DSRTP Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this program?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) through the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination invite students to submit their application for the Summer Research Training Program.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) through the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination invite students to submit their application for the Summer Research Training Program. The overall goal of this 10-week program is to build and sustain a biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social science research pipeline focused on NIDDK mission areas. The NIDDK Diversity Summer Research Program (DSRTP) is particularly interested in increasing students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research, including individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals diagnosed with a disability and individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups: African American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Alaska native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islanders.

Where are these training opportunities located?

These traineeships are available only in the intramural laboratories of the NIH, in Bethesda, Maryland and Phoenix, AZ.

Is this a paid internship?

Yes, students who are selected receive a student participation allowance of $2,600 for 10 weeks.

Is travel expenses included?

Yes, all students are required to make their own travel through our travel agency. Scientific Consultant Group (SCG) will be contacting students regrading travel arrangements. The NIDDK/DSRTP Program will provide up to $700 to assist with travel expenses so students will not be required to pay for airline tickets.

If students choose to use another travel agency you will NOT be reimburse for your airline ticket.

Is summer housing provided by the NIH?

Yes, housing is provided. Housing consists of double-occupancy rooms for 10 weeks.

What are the start and end dates for the program?

Students selected for the program usually begin work between the first week of June through mid-August. The minimum time commitment is ten weeks, 40 hours a week.

Are vacations permitted?

No, vacations are not permitted during the 10-week research experience. All vacations must be taken before or after the program start and end dates.

Can I take classes or work in the evenings during my research experience if it does not interfere with my time or my research?

No, students are expected to conduct research full-time (equivalent to 40 hours per week) in a supervised laboratory or clinical facility.

Can I apply if I am not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States?

No. Only citizens, permanent residents and noncitizen nationals of the U.S. are eligible to apply to this program.

Are there any eligibility criteria in addition to citizenship?

Undergraduate students who have completed at least 1 year at an accredited institution

I am currently a recent college graduate. Am I eligible for DSRTP?

Yes, those who have graduated, within the one year, from a qualifying educational institution are eligible.

Is the summer program limited to specific majors?

No. However, most summer positions are in research laboratories or research groups with a biomedical focus. You should have successfully completed courses in biology and chemistry. That said, research at the NIH runs the gamut from behavioral and social science through computational biology and biophysics.

Is there a minimum GPA to participate in this program?

Students must have a minimum overall GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

Do I have to prove that I have health/medical insurance prior to the program?

Yes. All students are required to submit a copy of their health/medical insurance policy to the program director.

What constitutes underrepresented in biomedical research?

Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals diagnosed with a disability and individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups: African American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Alaska native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islanders.

What is the definition of "disadvantaged background?"

An individual from a disadvantaged background is defined as an individual who comes from the following:

  1. A social, cultural or educational environment that has demonstrably and recently directly inhibited an individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop or participate in a research career and/or
  2. A family with an annual income below established low income thresholds. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such participants have qualified for federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

Is there a deadline for submission of applications?

Yes, the application deadline is February 1.

When should I apply?

We recommend that you apply as soon as possible after the application site becomes available on November 15.

How late will you accept applications?

All applications and supporting documents must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time) on February 1. Applicants will not be able to submit an application after 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1.

Can I update my application from last year?

No, you will need to reapply and request new letters from your references.

Is there a deadline for receipt of my reference letters?

All letters of reference must be uploaded to the Student Portal by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1.

Who should write my reference letters?

  • Academic reference letters from individuals with a science research background who can speak on your skills in the laboratory, creativity, problem solving abilities, motivation, ability to handle complex scientific literature and concepts, etc. Select academic references who are able to explain why you would be a good addition to a research group.
  • Academic reference letters from individuals who can speak from personal knowledge on your academic or professional qualifications for undergraduate study.
  • Reference letters from family members and/or friends are never appropriate.

What should I do if my references have not received a request for a reference letter on my behalf?

The system-generated e-mail request for a reference letter may have failed to reach your reference for any one of several reasons:

  • You may have provided an incorrect e-mail address.
  • The message may have been blocked from reaching your reference by a Spam filter.
  • Our e-mail server or your reference's may have malfunctioned at the time the message was being sent.
  • The message was undeliverable due to other circumstances beyond our control (e.g., your reference's mailbox being full).

If your reference did not receive the original message, you should:

  • Check the e-mail address that you provided on your application for your reference and correct it if necessary, then an automated response email will be sent to your recommender.
  • Ask your reference to check the folder to which his/her Spam filter diverts suspicious messages. This folder might be called "Junk mail," "Bulk mail," or "Spam."

If your reference still cannot find the message and you suspect there is a technical problem. Your recommender can email the letter to the Program Director, Ms. Winnie Martinez, letters must include a signature authorization.

Can I submit more than the required two letters of reference?

No, the online application system will accept only two reference letters to be uploaded.

However, for returning DSRTP students, three reference letters are required. For returning students, the third letter of reference must be email to the Program Director, Ms. Winnie Martinez from their NIDDK/DSRTP Research Mentor.

Can I change my reference(s) after I have submitted my application?

You can change a reference if the original reference has not yet submitted a letter on your behalf. After a letter has been submitted, you cannot make such a change. If you replace an existing reference, please notify that individual that you will no longer require his/her assistance.

If I change a reference, will my original reference be notified?

It is your responsibility to let your original reference know that his/her assistance will no longer be required.

How do I submit my official transcript?

Official transcript must be postmarked (mailed) or submitted electronically from your institute or university to Ms. Winnie Martinez, by February 1. Unofficial transcript or screenshots of your unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.

Please send your official transcript to the following address:
Ms. Winnie Martinez
Program Analyst
Office of Minority Health Research Coordination
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH
II Democracy Plaza
6707 Democracy Boulevard, Room 9215
Bethesda, MD 20892

Does my official transcript have to include my fall grades?

Yes, official transcripts must reflect all earned credits and grades through December.

Should I list all the courses and grades that I have completed or only my science courses?

Please list all of your completed courses with grades, as well as the courses that you plan to complete by the end of the academic year. Be certain to include an informative course title rather than just providing the course number.

How will I be notified if I am selected?

Program director will contact you by email.

When will I hear whether I am accepted into DSRTP?

The NIDDK DSRTP Program Director will begin notifying applicants of acceptance into the DSRTP program by email after two weeks of the deadline, this will continue until all available spots are filled. Accepted applicants will be required to confirm their participation within 3-5 days of notification.

What are expectations for DSRTP students?

Students are expected to:

  1. Attend student orientation
  2. Attend NIDDK DSRTP Research Symposium
  3. Attend NIH Summer Poster Day
  4. Meet bi-weekly with OMHRC staff
  5. Participate in meetings and seminars in your individual lab
  6. Attend weekly research and career development seminars
  7. Attend summer seminar series with senior NIH investigators who will discuss the latest developments in biomedical research
  8. With preceptor permission, attend formal lectures and symposia, listed in the weekly "NIH Calendar of Events” (only available at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland).
  9. Get paired with a post baccalaureate or postdoctoral fellow for informal guidance

Can you provide any advice on how to write a good application?

You might wish to read "Writing Successful Applications for Biomedical Research Training Programs: Advice from the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education."

Do you have any advice on writing my resume/CV?

Here is a summary of our advice on resumes/CVs

For more information on resources for prospective applicants, please visit:

https://www.training.nih.gov/nih_resources

NIDDK Staff Contact

Ms. Winnie Martinez