Glossary of Acronyms and Terms
Academic-IRTA - An academic training position for U.S. Citizens or U.S. Legal Permanent Residents who have been accepted into a master’s degree program at U.S. institutions
ADRD - Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
CARD - Center for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (NIA and NINDS are both part of CARD at the NIH)
FAES - Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences
FTE - Full-time Employee
GS - General Schedule, the predominant pay scale for Federal employees
IC - Separate "Institutes and Centers" at the NIH
IRTA - Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA is an NIH hiring mechanism for postdoctoral, pre-doctoral, post-baccalaureate, technical, and student IPDS [Intramural Professional Designations]). The IRTA Fellowship program is designed to provide advanced training and practical research experiences to investigators early in their professional research careers. IRTA Traineeships are established for the principal benefit of the participant and to provide opportunities for developmental training and practical research experience in a variety of disciplines related to biomedical research, medical library research, and related fields).
MPS - Masters of Professional Studies
NIA - National Institute on Aging (at the NIH)
NIH - National Institutes of Health
NINDS - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (at the NIH)
OIR - Office of Intramural Research (at the NIH)
OITE - Office of Intramural Training and Education (at the NIH)
UMBC - University of Maryland, Baltimore County (different from UMB which is the University of Maryland Baltimore in Baltimore City)
Three application cohorts will be administered over the course of 3 years. Each cohort will begin with the fall semester (Cohort I - Fall 2022, Cohort II - Fall 2023, Cohort III - Fall 2024) and each cohort will last for 2 years.
Each of the 3 cohorts will last for 2 years.
Up to 4 qualifying applicants will be selected for each of the 3 cohorts (up to 12 awards for the entire program).
CARD covers all costs of the fellowship (except for books). Selected trainees will also receive an Academic-IRTA stipend according to the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) at levels found here: https://www.training.nih.gov/student_irta_stipend_levels
This program is designed for trainees to work full time at CARD during the 2 years of study as the MPS will be the necessary training the student will receive to be able to conduct research in data analysis. Full time means at least 8 hours/day, Monday-Friday. Courses will be taken in a virtual manner enabling trainees to take them from the NIH. Selected trainees will receive an Academic-IRTA stipend according to the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) levels found here: https://www.training.nih.gov/student_irta_stipend_levels
The expectation is that trainees will be able to complete their coursework within their 2-year cohort.
Consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis for trainees to take a brief break due to extenuating circumstances such as illness.
Data science, genetics, computer science, neuroscience.
Introductory courses to general coding skills, including python and R, machine learning, etc.
Previous training or achievements in the data science field will be evaluated positively. It is important to show passion for data science and specific motivation for research in ADRD.
The MPS fellowship would help if an individual is a research nurse interested in applying data science as part of their research job.
No. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Legal Permanent Resident. Refer to the below list of required identity and IRTA eligibility documents:
- United States Passport (Current or Expired)
- Certificate of United States Citizenship
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Lawful Permanent Resident Card (green card) with photograph
- A State-issued driver’s license or I.D. card with a photograph, or information including name, sex, date of birth, height, weight (if on license), and color of eyes AND birth certificate
- School ID card with photograph AND birth certificate
- U.S. Military Card AND birth certificate
- Other Officially issued identifying document that provides proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status may be acceptable at the discretion of the IC designated program administrative official
International students will not be able to take advantage of this particular opportunity due to Academic-IRTA restrictions at NIH. However, if you are interested in the work that we do, please reach out to us for additional information at NIACARDContact@mail.nih.gov.
Potential candidates will need to have their green card at the time of applying for the fellowship program.
If you have applied to UMBC and did not get accepted you are not eligible for the fellowship. If you have applied and you are waiting to hear from UMBC you are eligible for the fellowship. If you have been accepted by UMBC for this coming semester and the classes have not started yet you can still apply for the fellowship.
If you have taken classes at FAES you will be able to apply for the fellowship program but we will not pay retroactively the courses that have been taken nor will you be able to transfer them or apply previous FAES coursework toward the fellowship.
If you work at the NIH in an institute different from CARD, you are still eligible for the program but will need to resign your current position to work at CARD.
Yes, but you would need to resign your current postbac position and join as an Academic-IRTA at CARD.
An active NIH postdoc cannot participate in this program as a postdoc, but an active NIH postdoc may resign their postdoc and transition to an Academic-IRTA and receive the Academic-IRTA stipend. However, once a person is an NIH postdoc for any period of time, they must be in accordance with the 5-year rule, and the clock never restarts for postdocs, even if transitioning to another IRTA appointment type. Therefore, a current NIH postdoc could only hypothetically switch to an Academic-IRTA and do this program if 2 years remain on their IRTA clock.
Yes, if the individual has a statistics or mathematical background. It is also recommended when applying to the fellowship to include a strong statement explaining why you want to become a data scientist.
MPS degree application requirements:
- Bachelor's degree in any subject with a GPA of 3.0 or higher; preferably in computation or biomedical field
- Applicants must have completed at least one college-level math, statistics, or programming course. This requirement can be substituted for equivalent professional experience or through online training academies.
Yes, if the applicant is passionate about data science and willing to learn.
Please visit the FAES fellowship portal at https://faes.org/CARD-FAES-UMBC_Fellowship for a detailed list of courses by semester.
No. The intention of this program is not to do so.
There is no minimum number of credits to take per semester but the schedule outlined on the FAES fellowship portal should be followed (https://faes.org/CARD-FAES-UMBC_Fellowship).
The MPS = 30 credits of which 15 will be from UMBC and 16 from FAES, since there are no 1 credit courses eligible for transfer to this program or 3 credit courses at FAES.
Students will need to graduate with a GPA = 3.0 or above.
A course can be repeated only once.
Trainees will have the chance to retake a failed course one time.
According to UMBC Academic Policy, a course can only be repeated one time.
If you did not complete a course with a B grade or better, you will have to take it again the following semester.
Deviations from the established coursework will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
Training at CARD and Career Outcomes
Trainees will be working full time during the 2 years by applying acquired knowledge to research projects. Full time means at least 8 hours/day, Monday-Friday. All courses will be offered in a virtual manner enabling trainees to take them from the NIH.
Yes, this is a research-intensive program. Trainees will apply the acquired knowledge in data science to research projects in the ADRD space and on a daily basis. There is no “lab” work but computer related research.
No. Trainees will work as full-time employees at CARD.
During year 1, trainees will have the chance to shadow different data scientists and explore ongoing research projects at CARD. Trainees will have flexibility to conduct research on the projects they might find more interesting and come up with new ideas.
Selected trainees will have a data science mentor at CARD. Meetings with the assigned mentor will happen weekly. In addition, selected trainees will attend bi-weekly meetings to discuss science with the whole data science group and will join Basecamp to communicate with other trainees to solve data science issues on a daily basis.
- Complete MPS course work and pass courses
- Full-time research implementing acquired training at CARD
- Bi-weekly meetings with your team
- Weekly meetings with your mentor
- Capstone research project relevant to CARD work in addition to other research responsibilities
Also refer to the response regarding the structure of trainee responsibilities.
- The selected trainee will take an average of ~7-8 credits per semester (it is doable, the classes are designed for beginners).
- Then the trainee would be able to apply the acquired knowledge to the projects we conduct at CARD – it is assumed that the selected trainee will start from scratch.
- The trainee would have a virtual mentor and would meet with him/her every week and the CARD team at biweekly meetings.
- The trainee would be connected with the CARD team (and other trainees through BaseCamp).
Yes, as outlined below, there are many data sources and tools that are currently being used to do research at CARD but are subject to change. CARD is growing additional data in house to fill known knowledge gaps! Please check periodically on our website at https://card.nih.gov/data/data-resources.
Large population / cohort scale data
- UK Biobank
- NIA epidemiological cohorts
- Mexican biobank
- Alzheimer’s disease data initiative
Deep molecular data
- Accelerating Medicines Partnerships
CARD aims to retain talent. However, CARD cannot ensure that selected trainees will be hired after finishing the MPS.
One of CARD’s main goals is to train the next generation of scientists in the ADRD space and to retain talent. After the fellowship is completed, a job at CARD is not guaranteed. However, you will be able to build connections for potential future opportunities. You will have the opportunity to know CARD collaborators.
Yes, there are additional opportunities to do research at CARD. Please reach out to NIACARDContact@mail.nih.gov for additional information.