Annual Graduate Student Recruiting Program

The Graduate Student Recruiting Program (GSRP) provides senior level graduate students an introduction to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and an opportunity to explore postdoctoral opportunities within the intramural research program. NCI is committed to training the next generation of scientific leaders, and it is crucial that this reflects the diversity of the population it serves.  We strongly encourage under-represented minorities to submit applications.  Students are selected through a competitive process, where applications are reviewed by NCI investigators, many of whom are seeking to fill open postdoc positions. 

As part of the program, accepted applicants will:

  1. Learn about the training and professional development opportunities that NCI offers
  2. Network with investigators and laboratory personnel to determine if the intramural research program is an ideal fit
  3. Have all travel costs covered by the Center for Cancer Training 


Eligibility Requirements

You must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program in the U.S. and on schedule to complete your Ph.D. degree requirements by December 2019.  If you are attending graduate school on an H1B visa, you can still apply for the program.  However, you must be a permanent resident or on a J1 visa at the time of appointment.

Why Choose the NCI for a Postdoc?

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. The NCI Intramural Research Program (IRP) is comprised of two components: the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG). 

The CCR is composed of over 250 Principal Investigators (PIs) in more than 50 Laboratories, Branches, and Programs. Scientists enjoy intellectual freedom and are expected to creatively and innovatively explore the most important questions in the field of cancer research.

DCEG is world’s most comprehensive cancer epidemiology group. Scientists in DCEG conduct a national and international program of population, family, and laboratory-based studies to elucidate the environmental and genetic determinants of cancer. 

In both IRPs you will find:

  • Extensive professional and career development opportunities
  • State of the art research and equipment
  • A variety of core facilities to assist with your experimental needs
  • Access to additional training, courses, and workshops to facilitate your project goals
  • Fellow-led groups that build a sense of community

For additional information about research at CCR, please visit For additional information about DCEG, please visit

How to Apply

In order to start an application, you must first create an account on the GSRP Application Website. You can upload the required documents in multiple sessions; however, you must complete your application by the application deadline. An application is considered complete only if it has all of the components listed above AND 3 letters of recommendation are received. All candidates will be notified regarding the status of their applications.

On-Site Dates May 7, 2019 – May 8, 2019
Application Cycle Opens December 1, 2018
Application Due Date January 31, 2019
Notification of Decision March 8, 2019


What to Expect

Applications will be screened for eligibility and completeness.  You can monitor the status of your application via the application website. Following your acceptance, you will coordinate your travel arrangements with our office and schedule meetings/interviews with NCI PIs.  A list of projects and opportunities will be posted on the application website to facilitate this process.

During the GSRP at both the Bethesda and Frederick campuses, accepted applicants will attend morning seminars in which they will learn about the science, training, and career development opportunities at NCI and NIH. Seminars are followed by poster sessions, which provide valuable networking opportunities with investigators within the intramural research program.  The rest of the afternoon is spent attending meetings/interviews with PIs to gain insight into potential postdoc positions.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am attending graduate school on a H1B visa.  Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply to the program.  The basic requirement is that you are a student at a US degree granting institution.  However, you should know that you must either be a permanent resident or hold a J1 visa at the time of appointment.

What is the benefit of applying to GSRP?

You get the opportunity to meet the PI and members of the laboratory PRIOR to the official interview.  This provides valuable information about the lab, allowing you to determine it the lab is a good fit before accepting an offer.  In addition, investigators hold the accepted applicants in high esteem, as they are competitively selected for the program. 

Does acceptance into the program guarantee me a position at NCI/NIH?

No, acceptance does not guarantee a position.  However, the chances of receiving an offer are higher than if you were to email investigators yourself to inquire about open positions.

Are the interviews with investigators official job interviews?

Perhaps. The structure of your interview is dependent on you and the PI at the time of scheduling.  Most applicants set up 30-60 minute meetings, where they learn about the PI, lab, and possibly meet lab members.  An official interview is typically a half day, where in addition to speaking with the PI and lab members, you also present a job talk. Roughly 50-70% of the GSRP applicants go on to have official interviews after the program.  Some even receive job offers immediately following or during the visit!

What percentage of accepted applicants get postdoc position at NCI?

Roughly 40-50% of applicants accept postdoc positions.

Contact Information

Questions regarding the NCI Graduate Student Recruiting Program should be directed to the program coordinator:

Program Coordinator
NCI Graduate Student Recruiting Program

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