NIH Visiting Program: Types of Awards

Visiting Fellow
Visiting Scientist

Visiting Fellow

The Visiting Fellow award provides foreign national scientists with opportunities for developmental training and practical research experience in a variety of disciplines related to biomedical research, medical library research and related fields. There are two types of Visiting Fellows:

  1. Postdoctoral Visiting Fellows – Candidates must have a doctoral degree or equivalent in the biomedical sciences and five years or fewer of relevant postdoctoral research experience at the start of the fellowship period.
  2. Pre-doctoral Visiting Fellows – Candidates enrolled in a doctoral degree program for whom the research experience is undertaken as an integral part towards completion of degree requirements.

A full description of the Visiting Fellow program, including eligibility requirements, can be found at the NIH policy manual for the Intramural Visiting Fellow Program (VFP). Current Fellowship opportunities are available under the “How to Apply” tab.

Visiting Fellows receive a monthly stipend during the award period to cover living expenses. The stipend level is determined by the number of years of relevant postdoctoral research experience. Visiting Fellows are not considered employees of the NIH. U.S. citizens are not eligible for the Visiting Fellow award.*

Visiting Fellow awards generally are made for two years, although a minimum one-year award is an option. Fellowships are renewable in one or two-year increments up to five years. Renewals are based on merit and are subject to approval by the hosting Institute/Center. All renewals are contingent upon applicable U.S. immigration rules and regulations.

* U.S. citizens and permanent residents (“green card” holders) should apply for an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) or, if with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), for a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA).

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Visiting Scientist

Visiting Scientists are foreign national scientists appointed to Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to conduct biomedical research. They are considered NIH employees, receive a salary and, depending on the length of appointment, receive most of the benefits available to employees of the U.S. Government. They are appointed via a special hiring authority referred to as “Title 42.”

Dependent upon the amount of relevant postdoctoral research experience, the NIH Institute/Center will appoint the foreign national scientist to a particular FTE designation such as:
• Research Fellow (VP)
• Clinical Fellow (VP)
• Staff Scientist (VP)
• Staff Clinician (VP)
• Investigator (VP)
• Senior Investigator (VP)

A full description of the Title 42 program, including eligibility requirements, can be found on the NIH Office of Human Resources (OHR) website. Current FTE opportunities are available under the “How to Apply” tab.

Visiting Scientist appointments generally are made for up to two years, but may be made for a shorter period. Renewals are based on merit and are subject to approval by the employing Institute/Center. All renewals are contingent upon applicable U.S. immigration rules and regulations.

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