Research Fellowship

The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation supports early postdoctoral research training in all basic biomedical sciences.

To attain its ultimate goal of increasing the number of imaginative, well-trained and dedicated medical scientists, the Foundation grants financial support of sufficient duration to help further the careers of young men and women engaged in biological or medical research.

Candidates who hold, or are in the final stages of obtaining a Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent degree and are seeking beginning postdoctoral training in basic biomedical research are eligible to apply for a fellowship. The Foundation accepts applications from candidates who have no more than ONE year of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the deadline for submitting the application (June 17, 2024), and who have received a Ph.D. (or D.Phil. or equivalent) degree no more than TWO years before the deadline, or an M.D. degree no more than THREE years before the deadline.Fellowships may be awarded to US citizens planning to work in laboratories either in the US, Canada, or abroad and also to foreign citizens for research in laboratories in the US only. We expect that most applicants will reside in North America at the time of application. Foreign Students will need to obtain appropriate visa documentation, as required by US Immigration.

Applications from established scientists or advanced fellows will not be considered. The fellowships are for early postdoctoral training only. Clinical house-staff training does not count as “postdoctoral laboratory training.”

The Foundation will not ordinarily consider applicants who plan tenure of the fellowship in the laboratory in which they have already received extensive predoctoral or postdoctoral training. The aim of the fellowship is to broaden postdoctoral training and experience, and a significant change of venue is advisable.

Since the number of available fellowships is limited, the Foundation does not make more than one award per year for training with a given supervisor. It also does not support more than two fellows per laboratory at one time.

The SAC will review no more than one application from a laboratory during each annual cycle. We will accept applications from different laboratories/supervisors at the same institution. Should we receive more than one, the Chair of the SAC will decide which of the applications appears most competitive and decline the other(s) administratively. We urge the heads of laboratories to make this choice for us, if at all possible.

The Foundation expects that fellowship training will be obtained in an academic setting. The selection of a commercial or industrial laboratory for the training experience is not acceptable.

In addition to considering the research plan and recommendations presented in each application, the Scientific Advisory Committee must give weight to the many intangibles involved, including interpretation of the Foundation’s objectives. The following procedure is designed to be fair and to take into account the number of applications received in relation to the number of fellowships that can be awarded.The initial step is the screening begun by the Scientific Advisory Committee as soon as all applications have been received. In this screening, the Committee selects those candidates whose applications merit a personal interview with a Committee member. Each applicant so selected is then assigned to a member of the Committee, who completes arrangements for the interview in October. Interview travel expenses from points in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are paid by the Foundation. US citizens residing abroad who are approved for an interview will be reimbursed for travel to the interview, up to an amount comparable to the transcontinental domestic airfares reimbursed for other candidates. All applicants will be advised by email of their status (declined or approved for interview) by early-mid October.

All personal interview reports and applications are reviewed in context with each other at a full Scientific Advisory Committee meeting in November, and it is at this meeting that those interviewed candidates are selected to be recommended for approval by the Board of Trustees. All interviewed applicants are notified of the Committee’s decisions by mid-November.

As the last step in the procedure, the Board of Trustees votes to approve the fellowship awards, in order of priority, up to the availability of funds.

The Whitney Fellowship is for a period of three years, contingent on performance satisfactory to the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee. One and two-year fellowships are not considered.

You may activate your fellowship anytime from April 1, through September 1, 2025.

The Foundation provides funds for travel to the fellowship location at the time of activation of the fellowship for the Fellow and his or her family. No payment is made for the transportation of household goods. The Foundation also covers travel expenses incurred for the two-day Annual Fellows Meetings held in November. Travel expenses will be reimbursed directly to the Fellow, upon submission of expense receipts. These reimbursements are in addition to the annual stipend and research allowance.

The current stipend and expense allowance is:

  Stipend   Research
1st year
2nd year
3rd year   $74,000

There is a research allowance of $1,500 remitted annually to the host institution. It is to be used at the discretion of the Fellow with no deductions for institutional overhead, registration fees, or taxes. This money is to be used for research expenses, such as lab supplies, computers, etc. If the Fellow wishes, this money may be used, in part or entirely, to help defray the cost of the Fellow’s health insurance premiums. The Fellow determines how this research allowance will be spent. Payment of the research allowance will be made on the fellowship activation date, and annually thereafter.

There is a Dependent Child Allowance of $1,500 per annum for each child. There is no allowance for a spouse. If a fellowship is awarded and the Fellow advises us that he or she is eligible for the Dependent Child Allowance, we will then request a copy of the birth or adoption certificate(s). Payment of the child allowance will be made on the fellowship activation date, and annually thereafter.

Depending on the activation date of the fellowship, stipend payments are made semi-annually by the Foundation to the administering institution. Fellows in training abroad will receive quarterly stipend payments directly.

Supplementation of the stipend is permitted. It is not acceptable, however, to hold concurrently a full fellowship from another source. Non-research activities, such as teaching, must not occupy more than 10% of the Fellow’s time.

A two-day Annual Meeting of Fellows is held in November of each year, at which each third-year Fellow presents the results of his or her research. This meeting is an important component of the Fellowship Program because of the opportunity it provides the Fellows for scientific interchange and exposure to biomedical fields other than their own. Attendance at the meeting in its entirety is expected as a condition of acceptance of the fellowship.

Competition for the Helen Hay Whitney fellowships is intense. Less than 5% of those who apply to us receive awards. Please note that because of the volume of applications received, the Foundation is unable to provide critiques of unsuccessful proposals.

Applications are to be filled out and submitted online at Applications must be received by The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation no later than 5:00pm EST, June 17, 2024. Late applications will not be considered.
Click Here To Apply Online

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