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BIRCWH Application FAQ

The BIRCWH Scholar Program is an early career development program for junior faculty members with research interest in women’s health. The following is a list of questions that applicants may have regarding the program, application process, etc. If your question is not on this list, please contact Kate Supan by telephone at 410-706-5862 or via email at


  • Are non-US citizens eligible for this K-12 program?
    In accordance with NIH policy, the award is only for US Citizens or permanent residents. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
  • Can I apply to the program if I do not have an appointment within the University?
    At the time of application, you do not have to have an appointment within in the University. However, you will need a faculty appointment to be appointed as a BIRCWH Scholar. At the time of application, a letter is required from the department chair indicating that you will have an faculty appointment at the assistant professor level should you be selected as a Scholar.
  • If I am a co-investigator, but have never been a principal investigator on a R01 or a sub-project of a P01, am I still eligible?


  • What is required for the application?
    Details on application requirements can be found here.
  • What is the deadline for submitting the application?
    Application deadline will be updated for our next active recruitment.
  • Does each applicant have to be approved by the NIH as well as by the University?
    All Scholars are selected by the Recruitment Subcommittee and approved by the BIRCWH Internal Advisory Committee based on their application materials. The materials from the selected Scholars are then forwarded to NIH for final approval.
  • Who has been selected as BIRCWH Scholar in the past?
    Information on past Scholars can be found here.


  • How many mentors do I need?
    Mentor teams are typically composed of 3-4 mentors. Scholars are encouraged to have as many mentors as is appropriate, given their area of research, but it is essential that the mentor team be multidisciplinary. Once selected, Scholars will meet with Drs. Langenberg and Merchenthaler to finalize their mentor teams.
  • Do I select my mentors? If so, how do I select my mentors?
    Scholars are encouraged to work with their division chief or department chair and members of the BIRCWH Internal Advisory Committee to select multidisciplinary mentors that are appropriate given their area of research.
  • Will my mentors be paid?
    Mentors do not receive salary support from the BIRCWH program.
  • Can anyone serve as a mentor?
    Mentors must have established research careers with a record of mentoring. Generally, each Scholar will have a primary mentor and other co-mentors. Your mentors do not have to be on the currently approved list. However, the mentors you select will have to be approved by the BIRCWH Internal Advisory Committee and NIH after you have been selected.
  • What is meant by multidisciplinary?
    A critical element of the mentor team is its multidisciplinary nature. There is increasing recognition that "advances in women's health can be better achieved by promoting partnerships across disciplines." Scholars are strongly encouraged to develop relationships with mentors from a variety of disciplines in order to improve their understanding of complex health issues and increase the likelihood of developing innovative and effective ways to address them.

Terms of Award

  • Am I required to spend 75% effort on my BIRCWH research?
    Yes. In order to maximize the benefit of the program, you must have 75% protected time as a Scholar. It is very important that applicants have the support of their department chair and faculty supervisors prior to submission of the application. Applicants must demonstrate support by submitting a letter from their department chair with their application. There are no exceptions to the 75% protected time requirement.
  • When does the award begin?
  • Generally, new scholar appointments will have start dates of July 1, October 1, January 1 or April 1. If a Scholar is unable to begin his/her appointment on one of these dates, they should meet with Drs. Tracy and Merchenthaler to determine if special arrangements can be made.
  • What is the duration of support?
    Scholars are initially appointed for two consecutive 12-month appointments, renewable in annual increments. At the end of the two-year term, Scholars may request an extension prior to the end of the second year of their appointment. Multiple extensions may be granted but most Scholars "graduate" from the BIRCWH program within three years. Renewal is contingent upon satisfactory progress as reported to the BIRCWH Internal Advisory Committee and to the NIH in the annual progress report of the Program.
  • What does the award provide?
    The typical award per Scholar is $125,000 per year, including 8% indirect costs.  Thus, direct cost support to each Scholar may not exceed $94,800.  Details of the award will vary by Scholar but the award typically provides salary support up to $75,000, plus fringe benefits, funds for research supplies and a travel stipend.  Scholars may use part of their travel stipend to cover expenses associated with the mandatory National BIRCWH Scholar meeting held at NIH each year in the fall.
  • Who pays the other 25% of my salary?
    It is expected that your department will cover the 25% of your salary from non-Federal sources, with an expectation that you will contribute 25% to the department in teaching, patient care, research funded by non-Federal sources or other activities. In addition, if 75% of your salary exceeds the award maximum, your department will be responsible for cost-sharing that portion of your salary.
  • If I submit a grant proposal to a Federal Agency and am funded, do I have to give up my BIRCWH appointment?
    No. NIH allows BIRCWH Scholars to hold concurrent support from their career award and a competing research grant under certain conditions. First, the Scholar must be the named Principal Investigator on a competing NIH research project grant (R01, R03, R15, R21, R34, etc.) or the sub-project director on a competing multi-component research or center grant or cooperative agreement (P01, P50, U01, etc.). Second, the Scholar must be in the last two years of their support period. Third, the Scholar must remain in a mentored situation. Finally, at the time the research grant is awarded, the effort required on the BIRCWH career award may be reduced to no less than 50 percent and replaced by effort from the research award so that the total level of research commitment remains at 75 percent or more for the duration of the mentored career award.