Bridges to the Doctorate Program (T32)

Program Goal & Structure

The goal of the Bridges to the Doctorate Research Training Program is to develop a diverse pool of well-trained biomedical scientists who will transition from master’s degree programs and complete rigorous biomedical, research-focused doctoral degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in biomedical fields relevant to the NIGMS mission. 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 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) PAR-21-198.

Institutional Eligibility

The Bridges to the Doctorate Research Training Program provides support to eligible, domestic institutions to develop and implement effective, evidence-informed approaches to biomedical research training and mentoring that will keep pace with the rapid evolution of the research enterprise. Each Bridges to the Doctorate Research Training Program must consist of a partnership/consortium composed of at least two institutions: an institution that offers the master's degree as the terminal graduate degree in the biomedical sciences, and a research-intensive institution granting Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Two different scenarios are anticipated for the Bridges to the Doctorate institutional partnerships:

  • One applicant institution where the master’s degree is the terminal graduate degree in the biomedical sciences partnering with one or more research-intensive Ph.D. granting institutions, or
  • One research-intensive Ph.D. granting applicant institution partnering with one or more institutions where the master’s degree is the terminal graduate degree in the biomedical sciences.

Research-intensive institutions are those with an average of NIH Research Project Grant (RPG) funding greater than or equal to $7.5 million total costs over the last 3 fiscal years. RPG data are available through NIH RePORTER (see additional guidance here [PDF]).

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

Trainee Eligibility and Participation

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 institution.

All trainees are required to pursue their research training full time, normally defined as 40 hours per week, or as specified by the sponsoring institution in accordance with its own policies. Trainees are typically provided full-time support for up to two years of graduate studies.

Information for Applicant Institutions

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the FOA (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. 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. Bob Coyne.