Application Process

The VECD Fellowship is managed centrally
by the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

Please direct inquiries to:

VECD Support Center
Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

2525 West End Avenue, Suite 750 | Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: 615.343.3555 | Fax: 615.343.7797

  • This fellowship is open to:

    a) US or LMIC citizens as defined by the World Bank who are postdoctoral trainees within three (3) years of their last major training (i.e. degree program, residency, fellowship) at the time of the fellowship start;

    b) US citizens who are advanced doctoral students currently enrolled in health-related doctoral programs

    Although this funding agency does not support doctoral students who are non-U.S. citizens, we invite individuals to consider NIH-funded D43 training programs at our partner institutions. Please contact for more information.

    Persons in health-related disciplines (human or animal) such as medicine, nursing, public health, dentistry, osteopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, nutrition science, pharmacy, ophthalmology, and others are invited to apply. Ph.D. students should have completed their Master’s-level coursework, and professional doctoral degree candidates should have completed their basic science courses and at least one year of clinical training.

    All applicants must:

    • Be citizens of the United States or its territories or possessions, or persons lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence OR citizens of low- or middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank
    • Have demonstrated interest in, and statement of commitment to, a career in global health research.
    • Have the support of a VECD institution, including committed mentors at both the U.S. and the LMIC site. Potential applicants that are not originating from a VECD institution should see Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
    • Co-funding is a plus! Preference is given to applicants who are receiving support from their institution’s NIH T32 or other research training grants or from other research-oriented global health residency and fellowship training programs.
    • Candidates from Meharry Medical College and underrepresented minority (URM) communities are especially encouraged to apply.

    VECD is committed to fairness, equity, and inclusion. We strive to achieve diversity across our program that is reflective of the communities where we work. Fellowships are open to all people regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We strongly encourage applications from underrepresented populations.

  • Fellowships provide the following:

    • 12 months of stipend support. U.S. postdoctoral trainees are supported according to the NRSA federal stipend scale. Non-U.S. citizens are supported at a rate that is fair and equitable in their home institutions for their professional level. Doctoral students are supported at NRSA rates.
    • Health insurance coverage for U.S. trainees
    • Modest research training costs 
    • Roundtrip travel costs to and from the fellowship site for U.S. trainees
    • All expenses for a five-day orientation training on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland). Additional short-term (2-3 month) training opportunities to complement the trainee’s fellowship work will also be supported for LMIC trainees.
    • The typical fellowship cycle begins in July of each year. Fellows are required to work full-time (40 hours/week) on their fellowship projects during the fellowship period and spend at least 11 months at their at their assigned LMIC research site unless exceptions have been pre-approved by the VECD Consortium. US trainees must spend minimum of 11 months at their approved site, while LMIC trainees should spend 2-3 months at approved international training site and the remaining 9-10 months at their home country site. 
  • Applications must be submitted online. The VECD Consortium conducts a review of all proposals and makes awards, following guidelines from the NIH Center for Scientific Review.

    Applications are reviewed based on several criteria, including:

    a. Relevance of the application to the program goals and objectives

    b. Synergy with a VECD site’s research priorities and inclusion of an appropriate initiative to contribute to capacity-building efforts at the host site

    c. Candidate backgrounds and career statements documenting student/trainee success, evidence of ability to adapt and persist under difficult circumstances, and confirming aptitude and interest in a career in global health and clinical research

    d. Engagement with appropriate VECD mentors and letters of support from the proposed mentors and home institution

    Applicants can expect to be notified of their status in February/March. The VECD Consortium has a limited number of fellowship positions; however, program alternates may be accepted later in the year if additional funding becomes available.

  • I am interested in the program but do not currently work with a VECD institution.

    Can I apply?

    The VECD fellowship requires the support of a VECD institution. Our typical trainee is from one of our institutions and/or has a history of collaboration/mentorship from a faculty member that is part of the VECD consortium. However, If you are an external applicant and would like to be considered for support by a VECD mentor, please email a copy of your CV and your research interests to We are unable to provide mentors and support for all external applicants, but we will contact you if a potential VECD site has been identified that is interested in working with you to apply for the fellowship. If you are not affiliated with a VECD institution, you may wish to consider other consortia. Visit other consortia websites or the Fogarty program website for more information. Click here to download the consortia flyer.

    U.S. doctoral students may want to consider a Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship.

    I am interested in pursuing a degree, does VECD provide degree training or scholarships?

    The VECD fellowship program is not a degree granting program. This fellowship is a mentored research training fellowship, and support is not provided for degree training.

    My schedule will not allow for me to spend 12 months overseas in one year. Can I still apply?

    This fellowship requires fellows to spend 11 months at their LMIC training site. If you believe you have a compelling reason to be exempt from this rule, please contact the VECD Support Center prior to submitting an application.

    Do I qualify as a pre or post-doctoral candidate?

    Your status is based on what you anticipate being as of July 2023. (i.e. If you are a PhD student now who will graduate before doing the fellowship, you would apply as a postdoc.)

    Do I need an eRA Commons ID to apply?

    No, you can leave that section of the application blank if you do not currently have one.


    Required Attachments

    1. Essay Questions. Applicants are asked to describe their prior research experience, experience working in resource-limited settings, and career goals and plans. Additionally, applicants must submit a 1200-word summary of the research they intend to conduct during their fellowship, as well as a proposed timeline and mentoring plan. References are not included in the word count. Please include a description of your specific plan to contribute to capacity-building efforts at the host site, for example, workshop facilitation, provision of training or clinical care. Outline your strategies for disseminating research results to the host site, study population if appropriate, and the broader scientific community. Applicants must download, complete, and upload this document to the online application.
    2. Applicant Biographical Sketch (NIH Format). For instructions on how to format your Biosketch, please refer to NIH guidelines:
    3. Primary Mentors’ Biographical Sketches (NIH Format).
    4. Transcript. Predoctoral applicants must provide a copy of their most recent transcript. Copies of transcripts are acceptable. Postdoctoral applicants do not need to include a transcript.
    5. Letters of Support. 
      • At least two letters of support are required for this application- one from the U.S. mentor for your project, and one from your LMIC site mentor.
      • If neither of the above mentors is currently affiliated with the VECD program, an additional letter of support must include the endorsement of a VECD Consortium mentor and/or site director.
      • If an applicant would need to take time off from a current academic, residency, or fellowship program or a current position in order to participate in the VECD program, an additional letter must include the endorsement of the program director or current supervisor. The letter must acknowledge that the applicant if selected, will be required to work 40 hours per week (at a minimum) on their VECD project for 12 months. The letter must also describe how the applicant’s current workload will be reduced to provide this protected time.
      • Any additional letters are optional and should come from persons who know the applicant well and can address research accomplishments, research potential, and the likelihood of a successful research career.
      • Letters of Support should be addressed to “VECD Review Committee” and can be uploaded to your application or emailed (by the application due date) directly to

    Please anticipate these deadlines to avoid a last-minute submission, as no applications will be accepted after the deadline.

    Direct inquiries to:

    VECD Support Center
    Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

    2525 West End Avenue, Suite 750 | Nashville, TN 37203
    Tel: 615.343.3555 | Fax: 615.343.7797