Duke SCI-StARR Scholar Application (R38)

In the summer of 2018, Duke was awarded two R38: Stimulating Access to Research in Residency grants from the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).  These programs are led by Sallie Permar, MD, PhD (Pediatrics) , Scott Palmer, MD (Medicine), and David Harpole, MD (Surgery) and include a four-year residency with 18-months of research.  Up to six residents will be selected from the Departments of Pediatrics, Surgery and Medicine to participate in this program each years.  Residents who wish to pursue this pathway can apply to the program during their intern year.  Residents in the pathway will have a primary research mentor and a scholarship oversight committee that will meet at least twice per year to help residents create an individualized career development plan, including submission for an external individual career development award (NRSA F32 or K38/StARRTs).


Program Information:

  • The Duke SCI-StARR pathway (Science Clinician Investigator - Stimulating Access to Research in Residency) supports protected time for research for residents in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Surgery, who are committed to a career as a physician investigator in academic medicine.
  • These opportunities are supported by two active R38 StARR awards, to Duke University School of Medicine, one from NHLBI and one from NIAID.
  • All Residents in the R38 SCI-StARR program will have a primary research mentor in either laboratory-based basic science research or clinical research.  In addition, a Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) will meet with each resident in the program at least twice per year and help the trainee create an individualized development plan. 


  Each Duke SCI-StARR resident will establish a track record of scholarly activities, including:

  •  Submission of an application for an external individual career development award (NRSA F32 or K38/StARRTs)
  • Participation in scientific meetings
  • Submission of research manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals

Program benefits include:

  • Enhanced physician scientist career mentorship opportunities from the primary research mentor, the Scholarship Oversight Committee, and the R38 program directors.
  • An opportunity to apply for a technician or research assistant to help residents continue conducting research after they return to clinical training
  • Increased attractiveness for subspecialty fellowship programs
  • Funds to support conference travel and research needs
  • Eligibility to apply for NIH early career award (K38 Stimulating Access to Research in Residency Transition Scholar)
  • Eligibility to apply for shortened subspecialty fellowship training time, based on approval by their specialty board

Application Materials:

  • A 1-page personal statement describing the applicant’s intended scientific career trajectory
  • An NIH-style biosketch
  • A 1-2 page scientific proposal, formatted as an NIH-style specific aims page, describing a core research project to be completed during the training period
  • A letter of support from a Duke faculty member who has agreed to serve as the applicant’s research mentor

Selection Process:

  • Potential applicants are encouraged to meet with their Department representatives for both the residency and R38 programs to express interest.  All residents who wish to participate in the program will need to work with their research mentors, the R38 program directors, and the residency program directors to develop a schedule that integrates their research and clinical training and ensures that all board eligibility requirements are met.
  • Applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes the R38 PIs and other representatives from participating departments as appropriate. On average, up to two residents per department are selected each year, but this can vary year-to-year as circumstances warrant.