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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Application Process

Getting Started

Before applying for a fellowship in DCEG, take a look at what our current fellows are doing, and explore the training opportunities in our research areas. 

How to Apply

Fellowship applications are accepted on an ongoing basis for flexible start dates. To apply:

  1. Complete the online Summary Application Form
  2. Submit the following documents to
    • Curriculum vitae (CV) and bibliography
    • Cover letter describing areas of research interest
    • Three letters of recommendation (Note: applicants may send referees' names initially, after which letters will be requested if interviewed. Letters may be sent via e-mail attachment)

Once you submit your summary application form, cover letter, and CV, your summary application will be made available to Division investigators. You can obtain information about the program and access the summary application form on the Become a Fellow page.

NOTE: In order to be approved for logistical and physical access to NIH facilities and systems, candidates must be able to pass a Federal background check, using Standard Form-85 (SF-85). Further: 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.

Approximate Timeline

  • Summary applications are circulated division-wide every 2-4 weeks
  • Investigators review summary applications for up to 2-3 weeks
  • If interested, the investigators will request that your letters of recommendation be sent and that an interview be scheduled.
  • Interviews are typically scheduled approximately 4-6 weeks after the application is circulated. An investigator may arrange to speak to an applicant and/or the referees by phone before determining whether to schedule a full interview.

Interview Process

  • Fellowship candidates may be asked to visit our offices and/or laboratories to meet with investigators. Travel, one-night hotel accommodation, taxis, and meal expenses are covered for out-of-town applicants.
  • Postdoctoral applicants will typically be asked to give a talk (approximately 45 minutes with 15 minutes for discussion) on their current research. Candidates may also meet with individual investigators and current fellows.
  • Decisions to make a fellowship offer are usually made within 2-3 weeks of the interview.

Mentor and Research Topic Selection

  • Explore research interests – A list of current research for all division senior and tenure-track investigators, with a link to contact information, may be found on: Current Research – Principal Investigators. Prospective fellows are encouraged to explore the DCEG web site to learn about research being conducted.
  • Research mentoring – Fellows have a primary mentor in their home branch. Once established, fellows often work with secondary mentors in the branch or throughout the division on other projects of interest, at the discretion of the primary mentor. 


Important resources for relocating to the Washington, DC area:

These publications contain housing, banking, child care resources, and other helpful information. The DCEG Office of Training and Education is happy to assist with any questions you may have about moving to the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.


Telephone: 240-276-7270