Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) (R25)

Program Goal & Struc​ture

The goal of The Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) is to develop a diverse pool of well-trained postbaccalaureates who will transition into 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. The Research Education grant provides support for personnel costs (e.g., salary support of Principal Investigator(s) and a program coordinator), participant costs (i.e., remuneration for PREP scholars through salary and wages, and participant travel), and other program related expenses (e.g., consultant costs, equipment, supplies). Full details are found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) PAR-22-220.

Institutional Eligibility

PREP 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. This program is limited to applications from training programs at research-intensive institutions (i.e., 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) that have strong biomedical Ph.D. degree programs in NIGMS mission areas. RPG data are available through NIH RePORTER (see additional guidance here [PDF]). Only one PREP application per institution is allowed.

Participant Eligibility and Participation

The applicant institution will select the PREP participants who will receive salary support. It is the responsibility of the institution to establish the qualifications of the participants before they are supported by the program. ​​In order to receive salary support, the participant 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. Additionally, participants must have a baccalaureate degree in a biomedically relevant science from an accredited college or university awarded no more than 36 months prior to applying to a PREP, and must not be currently enrolled in a degree program. Parental, medical, or other well-justified leave for personal or family situations is not included in the 3-year eligibility limit, nor is national service (e.g., Peace Corps, or service in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserves). All individuals selected as participants should intend to apply to research-focused biomedical doctoral degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D.) during or immediately following completion of the research education program.

PREP participants work as research postbaccalaureates at 9 person-months (75% full-time) effort, with the other 3 person-months (25% full-time effort) devoted to further skills development. The academic preparations may include courses, workshops, seminars, supplemental instruction, or lectures that will enhance the technical, operational, and professional skills of the participants. The courses taken should be appropriate to the requirements for admission to, and successful completion of rigorous biomedical research-focused doctoral degree programs. It is the expectation that most PREP participants will transition to a rigorous biomedical, research-focused doctoral degree program following a one-year postbaccalaureate experience. PREP programs are not intended to prepare participants for medical degrees.

Information for Students or Recent Graduates

Please follow the Information for Students or Recent Graduates link for more information. NIGMS staff are not involved in PREP program admissions - your questions are likely best answered by Program Directors at PREP Institutions across the country. Additionally, a map and websites of active PREP program can be found here.

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 (see examples of common mistakes in NIGMS Institutional Training applications, also relevant to PREP). The total direct costs for each award are limited to $400,000 annually.

Potential applicants for PREP grants (new or renewal) should contact Dr. Laurie Stepanek or Dr. Lameese Akacem.​