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Postdoctoral Award

Support the mentored training of postdoctoral level investigators with clear and direct commitment to and potential for contributing to the advancement of one or more stated TRDRP research priorities.

All applications must address one or more of our nine research priorities and must be tobacco-related.

Maximum stipend amount per year: Up to $60,000

Maximum duration: 3 consecutive years

Allowable direct costs include: Stipend, tuition & fees, institution allowance, publishing, and travel to TRDRP conference

  • Stipend: Postdoctoral stipend must adhere to NIH experience scale or the rates set by their institution with institutional documentation of the alternate payment scale
  • Tuition and Fees: Postdoctoral Trainees will be provided 60% of tuition and fee costs, up to $16,000 per year. If funded, TRDRP will request documentation of the institution’s tuition and fees structure.
  • Institution Allowance: The applicant may request an institutional allowance to help defray the cost of expenses such as health insurance, medical liability or other special insurance, research supplies, equipment, books and travel to scientific meetings. These costs will be covered up to $8,850 per year. The institutional allowance is a fixed amount and the institution is not required to account for these expenses on an actual cost basis.
  • Travel to TRDRP Conference: All applicants should budget a separate one-time $750 expense under year 1 for "Travel - RGPO Meeting" to attend the TRDRP conference.  This $750 expense is not part of the institution allowance.

Indirect Costs: Not allowed

A Note on Stipends and Employee Benefits:

Since TRDRP Postdoctoral Awards are not provided as a condition of employment with either TRDRP or the sponsoring institution, institutions may not seek funds, or charge individual awards, for costs that normally would be associated with employee benefits (FICA, workman’s compensation, life insurance, union dues, and unemployment insurance).


  • A minimum 75 percent time commitment on the part of the postdoctoral trainee is required
  • The candidate must be recognized by the applicant institution as a postdoctoral trainee no later than the award start date. 
  • The application must be prepared and submitted by the trainee and must outline an original research project (distinct from the project of a mentor, whether funded by TRDRP or another source). Feedback on the application by mentors or others is highly recommended.
  • A letter of support from the mentor and a minimum of two additional references are required. Letters should address the candidate’s training, potential and the commitment of the mentor and the department to the candidate’s career development. In addition, the mentor must provide their biosketch and a detailed mentoring plan that is prepared in consultation with the applicant.
  • The mentoring plan should be unique to the applicant and tailored to address the specific needs of the applicant.

  • U.S. citizenship is not a requirement

Review criteria:

Criteria-1 (50 percent scoring weight)

  • Qualifications of the applicant: Does the applicant present a strong academic background and research training? What is the potential for the applicant to become a successful independent researcher with a commitment to the field of tobacco-related research or any of the stated TRDRP research priorities?
  • Training plan: Does the proposed mentoring plan include effective ancillary activities that will enhance the training of the applicant as an independent researcher? Are additional experiences planned that will supplement the trainee’s knowledge of their research field? Are there any didactic or interactive activities planned for increasing the trainee’s knowledge base in tobacco research and tobacco control or any of the stated TRDRP research priorities?

Criteria-2 (25 percent scoring weight)

  • Mentor’s qualifications and commitment: Based on the advisor and the department, as demonstrated by the mentor’s biosketch, letters of support and training plan, the quality of the training resources and environment.
  • Environment: Does the institutional environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support and commitment?
  • Community engagement and communication plan: Does the trainee propose a sound approach to engaging communities affected by tobacco use in either a collaborative partnership or by proactively informing about the nature and significance of the research and research outcomes? To what extent does the dissemination of relevant results go beyond the research community and include channels and tools targeting clinicians, public health practitioners, advocates, policymakers and the general public?

Criteria-3 (25 percent scoring weight)

  • Research plan: Are the conceptual framework, design (including composition of study population and strength of recruitment plan), methods and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated and appropriate to the aims of the project? Has the applicant adequately considered whether the sex of an animal model or human subject should be considered a biological variable in designing their experiments? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative strategies? Will the proposed research training experience significantly contribute to the development of the candidate’s career potential as a researcher in the proposed area?
  • Tobacco-relatedness: To what extent does the application focus on tobacco prevention, treatment, regulation, or tobacco-related disease?

Other considerations:

  • Protection of human subjects from research risk: If human subjects are involved, protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed.
  • Inclusion of women, minorities and children in research: If human subjects are involved, the adequacy of plans to include subjects of both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups) and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects also will be evaluated.
  • Care and use of vertebrate animals in research: If vertebrate animals are involved in the project, plans for their care and use will be assessed.