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URMC / Education / Graduate Education / URBest Blog / October 2018 / Consider a Postdoctoral Fellowship in a Federal Laboratory: Consider NRC RAP

Consider a Postdoctoral Fellowship in a Federal Laboratory: Consider NRC RAP

Career Story Plus by Christopher Kovacs, PhD Candidate

Thinking about life post-graduate studies can be a daunting exercise in self humility – most of us know what we want to do; but the specific where, when and how to get there often forces the topic out of mind only to be replaced by doubt.   That was certainly my own disposition until very recently.  Thankfully, I learned about a tremendous postdoctoral fellowship opportunity that appealed to my own future aspirations and I am happy to be able to share my experience in hopes that someone else can similarly benefit from it.

The National Academies of Sciences sponsors a competitive fellowship called the NRC Research Associateship Program (NRC RAP), allowing recent PhD graduates the opportunity to pursue research in well-funded, well-equipped federal laboratories. Twenty-four government agencies participate in this program, including Department of Defense, Department of Energy, EPA and others.   Currently, 1,874 individual research opportunities are available to choose from.  Some restrictions do exist, most notably U.S. citizenship – however, over 700 projects are available to permanent residents, and nearly 400 to non-citizens.   

Besides great research, the NRC RAP offers generous benefits to awardees.  The program is designed to train scientists for careers in the government sector (it helps if you have interest in working in government, but is certainly not required), with proper training and career development as a strong point emphasis.   Compensation is also great, with salaries ranging from $45,000 - $80,000 (depending on agency), plus most agencies offer additional funds to support research and for travel. 

If any of this sounds intriguing, I invite you to attend an informal discussion about general information regarding the NRC RAP from my perspective.  I’ll be happy to discuss identifying a project(s) of interest and initiating conversation with potential research advisors, the application process, as well as my limited understanding of the review process and steps after award notice – or any other questions you might have!  Please join me on October 2nd at 12pm in the Combined Northeastern Room (1-9525 & 1-9535).  Until then, have fun looking into your own future postdoctoral options: NRC RAP Participating Agencies List (click on an agency name for general and stipend information, then click on “Opportunities List” in left panel for full list of projects under that agency).

Tracey Baas | 9/25/2018

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