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NIH Outstanding Scholars in Neuroscience Award program (OSNAP)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is eligible?

Eligible candidates for OSNAP are graduate students in PhD (or PhD equivalent) programs who are engaged in neuroscience research and are within 2 years from completing their PhD (or PhD equivalent) programs or recent postdoctoral fellows who are no more than 2 years into their research fellowships.

International trainees (graduate or postdoctoral level) who are training at US institutions are eligible for nomination for the OSNAP award. International trainees who are training at institutions outside of the US but in North America are eligible for nomination for the OSNAP award.

Does the OSNAP award come with funding?

The OSNAP award is not an NIH funding opportunity. It is an award program to recognize excellence in neuroscience research.

How long has the program been in existence?

The OSNAP Program was established in the Fall of 2019. This is the third call for nomination of the Outstanding Scholars in Neuroscience Award Program (OSNAP).

What is the purpose of the award?

The award is meant to recognize those who are conducting exceptional neuroscience research and have great academic potential in their scientific PhD (or PhD equivalent) programs and early postdoctoral careers across North America. In addition, this program will introduce these outstanding young scientists to the many training and career opportunities in neuroscience in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institutes of Health. Awardees will also learn about extramural funding opportunities offered by the NIH institutes.

Who sponsors the award?

The award is sponsored by 8 participating institutes which include NCATS, NEI, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS.

Who can submit nominations?

Program directors or mentors of graduate and postdoctoral trainees may nominate candidates for consideration.

What needs to be included in the nomination packet?

  • Program director or mentor nomination letter for a current PhD (or PhD equivalent) candidate or an early stage postdoctoral fellow, describing the qualifications of the nominee including the following:
    1. Previous and current research training and accomplishments
    2. Personal characteristics that set them apart
    3. Evidence of astute scientific research skills and critical thinking
    4. Enthusiasm for working with others
  • The nominee's Curriculum Vitae.
  • A cover letter by the nominee describing their future research interests, research goals, why they should be selected for the award, and how the award will benefit their career. The letter should also indicate which participating NIH institute(s) is of interest.
  • Optional: One additional letter of recommendation may be submitted to support the online nomination.

How are the awardees chosen?

There is a committee composed of Training Directors and research faculty from each of the participating institutes (NCATS, NEI, NIDA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NIGMS, NIMH, NINDS) who review nominations for consideration.

How many awardees are chosen each year?

Up to 30 awards may be chosen.

What does the award consist of?

The award includes:

  • a certificate honoring selection as an NIH OSNAP recipient;
  • an invitation to visit the NIH either in person at the Bethesda, MD, campus or virtually (if necessary) for an Award Symposium where awardees meet with NIH leadership, investigators, and research trainees to learn about the unique resources and research conducted in the Intramural Research Program (IRP);
  • the opportunity to give a brief talk and present a poster about their own research;
  • the opportunity to meet with Program Officers from institutes of interest to learn about extramural funding opportunities.