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NIDA Summer Research Internship Program

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 23rd year.  Since the program’s inception in 1997, more than 1160 students have gained experience in drug abuse and addiction research.


  • This NIDA Summer Research Internship Program is designed to train individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce, to conduct research and to prepare for careers in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences such as individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the NSF to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 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 this program.  For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see NOT-OD-15-089.
  • Although this program is designed to enhance underrepresented populations in science, all racial/ethnic populations are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old by May 31, 2019 and must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States (No Exceptions).
  • Graduating 2019 college seniors are also eligible to apply.
  • Individuals who have already participated in the NIDA Summer Research Internship Program are no longer eligible to apply.

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.

Application Procedures

  • To apply and view program information, see the NIDA Summer Research Internship Program online application (this site is closed for the year and will reopen on January 1, 2020).


  • If you have any questions, feel free to contact Julie Huffman, huffmanj@mail.nih.gov, phone 301-443-9798.


What past NIDA summer interns and mentors have said about the program.

Student Interns:

  • “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

NIDA Mentors:

  • “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

This page was last updated March 2019