The National Institute on Drug Abuse Summer Research Internship Program supports undergraduate students with a focus on increasing underrepresented populations in drug abuse and addiction research. Through this program, students age 18 years and older are introduced to the field of drug abuse and addiction research by participating in research internships with NIDA funded scientists at universities across the United States. Students work with leading scientists for eight weeks during the summer. The internship may include laboratory experiments, data collection, data analysis, formal courses, participation in lab meetings, patient interviews, manuscript preparation, and literature reviews. In addition, it is expected that each intern will deliver a formal presentation on his/her research project at the end of the internship.
The NIDA Summer Research Internship Program is in its 24th year. Since the program’s inception in 1997, more than 1230 students have gained experience in drug abuse and addiction research.
- This NIDA Summer Research Internship Program is designed for undergraduate students from diverse populations to experience drug abuse and addiction research in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences. Applicants must be at least 18 years old on or before May 31, 2021 and must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
- Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in NIH programs to enhance diversity. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see the OMB Revisions to the Standards for Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see NOT-OD-20-031.
- Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. Click NSFto see the data.
- Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the following criteria:
- Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act;
- Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families;
- Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years;
- Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree;
- Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants;
- Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child;
- Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer, orb) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas (qualifying zip codes are included in the file). Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background definition.
- Students from low socioeconomic (SES) status backgrounds have been shown to obtain bachelor’s and advanced degrees at significantly lower rates than students from middle and high SES groups, and are subsequently less likely to be represented in biomedical research. For background see Department of Education data.
- Literature shows that women from the above backgrounds (categories A, B, and C) face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields. (See, e.g., From the NIH: A Systems Approach to Increasing the Diversity of Biomedical Research Workforce.
- Although this program is designed to enhance underrepresented populations in science, all racial and ethnic groups are eligible to apply.
- Graduating 2020 and 2021 college seniors are eligible to apply.
- Individuals must be able to commit to a full 8-week internship period. Individuals who have already participated in the NIDA Summer Research Internship Program are no longer eligible to apply. Scope of Support
Scope of Support
- Interns will receive stipends in the amount of $12.00 per hour for a maximum stipend of $3,840 for eight (8) weeks.
*Some exceptions may apply for localities with a higher minimum wage.
- To apply and view program information, see the NIDA Summer Research Internship Program online application which opens for applications in January (Applications will be accepted from January 1, 2021 – February 12, 2021)
- Application components include:
- A completed application form, current transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable), and two letters of recommendation.
- All application materials must be submitted by Friday, February 12, 2021 (11:59 Eastern Time). 2021 Program Dates & Timeline (Subject to change):
- November 1, 2020—Mentor registration deadline
- January 1, 2021—Internship application season opens online
- February 10, 2021—Intern application deadline
- March 2021—Review of applications
- April 2021—Applicants and mentors are notified of final application status
- May 2021—Supplement application from PI is due
- May 2021—Supplements are awarded to NIDA parent grant
- *June 1, 2021—Summer Research with NIDA 2021 officially begins (8 weeks)
- If you have any questions, feel free to contact Julie Huffman, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 301-443-9798.
What past NIDA summer interns and mentors have said about the program.
- “This program solidified my interest in drug abuse research. I am very grateful to have had this experience, and highly recommend it to any student who is interested in exploring drug abuse research.”
Elizabeth S., ’18 intern
Dr. Paul Meyer, University of California, San Diego
- “The NIDA summer internship was the single-most influential experience in my academic career. I was able to partake in breakthrough fMRI research and work with world class researchers. I was promoted at my research group back in my home university, and was even offered a full-time position at my summer internship location once I graduate.”
Edward R. 18’ intern
Dr. Christina Hoven, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
- “Thanks to this internship, I had opportunities to have other research experiences, create a EEG manual and become the PI on my own study. I was even motivated to apply to masters and PhD programs as well.”
India H., ’16 intern
Dr. Steven Shoptaw, University of California, Los Angeles
- “I must say this has been an extraordinary experience for me, where I have learned more than I could put into words and gained such valuable information that I will surely take with me to help me greatly succeed in my studies and future career.”
Jacqueline M ’17 intern
Dr. Anne Duerr, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- “The NIDA summer internship was one of the most amazing learning experiences that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in. I was able to work alongside prestigious researchers who took the time to sit down with me and teach me valuable research skills that I will carry with me as I pursue my future career.”
Isabella I. ’18 intern
Dr. Victoria Coleman-Cowger, Battelle Centers
- “The NIDA Summer Research Internship Program allowed me to experience drug addiction research during a hands-on and immersive summer. I now have the skills necessary to succeed in neuroscience research and the confidence to pursue my passions in drug addiction research through graduate school.”
Melissa B., ’18 intern
Dr. Kathryn Reissner, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- “NIDA was the best internship I've been a part of thus far. The chance to work with other students and professors on child development in a clinical setting is rare. I have gained many experiences and connections that will help me for a very long time.”
Steven S. ’18 intern
Dr. Elizabeth Skowron, Prevention Science Institute
- “The NIDA Summer Internship Program experience inspired me and gave me the resources to begin my career as a research scientist. Being a NIDA scholar continues to give me funding, networking, and other invaluable opportunities”.
Jacqueline Q. ’15 intern
Dr. Chitra Mandyam, San Diego State University
- “I had the opportunity to be co-authored on a research paper, which was a very special opportunity that I doubt I would have found elsewhere.”
Calumina M. ’18 intern
Dr. Anna Rose Childress, University of Pennsylvania
- “NIDA gave me the opportunity to gain experience in a field I had never discovered before. I worked with some of the top researchers in the Psychiatric field of online interventions, and with help from mentors, I finally determined what graduate programs I want to apply to.”
Abby H., ’18 intern
Dr. Danielle Ramo, University of California, San Francisco
- “The NIDA summer research internship was the most enriching summer experience I have ever had. Because of my time as a NIDA intern, I was captivated to learn more about addiction research and how I could implement it into future medical practice.”
Amy K. – ’18 intern
Dr. Susan Tapert, University of California, San Diego
- “My research experiences this past summer was an amazing learning experience. I gained a certainty in knowing that I want to earn a dual PharmD/PhD degree after I graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.”
Ariana C. ’18 intern
Dr. Kathryn Reissner, North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- “This internship had an enormous impact in solidifying my passion to go onto a career in clinical psychology. I had an incredible experience with an amazing mentor and teacher.”
Vanessa C. ’18 intern
Dr. Anthony Spirito, Brown University
- "I would like to thank you for this amazing opportunity to be part of this internship that focuses on substance use/abuse research. I enjoyed working alongside the research team in the field and clinical supervision meetings. They were supportive and openly communicative when I needed assistance. I read literatures on drug use among Haitian youth, ethnography, history of unethical research, and the Haitian population in South Florida. This internship has inspired me to incorporate research, substance use, in my profession as a social worker. I would highly recommend my undergraduate peers to apply for this program."
Elanna S. ’20 intern
Dr. Louis Herns Marcelin, University of Miami
- "During my time working in Dr. Perrine’s lab, I have taken on a project focused around measuring fentanyl behavioral sensitization in rats. In this experiment, rats receive 3 different injection schemes over an 8-day period. The goal of the experiment is to determine if rats can become sensitized to fentanyl, which would be confirmed by higher locomotor activity levels on day 8 versus day 1. Female rats are also lavaged during each of the 8 days to track their estrous cycles with the goal of looking for potential roles’ estradiol plays in female locomotor activity. Through this on-going project, I have learned skills such as subcutaneous and intraperitoneal injections, lavage, experimental design, literature research and reviews, and data analysis."
Sean H. ’20 intern
Dr. Shane Perrine, Wayne State University School of Medicine
- “I just want to let you know that both of my summer interns were outstanding. Thank you for your outstanding program, which for my lab has been a wonderful and productive experience over the years.”
Dr. Joshua Corbin, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
- “It was my absolute pleasure to mentor and host Karina A. during her 2018 NIDA Research Summer Internship. Thank you for choosing me as one of the NIDA mentors for this exciting program.”
Dr. Feri Nugent, The Henry M. Jackson Foundation
- “I just wanted to thank you for posting this information to the SPSP listserv. I passed it on to some of my students and one applied and was accepted. I just wanted you to know that that little act opened some pretty big doors for a really deserving person.”
Dr. Heather Haas, The University of Montana Western
- “I had a terrific student, Juan V, who conducted 2 different experiments on the optogenetic control of alcohol dependence and the role of GABA release in the amygdala in nicotine dependence. He is very talented and a hard worker, I am hoping to convince him to pursue a career in the addiction field.”
Dr. Olivier George, The Scripps Research Institute
- "I wanted to let you know that it was an amazing experience to have a NIDA Summer Intern in my laboratory last summer. She was extremely motivated and productive and helped in a manuscript that just got published in Molecular Pain. She is currently working part time in my laboratory finishing up experiments for a manuscript in preparation. She is also working on her application for graduate school. I just wanted to let you know how wonderful the experience has been for me. Thanks again for all your help."
Josee Guindon, DVM, Ph.D., Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center