Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) U-STAR awards provide support for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences to improve their preparation for high-caliber graduate training at the Ph.D. level. Institutions with significant enrollments of college students from underrepresented groups may be eligible to apply.
Awards are made to colleges and universities that offer the baccalaureate degree. Only one grant per eligible institution is awarded. MARC institutions select the trainees to be supported. Trainees must be honors students majoring in the biomedical sciences who have expressed interest in pursuing postgraduate education leading to the Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D. or other combined professional degree-Ph.D. in these fields upon completing their baccalaureate degree. The period of appointment to the MARC U-STAR program is a consecutive 24-month period at the final 2 years of undergraduate training, typically called the junior and senior years. To enhance the MARC trainee pool, MARC institutions should provide various training opportunities (academic and skills development) to motivate and interest pre-trainees to build the entire science student capacity.
Each institution is encouraged to design a program that emphasizes its environment, mission and strengths, and to set measurable goals and specific objectives against which the program will use for self-assessment and evaluation for continual institutional improvement and continued funding. Although variation among programs is expected, all programs must provide trainees with a summer research experience at a research-intensive institution outside the home institution with which the MARC U-STAR program has established either formal or informal linkages. In addition, during the academic year the home institution may either offer research training opportunities such as appropriate infrastructure, research active faculty, etc., that will allow or provide research training courses in the classroom setting (for more details see "Moving Research Into the Classroom"). In addition to annual student stipends, funds may be requested for tuition, fees, health insurance and research supplies for MARC trainees, limited travel for MARC trainees and faculty, and program evaluation. Certain other training-related costs, such as support for pre-MARC student development activities, may be requested.
For more information, see NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, February 24, 2016 (PAR-16-113), or contact Dr. Alison Gammie at 301-594-3900 or Dr. Richard Okita at 301-594-3827.
MARC Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
MARC U-STAR Participating Institutions