in research focus as postbacs. We strongly encourage applications from individuals who will enthusiastically participate in cohort activities and who feel that the program will benefit their professional development and their careers.

We welcome all applicants, including those from diverse backgrounds. We strongly encourage applications from individuals:

  • from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in biomedical research and healthcare fields
  • with disabilities
  • who are/were Pell-Grant-eligible in college
  • who were enrolled in Tribal Colleges and Universities, community colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • who identify as LGBTQ+
  • who are the first in their family to attend college
  • disadvantaged by life circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities

Candidates should be committed to a career in the biomedical sciences and plan to apply to graduate/professional school during the program.

Candidates must be available to begin their fellowship between June and early August 2025.

Candidates must also be able to pass a federal background check . We strongly encourage you to carefully read the full terms and conditions. Ignoring this could prevent you from taking part in the program.

Opening and closing dates

The NIMH CPASE application opens on October 1, 2024 and closes January 13, 2025.

How to apply

There are two steps to apply for the NIMH CPASE:

  1. Complete the NIH Postbac application , which includes:
    1. a resumé
    2. a list of coursework and grades
    3. a cover letter broadly describing your prior research experiences, current interests and career goals
    4. the names and contact information of three references
  2. Email the following documents to Aneka Reid ( and Alycia Boutté ( in the NIMH Office of Fellowship Training:
    1. A curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé
    2. Cover letter (1-2 pages)

Your cover letter should include the following:

  • A description of your interest in participating in the CPASE cohort program and an explanation of how the program will benefit your career goals.
  • A description of how your current or previous personal experiences and/or professional activities demonstrate a commitment to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • At the end of the cover letter, please identify 3-5 Principal Investigators (PIs) you would be interested in working with at NIMH. A list of NIMH PIs can be found here.

You must complete both steps to be considered for the NIMH CPASE.

Selection process

  • The NIMH CPASE selection committee will review applications and invite a subset of candidates to participate in a virtual panel interview in March 2025.
  • PIs will then conduct virtual second-round interviews with candidates who advance in the process.
  • Finalists will be selected by the committee and matched with a mentor based on aligning research interests and mutual fit.
  • Finalists will be notified of their acceptance in April 2025.
  • Awardees will be expected to start their fellowship between June and early August 2025.

Stipend and other compensation

Stipends  for postbacs are adjusted annually and are based on relevant research work experience gained after completion of your bachelor's degree.

We also offer fully paid health insurance  for individuals and families. This includes coverage for medical, dental, and vision needs.

NIMH postbacs are eligible to participate in the Transhare program , which offers free parking on campus or funds for the Metro.

Unique program benefits

  • Trainees will receive funding from the NIMH Office of Fellowship Training (OFT) to travel to one domestic scientific meeting during their time in the program to present their research
  • Trainees will receive funding to take one FAES course  during their time in the program to advance their knowledge and skills
  • Trainees will receive additional social support from their cohort members
  • Trainees will participate in a volunteer community activity as a cohort
  • Career and professional development programming will be provided for the cohort and will be designed with input from cohort members

Participation requirements

CPASE participants will be expected to participate in the following:

  • Participate in cohort welcome and closing sessions
  • Attend regular cohort meetings
  • Attend a select number of NIMH career and professional development events for postbacs
  • Present research at a scientific conference (outside of NIH)
  • Participate in a selected cohort volunteer community activity


Questions? Email Aneka Reid ( or Alycia Boutté ( in the NIMH Office of Fellowship Training.