Application Process

currently closed

The information below is for reference only. Applications are currently closed.

Survey of Intent due January 15 

Once your department chair approves, email the program manager to request a survey. Complete and submit this no later than January 15, 5:00 pm CST.  Late surveys will not be accepted. 

Application Package due February 17

All Applications must be received by 5:00 pm CST. All materials must be emailed to the program manager in a single PDF document ordered as below. The program manager will not compile applications. Late applications will not be accepted. 


All applications should include:

  • Cover letter

  • Applicant's NIH biosketch

  • Applicant's full CV using the Vanderbilt School of Medicine CV template

  • Abstract; not more than 30 lines (separate page)

  • Research proposal and career development plan - 10 pages maximum including specific aims, research proposal, figures, and career development plan. References are not included in the page limit. Font: Arial 11 pt. with 0.5" margins. The applicant's name and page number should be in the header of all pages. Equipment, resources, and facilities may be covered in the proposal, but do not need ancillary documentation. 

  • Mentors Letter(s)

  • NIH biosketch from both Mentors 

  • Letter from department chair stipulating willingness to accept V-SCHoLARS funding, assurance of 75% protected time, and documentation of other duties

  • Two (2) additional letters of reference - do not submit more than 2 additional letters

  • Any prior application for an extramural career development award (Include abstract, aims, and body [approximately 12 pages]; do not include budget, environment, etc.)

  • The letter should briefly summarize the candidate's prior research experience, the desirability of a mentored research experience, and the perceived synergy between the candidate's interests and the background and resources of both the HIV and HLBS domain mentors in no more than two pages. If the applicant has already applied for an extramural award (such as a K award) this should be indicated in the cover letter, and a copy of the award application should be provided with the candidate's application. 

  • The goal of the research proposal section of the application is to give review committee members an overview of the research question under scrutiny and to outline the approach that will be used to conduct the research. The goal of the career development plan is to describe how the applicant will be mentored, what training is planned, and the anticipated timeline for preparation of academic products such as manuscripts, presentations, and grant proposals planned during the period of support. 

    The proposal must include:

    • Applicant's name and page number on all pages

    • Title on the abstract page and the first page of the proposal 

    • Sections: 

      • Abstract summarizing the application in 30 or fewer lines on a separate page not included in the 10-page limit

      • The proposal is limited to 10 single-spaced pages formatted as indicated above

      • The 10 pages includes the specific aims, the research plan, and the career development plan but do not include references*

    *It is up to the applicant to decide how to allocate the 10 pages

  • The candidate may submit two letters, one from the HIV and one from the HLBS mentor, or a single letter drafted by both mentors. The letter(s) should narrate the training plan for the applicant with a clear rationale for the components, as well as provide comments indicating how the applicant's project relates to the research expertise of each mentor. The mentor should indicate a significant track record for mentoring investigators to independence. Note: The mentor letter must include a section outlining the frequency of joint meetings between the applicant and both mentors. 

  • An NIH bisketch from each mentor should indicate active extramural funding that runs concurrently with the applicant's entire V-SCHoLARS appointment.

  • The Chair Letter should come from the trainee's home Department at Meharry or VUMC (e.g., medicine, surgery, a HLBS domain). Only one Chair Letter is required for the application. The letter from the department chair must indicate: 

    • Desire to have the applicant considered for the V-SCHoLARS program
    • Commitment to the candidate specifying that the scholar will spend no more than 25% of their effort on clinical or other activities during the duration of the award
    • Space and resource plan for the applicant's eventual emergence from the mentored setting when independent federal funding is secured

    If the chair is also one of the two primary mentors, he or she should indicate this in the letter, which will suffice for both chair/mentor letter

  • Letters from two individuals from Meharry, VUMC, or another institution who are familiar with the applicant's scientific and/or clinical experience should provide insight into the applicant's potential as a scientist. These letters are in addition to the mentor and chair letters of support. Letters of reference should come from individuals who are senior in appointment to the applicant. Do not include more than 2 reference letters.