NRC Research Associateship Grant Program

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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Next deadline: Nov 1, 2023 2:00pm PDT

Later deadlines: Feb 1, 2024 2:00pm PST, May 1, 2024 2:00pm PDT, Aug 1, 2024 2:00pm PDT, Nov 1, 2024 2:00pm PDT

Grant amount: US $30,000 - US $80,000

Fields of work: Engineering Science Computer Science & Engineering Health & Medicine

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher, Unaffiliated Researcher, Government Entity, Working Professional, PhD Student

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Degree requirements: Applicants must have a completed PhD

990 Snapshot



The NRC Research Associateship Programs (RAP) promote excellence in scientific and technological research conducted by the U.S. government through the administration of programs offering graduate, postdoctoral, and senior level research opportunities at sponsoring federal laboratories and affiliated institutions.

In the NRC Research Associateship Programs, prospective applicants select a research project or projects from among a large group of Research Opportunities available. Identify Research Opportunities you wish to pursue by visiting any of the sponsoring agency pages or using the general search function to find Research Opportunity(ies). 

NOTE: Prior to completing an application, prospective applicants should contact the Research Adviser listed with the selected Research Opportunity(ies) to assure that funding will be available if the application is recommended by NRC Research Associateship Programs panels.

While every effort has been made to provide opportunities of ample scope and relevance, the publication of any opportunity on the RAP website does not guarantee that it will be available at the time awards are offered. The number of awards will be determined based on the funding available from the sponsoring federal laboratory and with concurrence of the sponsoring laboratory.

The NRC Research Associateship Programs (RAP) are prestigious postdoctoral and senior research awards designed to provide promising scientists and engineers with high-quality research opportunities at federal laboratories and affiliated institutions. These programs offer a comprehensive experience, including mentorship, access to state-of-the-art facilities, and opportunities to influence government policy, all geared toward enhancing the research career development of the Research Associates.


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Fellowships Office has conducted the NRC Research Associateship Programs in cooperation with sponsoring federal laboratories and other research organizations since 1954. NRC Research Associateships are awarded to exceptionally talented postdoctoral and senior scientists and engineers through a rigorous selection process. These selected individuals are granted tenure as guest researchers at participating laboratories, highlighting their outstanding contributions and potential in their respective fields.

The NRC Research Associateship Programs aim to:

  • Offer uniquely promising postdoctoral and senior scientists/engineers the chance to pursue self-directed research that aligns with the goals of the sponsoring laboratories.
  • Enhance the comprehensive research efforts of these laboratories.
  • Provide recent doctoral graduates with a platform to conduct focused research in collaboration with select members of the permanent professional laboratory staff.
  • Foster the professional growth of Associates by providing opportunities to gain skills, experience, and connections through collaboration with leading scientists, enhancing their future career prospects in academia, industry, or government research roles.

Award Details


NRC Research Associates receive a stipend while carrying out their proposed research. Stipends vary by sponsoring agency and location and can be found by within the details of the Research Opportunity listing.

Awards for applicants to NIST are made directly by NIST, and NRC Research Associates at NIST are hired for two-year term appointments.


NRC Research Associates are required to be enrolled in a health insurance plan throughout the length of their tenure. A group health insurance program, which provides coverage for major medical expenses, is available to Research Associates and their qualifying dependents in the United States. The cost of this program is shared by the Research Associate and the sponsoring agency.

All exchange visitors and their dependent families are required by the U.S. Department of State to carry health insurance while they are in the United States. 

Relocation Assistance

Research Associates who reside more than 50 miles and who will be on tenure for at least six months are eligible for paid relocation within the vicinity of their host laboratory.

Travel Allowance

Every NRC Research Associate is granted an annual travel allowance to help offset expenses associated with attending conferences, meetings, training events, or conducting field work. The exact allowance varies by sponsoring agency and can be found within the specifics of each Research Opportunity. 

Please refer to FAQ for additional guidelines.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender identity, or national origin.
  • Education and Experience 
    • Applicants must have earned a Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D., D.V.M., or academically equivalent research doctorate before beginning tenure. 
    • The Fellowships Office makes NRC Research Associateship awards at the postdoctoral and senior researcher levels. 
      • Postdoctoral Associateships:
        • Applicants must have held the doctorate for less than five years as of the application deadline.
      • Senior Associateships::
        • Applicants are required to either have held a doctorate for at least five years by the application deadline or to have a permanent appointment in academia, government, or industry, complemented by research experience that has led to significant contributions and recognition as established investigators in their specific fields.
        • To ascertain if senior applicants are accepted, applicants are advised to review the specifics of the agency to which they are applying. 
  • Current or prior affiliation that is generally acceptable includes:
    • Research performed in collaboration with scientists at the sponsoring federal agency/laboratory as a student, postdoc, or faculty member unless the proposed research involves continuation of work with the same Research Adviser or on the same or similar project. 
    • Participation in the NIST Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) unless the proposed research involves continuation of the same project.   
  • Citizenship and Immigration Status 
    • Citizenship requirements for the NRC Research Associateship Programs vary depending on the sponsoring federal laboratory. Applicants should refer to the citizenship requirements of the agency to which they are applying and to the Visa Options for International Associates
  • Security Review/Security Clearance
    • Depending on the agency, an award may be contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a National Agency Check (NAC) or other clearance processes.
      •  If the investigation yields unsatisfactory results, it will lead to the withdrawal of the Associateship award offer.
    • Laboratories that accept applications from foreign nationals may necessitate a prior U.S. residency of up to three years as part of their clearance processes.
      • Foreign nationals are advised to discuss security requirements with their prospective Research Adviser and/or agency program manager. 


  • Current or Prior Affiliation with the Laboratory
    • Individuals with current or recent prior affiliation with the sponsoring agency they wish to apply to may not be eligible.
    • Disqualifying current or prior affiliation includes:
      • Direct employment relationships either with the agency or with a contractor whose work is performed at the agency
      • Current or previous postdoctoral fellowships sponsored by or conducted at the sponsoring federal agency/laboratory  


This page was last reviewed September 24, 2023 and last updated September 07, 2023