Bridges to the Doctorate Program (T32)

​​Program Goal & Structure

The goal of the Bridges to the Doctorate Research Training Program is to promote broad participation in the biomedical research workforce by strengthening research training environments and expanding the pool of well-trained master’s students who transition to and complete biomedical Ph.Ds. relevant to the NIGMS mission. Specifically, this funding announcement provides support to eligible, domestic organizations to develop and implement effective, evidence-informed approaches to biomedical undergraduate training and mentoring to support the development of a biomedical research workforce that will benefit from the full range of perspectives, experiences and backgrounds needed to advance discovery. NIGMS expects organizations to engage in outreach and recruitment activities to encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to participate in the program (for examples of groups that are underrepresented, see the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity).

Training grants offset the cost of stipends, tuition and fees, and training related expenses, including health insurance, for the appointed trainees in accordance with the approved NIH support levels. Training grants are usually awarded for five years and are renewable. Full details are found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) PAR-24-232.

Institutional Eligibility

This program requires strong partnerships between at least two postsecondary educational organizations: one that supports training at the master’s degree level (Master’s-Training Organization), and a separate organization that supports biomedical Ph.D. training (Ph.D.-Training Organization). Eligible organizations for these partnerships include at least one:

  • Master’s-Training Organization:
    • An organization where the highest biomedically-related research degree offered is a master’s degree, OR
    • An organization that is a Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) or a Tribally Controlled Colleges and University (TCCU), including those that offer biomedical Ph.Ds.
  • Ph.D.-Training Organization: An organization that grants its own biomedical Ph.Ds

As the partnership between the Master’s-Training Organization(s) and the Ph.D.-Training Organization(s) is a key component of this program, the application must include a Program Director/Principal Investigator from each participating organization. An organization is not allowed to serve as the applicant organization on more than one Bridges to the Doctorate Research Training Program.

Trainee Eligibility and Participation

The applicant organization will select the trainees to be supported by the research training program. It is the responsibility of the organization to establish the qualifications, consistent with applicable law, of the trainees before they are supported by the program.

The individual to be trained must be a citizen or a noncitizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. Additional details on citizenship, training period, and aggregate duration of support are available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. At the time of appointment, trainees must be enrolled full-time in a master’s program in the biomedical sciences at the master’s-granting partner organization.

All trainees are required to pursue their research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring organization in accordance with its own policies. Students are typically provided full-time support for 2-3 years of graduate studies. Programs typically appoint students in cohorts, such that students at a similar stage of their training are appointed at a similar time, for a similar duration, and complete a comparable set of research training activities. New trainee cohorts are typically appointed in each year of the proposed program. This research training program may not be used to support health-professional students who wish to interrupt their studies for a year or more to engage in research training.

Information for Applicant Institutions

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the NOFO (including Related Notices in the Overview Section), Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and consult NIGMS staff to discuss eligibility and application requirements prior to submission. When submitting an application, it's important to follow all instructions and avoid issues that lead to noncompliance and withdrawal prior to review. NIGMS does not require applications requesting $500,000 or more in direct costs for any year to contact staff to obtain agreement that the IC will accept the application.

Potential applicants for Bridges to the Doctorate should contact Dr. Jeremy McIntyre or ​​​Dr. Sydella Blatch Alexander.​