Opportunities for Medical Students

Pathway Program

The mission of the OPSD PRIME Programs is to enhance innovation in biomedical science and promote health equity by developing a diverse cohort of successful biomedical research scientists. The PRIME Summer Academy targets medical students and consists of an 8-week didactic/networking curriculum and mentored research training in the lab of a Duke faculty member. 

Learn more about the PRIME Summer Academy below.

The Duke Office of Physician Scientist Development is offering in-depth summer research training experiences as part of the Preparing Research scholars In bioMEdical sciences (PRIME) pathway program. Participating medical students will pursue mentored training in one of three funded research programs: non-malignant Hematology (sickle cell disease, bleeding/clotting disorders), Ophthalmology, or Radiation Oncology. 

The OPSD PRIME Academy is an enrichment program that exposes participants to research experiences and research career paths for physician-scientists. The program is currently open to medical students (matriculated or enrolled) who are seeking research opportunities. 

The PRIME Academy consists of mentored research training in the group or lab of a participating Duke faculty member and a six- to eight-week didactic/networking curriculum. Selected students will work in a faculty member's research group/lab, gain clinical exposure, and benefit from the planned curriculum, discussion sessions and collaborations with other student participants.

Additional Details

  • No prior experience in research necessary. Applicants only need to demonstrate a strong interest in science and a solid academic performance.
  • Compensation: Participants receive a $6,000 salary for the 8-week program.
  • Participants are responsible for securing their own room and board.

Application Procedure

To complete the application, you will need the following PDF files to upload: 

  1. Undergraduate transcript (unofficial transcripts accepted)
  1. Curriculum vitae/resume with detailed information on any research experiences
  1. Medical school transcript (if you have been accepted but yet not started medical school please attach your acceptance letter), and 

     4. One letter of recommendation-support (from a mentor or advisor).

The application period for the 2024 PRIME Academy is closed.

We will invite selected participants to participate in a six- to eight-week internship from May 13th to July 26th.

Questions may be submitted via email at opsd@dm.duke.edu.

Third-Year Scholarships

The Third Year at the Duke University School of Medicine represents a distinctive opportunity for students to broaden their background in basic science as well as patient-oriented research (clinical research, epidemiology, population health), humanities and AI/BME the basis of clinical medicine. The primary goal of the third year is to develop tomorrow's physician leaders through a rigorous scholarly experience in biomedical-related research. 

For a comprehensive list of scholarship opportunities for third-year students, visit the website HERE

OPSD also offers two scholarships for third-year medical students who are interested in conducting research, which are funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Dr. John Poindexter, a Duke alumnus. Students who are interested in taking a second third year to conduct research are also eligible to apply.


The Duke Physician Scientist Institutional Award (BWF) Research Fellowship for Medical Students is designed to encourage rising third year medical students to undertake a basic/bench research project at Duke University, with preference given to those who plan to commit to doing a second third year.  There will be one $10,000 award given for the first year, and a $25,000 award for the second year, contingent upon satisfactory performance in the first year. MS2 applicants for the $10,000 award must apply submit by the application due date. In addition to this application, applicants must provide the name, position/title, and email address of three individuals other than your primary mentor who are knowledgeable about your accomplishments and/or research interests. This program is made possible through a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF).

For more information contact the Office for Physician Scientist Development (opsd@dm.duke.edu). 


The Poindexter Scholars in Basic Sciences Program is designed to encourage rising third year medical students to participate in research projects under the guidance of basic science faculty members in the School of Medicine. This program is focused on basic science research, and priority will be given to those who identify laboratories in basic science departments, though applicants doing basic research in Clinical departments are also encouraged to apply. There will be one $10,000 award given for the first year, and a $25,000 award for the second year, contingent upon satisfactory performance in the first year. MS2 applicants for the award must complete the Duke Internal Scholarship Application form and submit by the application due date. In addition to this application, applicants must provide the name, position/title, and email address of three individuals other than your primary mentor who are knowledgeable about your accomplishments and/or research interests. This program is made possible through the generosity of Dr. John Poindexter, an alumnus of the School of Medicine.

For more information please visit Internal Scholarships Website or contact the Office for Physician Scientist Development (opsd@dm.duke.edu).

Basic Science Research Track

The Basic Science Research Track (BSRT) is an optional customized curriculum for degree candidates designed specifically for physician-scientists.  This track prepares individuals for careers as physician-scientists across a range of discovery sciences.  The curriculum includes coursework that prepares researchers to: perform rigorous basic science; manage, analyze, and present data; oversee a laboratory; and successfully compete for research funding.


The Duke Office of Physician-Scientist Development (OPSD) and the Duke Burroughs Wellcome Fund Physician-Scientist Institutional Award (BWF-PSIA) are pleased to announce a request for applications for funding to offset tuition for enrollment in the Basic Science Research Track (BSRT) for the Master of Health Sciences (MHSc) in Clinical Research Program.

I. Purpose

Early career physician-scientists may face challenges with research productivity as they navigate both clinical and research training and responsibilities. This challenge may be ameliorated with formal training to prepare individuals for careers as physician-scientists pursuing a range of discovery sciences.

These need-based scholarships provide up to $30,000 (up to $15,000 per year for 2 years) to cover program tuition.  This RFA is open to physician-scientists preparing to enroll in the BSRT program, including medical students intending to pursue a second 3rd year experience; fellows working in basic science laboratories; early career-stage faculty and potential K award applicants.

Proposals should include:

  • Applicant’s CV
  • Research Summary (1- 2 pages)
  • Statement of need including a description of the impact the BSRT degree program is expected to have on the applicant’s ability to move their research forward
  • An overview of the applicant’s research and career plans
  • Letter of support from Mentor (for students and trainees) or Division Chief/Department Chair (for faculty) (1 page)

II. Key Dates

Application Submission Deadline: March 15, 2024
Final Selection: June 1, 2024

III. Eligibility


Only applicants enrolling in the degree-granting BSRT track of the CRTP program who are conducting basic or translational (laboratory or big data/computational biology) research in the following categories are eligible to apply:

  • Duke School of Medicine students who are pursuing basic science research, including recipients of BWF Medical Student Scholarships and Poindexter Medical Student Scholarships
  • Duke School of Medicine trainees (resident or fellow) in any clinical training program who have set aside research time during their clinical training
  • Duke junior faculty who are within the first 5 years of a faculty appointment and are physician scientists
  • Note that applicants with alternate sources of funding (e.g. T32 grants) for tuition may not be prioritized. Potential applicants should explore these potential sources of funding with their mentors before applying for scholarship funds.

IV. Funding

Up to $15,000 per year for up to two years, applied directly to cover tuition costs for the BSRT program.

V. Selection Process and Review Criteria

Following submission, applications are reviewed by a committee composed of members of the BWF-PSIA leadership. The Review Committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing and scoring applications:

  • Potential impact of scholarship on applicant’s research trajectory
  • Documented need for financial assistance
  • Scientific impact of proposed research direction and potential for success

VI. Application Procedure

The completed proposal should be emailed to opsd@dm.duke.edu.

Applications should be submitted as one (1) pdf document.

VII. Budget Guidelines

Funds will be directly transferred to cover tuition expenses.
Any funds unspent as of July 31, 2024 will be returned to OPSD.

IX. Post-Award Reporting

OPSD and the BWF-PSIA track significant events resulting from the funding. Any significant events should be included in the final report. Investigators will be responsible for providing an annual report to OPSD detailing any achievements linked to this award. Examples include:

  • Abstracts/presentations, manuscripts, published guidelines
  • Follow-on funding (e.g., grants from government or foundation sources, SBIR/STTR, angel and venture capital investment)
  • Milestones achieved in animal models or manufacturing
  • Career progression
  • Patents
  • Translation of models to other geographical areas
  • Translation of models to other therapeutic areas
  • Agreements with partners and strategic collaborators to translate the research
  • Commercialization (e.g. new intellectual property, license, commercial partnerships, start-up company)
  • Translation to clinical studies
  • Direct-to-consumer interactions (e.g. apps) 

When requested, all awardees will be expected to provide updates of publications and other successes that originated from the award. 


For additional information on this funding opportunity, please contact opsd@dm.duke.edu

Duke CTSA TL1 Pre-Doctoral Scholarship

The Duke CTSA TL1 pre-doctoral scholarship program offers intensive research experience clinical and translational research experience and training for third-year Duke medical students. The scholarship’s provision of research training enhances programs designed to expose students to clinical and translational research earlier in their careers. The Duke CTSA TL1 provides individualized training through mentored research, didactic training, and professional development curricula.

Scholarship Details

The Duke CTSA Scholarship is a two-year scholarship, so scholars will graduate from medical school a year late. The scholarship will run from August 2024–August 2026. The application deadline was March 15, 2024.

Duke CTSA Scholarship Benefits Summary

  1. Scholarship stipend: The stipend is paid in monthly installments over the course of the scholarship.  Previous stipends have been $23,844 per year of study.

  2. Master’s tuition will be paid in full.

  3. Additional funds are applied towards health insurance costs and travel expenses to scientific meetings. Note: funding amounts are subject to NIH-specified spending limits.

  4. Research and study opportunities:

  5. Work with experienced, world-class clinical researchers.

  6. Conduct research of interest; however, research done for the CTSA scholarship must be clinical and/or translational in nature.

  7. Establish contacts and network opportunities at University and national levels.

Master’s Degree

The Duke CTSA TL1 scholarship will provide full tuition for scholars to complete a Master’s of Health Sciences in Clinical Research (through the Duke Clinical Research Training Program; please note a clinical project is required for this program). 

Stipend and other support

The scholarship provides a stipend for each full year of study. Previous stipends have been $23,844. The stipend will be paid in installments over 12 months and can be used for personal expenses as well as for Duke University tuition.

Master’s tuition will be paid in full.  Additional funds are available for insurance costs, research expenses, and travel expenses to scientific meetings. Please note that funding amounts are subject to NIH-specified spending limits.

Application Process

To Apply

  1. Secure mentor(s) and create a clinical or translational research project.

  2. Review all information regarding Duke Third Year Program Internal Scholarships.

  3. Follow the instructions to submit an application for Duke Internal Scholarships.

Application Deadline:  March 15, 2024

A complete TL1 application includes: 

  1. Completed Internal Duke Scholarship Application on MyResearchProposal

  2. Name, position/title, and email address of three (3) individuals other than the applicant’s primary mentor who are knowledgeable about the applicant’s accomplishments and/or research interests.

  3. A brief description clarifying the applicant’s role on the study.

Optional:  Applicants may also provide up to two (2) additional pages of information to the proposed research program question in the application.

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: March 15, 2024

  • Applicant interviews: Interviews will be held in early April 2024

  • Award announcement: By May 6, 2024

Whom do I contact?

Eligibility Requirements

  • A doctoral student in good standing from the School of Medicine

  • Participants must not complete their doctoral degrees prior to completing the CTSA Scholarship period

  • A U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-citizen national of the United States (e.g. American Samoan); individuals on temporary visas are not eligible


For more information click HERE