New Postdoctoral BIRCWH Fellowship Program!

We anticipate funding one postdoctoral fellow for a single year beginning summer/ fall 2023.  The goals of the program are identical to the BIRCWH Scholar Program.  We anticipate this postdoctoral Fellow would be eligible to apply as a BIRCWH Scholar the follow year.


The goals of the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Program (BIRCWH, pronounced “BIRCH”) are to increase the number and skills of investigators who focus their research career in women’s health or in sex and gender differences. The Program seeks to support investigators through a mentored research and career development experience leading to an independent scientific career that will 1) benefit the health of women or advance research on sex/gender influences on health, and 2) encourage interdisciplinary research methodology.

The BIRCWH Program is built around three pillars: interdisciplinary research, mentoring, and career development. Interdisciplinary mentoring teams are essential to the BIRCWH Program and are defined as teams that include mentors from diverse disciplines to carry out interdisciplinary projects.

Mentors from collaborating departments are encouraged to provide needed expertise and resources, strengthening the BIRCWH Fellow’s research relevant to women’s health, including research on sex and gender influences as well as research on factors that contribute to disparities in health status or health outcomes for different populations of women.

Who is eligible?

Eligible BIRCWH K12 applicants are US citizens or permanent residents with a post-doctoral fellowship at any school of Tufts University, Tufts Medical Center or Maine Medical Center.

BIRCWH Objectives
BIRCWH Eligibility Requirements
Instructions for Application
Dates and Deadlines
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

BIRCWH Fellowship Objectives

The BIRCWH awards aim to:

  • Support mentored research career development of post-doctoral fellows.
  • Support research in interdisciplinary basic, translational, behavioral, clinical, and/or health services research relevant to women’s health or sex and gender differences.
  • Increase the number and skills of investigators through a mentored research and career development experience leading to an independent scientific career that will:
    • Benefit the health of women or advance research on sex/gender influences on health
    • Encourage interdisciplinary research methodology

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BIRCWH Fellowship Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants are advanced post-doctoral fellows who have demonstrated the aptitude and commitment to women’s health or sex and gender differences and have a high probability of obtaining extramural funding after the training program.

Applicants Must:

  1. Possess a research or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent.
  2. Be a US citizen, non-citizen national, or permanent resident.
  3. Commit to a minimum of 1 year of full-time professional effort for career development and research activities associated with the program.
  4. Have a mentoring team to foster training in women’s health or sex and gender differences The team will include a primary mentor to oversee overall career development and research activities and a secondary mentor(s) to enhance interdisciplinary research and support research activities.

Selected BIRCWH Fellows Will:

  1. Complete, during their year of funding, a course on the responsible conduct of research.
  2. Attend the BIRCWH Annual Meeting and present their scientific work.
  3. Cite the grant (K12HD092535) and ensure that the manuscript is submitted for a PMCID number for any manuscripts resulting from the BIRCWH Career Development Award Program.
  4. Complete an annual report and present it to the BIRCWH Advisory Committee. The second year of funding is contingent upon a successful Committee review.
  5. Obtain appropriate IRB or IACUC approval before funding can be awarded. Clinical research must also complete NIH human subjects review before beginning research activities.

Mentors of BIRCWH Fellows will:

  1. Provide research support and guidance toward an independent research career, with a planned series of meeting and activities, in addition to frequent discussion and guidance as needed.
  2. Meet annually with leadership of the BIRCWH Program to review overall career activities and progress toward training goals and activities.
  3. Participate in CTSI-provided mentor training.

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Instructions for Application


Please email by Friday, March 31, 2023 to confirm your intent to apply.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to complete an optional pre-application/letter of intent by no later than 5:00PM on Friday including:

  1. Cover Sheet/Letter of Intent (PDF)
  2. One-page draft specific aims
  3. Personal data form (PDF)
  4. Most recent biosketch

Please submit documents 1-3 as a single PDF and 4 as an attachment to .

Applicants are encouraged to meet with one of the BIRCWH K12 Program Directors (Karen Freund, MD, MPH or Iris Jaffe, MD, PhD) or Lesley Inker, MD, MS, Research Director for the BIRCWH, prior to submitting a full application.

Those BIRCWH K12 applicants who are eligible for the Tufts CTSI Translational KL2 award may use the same application for their LOI for the KL2. For more information, please see the Tufts CTSI K12 page.

Full Application:

Prospective applicants must complete a full application by no later than 5:00PM on Thursday, June 1, 2023 including:

  1. Cover Sheet/Letter of Intent (PDF)
  2. Applicant biosketch in the new NIH format (no more than five pages)
  3. Specific Aims (no more than one page)
  4. Description of Mentoring Team

The candidate must indicate in their application who will serve as their primary mentor and who will serve as their secondary mentor(s). The candidate must provide a brief description of each mentor and their relationship thus far. Mentors should be engaged actively as independent investigators with expertise relevant to the scholar’s area of interest. The proposed mentors must have prior experience in providing research training. The selection of interdisciplinary mentors is strongly encouraged.

  1. Sex and Gender Differences Research (one page)
    Please describe how this research project and your proposed research career are aligned with a focus on sex and gender differences research.
  2. Letters of support from primary mentor
    All applications must contain a letter of support from the candidate’s primary mentor. The letter from the primary mentor must state their credentials to qualify as a mentor. The letter of support will state how the applicant will benefit from inclusion in this program as well as the mentor’s commitment to participate in the program.
    The mentor letter should indicate any support from the mentors’ research program that will provide support to the trainee (such as databases already developed, animals, reagents, supplies, technicians, or research assistant staff).
  3. Institutional Letter of support from the candidate’s Department Chair or Division/Section Chief
    This letter should confirm the candidate meets all eligibility requirements, including citizenship/green card status. The Departmental letter should indicate the commitment to the candidate’s research career. The letter should confirm that the fellow will not be funded in part by any other NIH grant and will commit full time to research during the award period per NIH postdoctoral requirements.
  4. Optional materials
    If you have submitted another grant such as an F32 or intramural grant related to specific aims, you are welcome to include it with your application.

Please submit documents as a single PDF in the above order in NIH style format (Arial 11 font with 0.5 margins) to

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Dates and Deadlines

  • March 2023: K12 Application period begins
  • April 1, 2023: Pre-applications/letters of intent due (optional but encouraged)
  • June 1, 2023: K12 full applications due
  • TBD: selected K12 fellow announced
  • TBD: K12 funding begins

Questions? Please contact:

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I apply if my mentor is not on your mentor list?
    If your mentor is not on the list, please provide the mentor’s biosketch during your pre-application. The NIH expects that mentors for these awards have their own research funding and expertise in mentoring junior faculty.
  • Should all of my mentors be at a Tufts University school?
    We strongly recommend the primary and secondary mentors be from within Tufts University or Tufts Medical Center. If expertise is needed outside our institution, we suggest this person be listed as a consultant.
  • Is there a specific research focus for these applications and awards?
    Proposals must focus on interdisciplinary basic, translational, behavioral, clinical, and/or health services research relevant to women’s health or sex and gender differences.
  • I’ve applied in the past for a K, but the K award was triaged and not discussed. May I now apply for the BIRCWH K12?
    Yes, if the award was triaged, you may apply.
  • I submitted a K application in the last round. My application was scored, but was not in the fundable range. The grants have not yet been reviewed by council. Can I apply for the BIRCWH K12?
    If your prior application is still listed as under review on eRA Commons, then you are not eligible for a K12 award. If you have no further action/processing designation in eRA Commons (NFA/P), you are eligible to apply. Applicants for K12 appointments may not simultaneously submit or have pending an application for any other PHS mentored career development award. Please contact us if you have further questions about your specific application.

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