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Sabbatical in Clinical Research Management: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Purpose and Mission

Q. Why is the Clinical Center offering this Sabbatical?
A. Re-engineering the clinical research enterprise—including training in the discipline—is one of the initiatives in the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research (now the NIH Common Fund), launched in 2004. The Clinical Center's sabbatical program is an innovative approach to assuring leadership in clinical research, which will lead—in turn—to more rapidly moving advancements in medical science to improvements in health and health care for all. This program will provide management training to help ensure that participants have the knowledge and skills to develop clinical and translational research programs with safe, ethical, and efficient standards.

Q. How does the Clinical Center's unique mission and environment compliment the program?
A. The NIH Clinical Center is the nation's clinical research hospital and the world's largest hospital devoted exclusively to clinical research. Here, individuals can learn about how to manage a complex clinical and translational research enterprise. The Clinical Center is truly a place for learning and discovery, with approximately 1,500 studies in progress at any given time. In this context, sabbatical participants will be focused on learning management skills and growing their careers. And since training and education of clinical researchers are pillars of the CC mission, you can be certain that you will be guided by experienced professionals who care about your skill development.

Eligibility and Application

Q. Who is eligible to participate in the program?
This program is intended for professionals with at least 7 years experience beyond an advanced degree (e.g. MD, PhD, MBA) or equivalent or comparable work experience. The candidate should demonstrate research experience through peer-reviewed published research. Ideal physician candidates have completed a specialty training or fellowship. One's job classification would likely fit in one of the following categories:

  • Physicians and allied health professionals, such as principal investigators or research officers, who have experience leading clinical research protocols;
  • Healthcare management and administrative professionals who want to broaden their scope of knowledge and appreciation for what it takes to manage a comprehensive clinical research program;
  • Extramural NIH staff overseeing clinical trials; and
  • Intramural NIH investigators.

If unsure about whether you are a match for the program, please contact

Q. How do I apply to this program?
To apply, go to Application to complete the application and upload your CV. Based on your application and CV, you may be invited for a phone interview. Acceptance into the program is based upon an individual’s eligibility, professional experiences, sabbatical goals, and space in the program. Please remember that if you are accepted into the program, a letter from the dean or supervisor indicating his/her support of your participation is required.

Q: Can non-US citizens apply to this program?
Yes, non-US citizens may apply to the program. However, prior to applying, non-US citizens must have the appropriate credentials to participate. Acceptance into the program is based upon an individual’s eligibility, professional experiences, sabbatical goals, and space in the program. For details, please read FAQ—International Applicants.

Q: How soon should I apply for the Sabbatical program?
Applications are accepted year-round. U.S. citizens must apply at least 8 weeks before you wish to begin your sabbatical. Non-U.S. citizens must apply at least 12 weeks before the anticipated start date. This allows for processing of your application and a phone interview. You may apply as soon as you have the endorsement of your current employer (if applicable) and have an approximate start and end dates for your stay, and initial scheduling of electives.

Program Information

Q. How long will it take to complete the program?
The program will be tailored to the unique requirements of each participant, and participants will pursue only the electives most beneficial for them. Thus, the sabbatical can last from several weeks to several months or longer. Additionally, some training may be completed long-distance in advance of arrival. Your sabbatical experience could also take place simultaneously with another fellowship or clinical research program. Each participant will be required to establish a learning plan before beginning the sabbatical which outlines their elective schedule. NIH Clinical Center staff will assist in this process as needed.

Q. Are there certain core classes I am required to take within the program?
No. Within each of the six modules, you may take as many of the electives as you think will further your goals for the program. There are no "required" electives.

Q. Will I receive any type of degree or certificate upon completion of the Sabbatical?
NIH does not grant accredited degrees. However, participants who complete the Sabbatical in Clinical Research Management will receive a certificate of recognition signed by the Clinical Center Director and the Director of the CC Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education.

Q: Can I participate in the Sabbatical program part-time?
Yes, in most cases. However, if the participant does not live in the Washington, DC metro area, a part-time schedule is difficult to accommodate, and we recommend that you complete at least one full-time period (e.g. 4-6 weeks), and then conduct follow-up meetings thereafter on a part-time basis. If the participant lives in the DC metro area, a part-time schedule can be accommodated. We strongly encourage all participants to think of this experience as dedicated time to learn, and therefore, dedicate a predictable timeframe to the program.

Q. Who will be my colleagues during the Sabbatical? Will I be supervised?
You will be in the company of some of the nation's more accomplished clinical researchers and hospital administrators during the program! Under the overall direction of the Clinical Center director and the director of the CC's Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education, you will be exposed to knowledgeable and experienced elective leaders who will guide you through a personalized learning experience. You will work side-by-side with senior leaders of the Clinical Center, while also having the autonomy to take on self-directed projects or experiences. Supervision will be minimal, but Clinical Center staff will be available to support or guide the participant during the Sabbatical. In addition, you will have the opportunity to work with distinguished leaders at other federal entities, such as the NIH Fogarty International Center and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is a learning and networking opportunity like no other!


Q. How will I be funded during my time in the program? Will the program provide a stipend?
The program will not provide a stipend to participants, nor will we reimburse for room/board or travel. Participants are encouraged to seek sabbatical funding from their home institutions or some other means of support. Additionally, interested participants may be able to apply for a National Research Service Award (NRSA) for Individual Senior Fellows (F33) grant. See the web link for additional details about this program. Please note that the Clinical Center is not affiliated with the F33 grant program.

This page last reviewed on 05/10/12

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