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Important Dates


Application cycle opens


Application deadline


Reference letter deadline

May 19, 2021
All applicants are notified of their status

July 6, 2021
2021 NCF term begins

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following qualifications to be considered eligible for the NCF:

  • US Citizen or US permanent resident (Alien Registration number is required for US permanent residents)
  • Currently enrolled in, or a recent graduate of, graduate school. If a recent graduate, graduate degree must have been awarded no more than two years prior to application deadline
  • Current or final (if recent graduate) cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Communications experience/education. Some science writing, public health, or health communications experience is encouraged but not required
  • NOTE: In order to be approved for logical and physical access to NIH facilities and systems, candidates must be able to pass a Federal background check, using Standard Form-85 (read SF-85). Note: Section 14 of the form asks, “In the last year, have you used, possessed, supplied, or manufactured illegal drugs?” The question pertains to the illegal use of drugs or controlled substances in accordance with Federal laws, even though permissible under state laws.

Application Process

Applications are due by midnight EST on

In your application you will be asked to provide the following:

  • A current resume/CV
  • Three work samples
  • Unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Official transcripts are not required.
  • A Personal Statement that addresses:
    • Why you are interested in the NCF
    • Your career aspirations
    • Your teamwork experience(s)
    • Why you should be selected for the NCF
  • A Diversity Statement explaining how your participation would further the goal of the NCF to encourage diversity in NCI's workforce, consistent with NIH's Notice of Interest and Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031). NCI encourages individuals from underrepresented populations and disadvantaged backgrounds to apply.
  • Name and contact information of two references able to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Your references will receive an electronic request to submit a letter of recommendation. They will not receive this request until your application has been submitted. They can prepare the letter in advance if they wish and then copy and paste it into the web form provided in the reference request email.

We take reasonable precautions to maintain the security, confidentiality, and integrity of the information submitted in your application. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact NCF-Contact@mail.nih.gov.

Selection Process

The selection process takes six to eight weeks from the application deadline.

  • The NCF reviews applications to ensure eligibility requirements are met.
  • A selection committee will evaluate and select eligible applications on the following basis:
    • Personal and Diversity Statements
    • Relevant experience
    • Two letters of reference
  • The NCF makes available all eligible applications to the NCI program offices seeking to host a Fellow.
  • Program offices review applications and contact applicants whose interests and background fit the needs of the office. Program offices conduct telephone interviews with applicants.
  • Program offices submit names of applicants who they are interested in hiring to the NCF.
  • Applicants are notified via email of the selection decision.
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