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Scholar Selection Process


Interested applicants must meet in person with the Research Director, Dr. Chuang, prior to submission of the application.
BIRCWH Scholar Eligibility
1. Must hold a faculty appointment at the level of Assistant Professor (either tenure-track or non-tenure-track) in the Penn State College of Medicine, College of Health and Human Development, or College of Liberal Arts at the time of appointment as a PSU-BIRCWH scholar.
2. Must have a clinical doctorate or PhD degree or its equivalent.
3. Must have completed any postgraduate training normally expected for a faculty appointment in his or her field (including clinical or postdoctoral fellowship training, or residency if they have chosen not to subspecialize).
4. Must not have been a Principal Investigator on an R01, R29, or subproject of a Program Project (P01), Center (P50, P60, U54) grant, mentored career development (K-series) grant, or other equivalent research grant awards; exceptions are R03 and R21.
5. Must be a U.S. citizen or noncitizen national, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possess an Alien Registration Receipt Card (1-151 or 1-155) or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent citizen; individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
6. Must not have more than 6 years of research training experience beyond the last doctoral degree at the time of his or her application.
7. Must identify at least two Penn State BIRCWH mentors in different disciplines. The mentor team should include at least one member from each campus (Hershey and University Park). A list of Penn State BIRCWH mentors is available on the website. The Primary Mentor must have currently funded research.
Application Submission

The candidate completes the Penn State BIRCWH Scholar Application attesting to their current position and eligibility.  Additional required documents are the candidate's CV; a 3-5 page Statement of Professional Goals and Research Interests, 3 professional references; a signed statement of agreement from the proposed Primary Mentor and the Primary Mentor's CV; and a letter of support from the candidate's Department chair ensuring that 75% effort will be devoted to research and mentored research career development for the duration of the 2- or 3-year appointment as a BIRCWH scholar.  The remaining 25% effort may be devoted to teaching, clinical care, etc.

The application and support documents are submitted to the PSU-BIRCWH Research Director, Dr. Cynthia Chuang.
Review of Applications

After confirming the candidates meet the BIRCWH scholar eligibility criteria, the applications are reviewed by the BIRCWH Advisory Committee.  Any members of the Advisory Committee who are named as a potential primary or secondary mentor for a BIRCWH applicant will recuse themselves from discussion, rating, and voting on the applicant.  The application are evaluated on the following criteria:

1. Quality of the proposed research project related to women's health or sex/gender differences related to health
2. Commitment to interdisciplinary research
3. Capacity to become an independent research investigator within 2-3 years
4. Previous research training and experience
5. Quality of references
6. Appropriateness of the mentoring team (e.g. multidisciplinary, cross-campus, expertise of mentors

The BIRCWH Advisory Committee will evaluate the applications using the Scholar Candidate Evaluation Form.


After the BIRCWH scholars are selected by the BIRCWH Advisory Committee, each BIRCWH scholar is reviewed by the NIH for approval, which typically takes 3-4 weeks.

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