Postdoctoral Fellowships

Female postdoctoral fellow wearing glasses and gloves pipetting samples into a tube for polymerase chain reaction analysis. Courtesy Unsplash


Faith Harrow Plante, Ph.D.
Director of Office of Research Training and Career Development


The Postdoctoral Fellowship program is a major component of the NINDS training mission. The program provides superb, advanced training and research experiences to postdoctoral scientists who are in the early stages of their professional research careers. The emphasis of the program is to prepare young scientists for independent careers in basic or clinical neuroscience research. 

Key Features of the Program

  • An opportunity to network and exchange ideas with other NIH fellows and investigators.
  • Mentorship from leading neuroscience investigators
  • Access to cutting-edge technologies that enable innovative approaches to clinical and basic science research.
  • Membership in a Monday Neuroscience Seminar Series that provides exposure to the most innovative research being conducted throughout the world.
  • Participation in Special Interests Groups that catalyze interactions between scientists in different areas.
  • Guidance and support in fellowship/grant application processes.
  • Option to participate in, or teach, graduate level courses offered by The Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) for NIH postdoctoral fellows.
  • Access to programs provided by the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education, which maintains an informative website that covers many general issues pertinent to postdoctoral training at the NIH.
  • NINDS commitment to the financial support of postdoctoral fellows, during training in the Intramural Program and the early years of their independent research careers.
  • Access to funding mechanisms and awards, including the NINDS Competitive Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.


To be eligible for postdoctoral training in the NIH Intramural Research Program, individuals must hold a doctoral degree (PhD, MD, DDS, or the equivalent) and have no more than five years of relevant research experience since receipt of their most recent doctoral degree.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents are appointed to Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Awards (IRTAs); citizens of other nations are appointed as Visiting Fellows.

Application Process

If you would like to apply for a postdoctoral position at the NINDS, please either:

On the recommendation of Principal Investigators, the NINDS intramural program directly funds postdoctoral training through several different mechanisms. For postdoctoral fellows in the initial stages of training (less than 5 years postgraduate), the Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) and Visiting Fellow (VF) fellowships are available for U.S. citizens and foreign scientists, respectively. More senior postdoctoral fellows that have demonstrated outstanding scholastic and research achievement can be supported as Research Fellows.

For more information about applying to postdoctoral positions at the NIH, please refer to the OITE website. For specific questions, contact the NINDS Director of Training, Dr. Faith Harrow Plante

Meet a Program Trainee

Photo of Paul Kramer, Health Disparities in Tribal Communities Summer Internship Program (HDTC-SIP) Trainee
 Paul Kramer, Ph.D.
Mentor: Zayd Khaliq, Ph.D.

Paul Kramer, Ph.D.
Mentor: Zayd Khaliq, Ph.D.
Project: Examining the physiology of dopamine neuron axons in integrating local circuit information and modulating neurotransmitter release

Postdoctoral training provides some of the most focused, directed, and productive research time of one’s scientific career. I knew after finishing my doctorate that I wanted to do a postdoc in a scientifically rigorous environment. I chose NINDS primarily to work with Dr. Zayd Khaliq, whose research I found exciting and motivating. NINDS also offered numerous advantages that interested me, such as an active training and education office with various career and professional development services, many teaching opportunities, and guaranteed funding throughout my intramural research training fellowship. I am currently applying to faculty positions this year and hope to soon start the Kramer lab, combining teaching and research to better understand the nervous system.