HBCS Predoctoral Training Program Admission Requirements

Hearing, Balance, and Chemical Senses Training Grant

The Hearing, Balance and Chemical Senses (HBCS) Training Grant aims to prepare graduate students for careers in the fields of hearing, balance and chemosensation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Incoming students must demonstrate a strong, long-term interest in training in the area of hearing, balance or chemical senses and should receive their training in HBCS faculty laboratories.

Eligibility

NIH training grants will only support U.S. citizens or permanent residents holding a green card.

Duration

Predoctoral traineeships are awarded on a year-by-year basis. After two years of support, students are expected to obtain support from other institutional or individual fellowships or from the mentor's research grant funds. There is a five-year limit on the total length of funding from federal fellowship sources.

Important Dates

Applications for predoctoral positions are considered twice per year. Applications are due on April 15 and September 15. Applicants are evaluated and given a priority score by the HBCS Admissions Committee. Final decisions are made by the HBCS Executive Committee approximately 4-6 weeks following the application deadlines. Traineeships can begin at any time within the 12 months following final approval by the Executive Committee.

Students may obtain training in hearing, balanc, and chemical senses by enrolling in the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Neuroscience or the Program in Biomedical Sciences, with which most of the training faculty are associated. Alternatively, students who prefer to study a different basic scientific discipline may enroll in other graduate programs in which training is available through HBCS faculty members.

Students in the Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D. program) may also conduct their thesis work in hearing, balance or chemical senses.

New Applicants

Graduate students applying for first-year training grant support should complete this form and submit, together with additional requested materials, as a single PDF file to Jackie Blake (jrblake@umich.edu). Support letters should be sent directly from mentor(s), also in PDF form.

Application Guidelines

  1. Background Information
    • Contact Information: Include mailing address, phone number and e-mail address where you can be reached reliably while the application is being evaluated.
    • Citizenship: If you are not a U.S. Citizen, please include a copy of your Green Card that certifies ‘permanent resident’ status.
    • Mentor: Include you proposed mentor for the HBCS predoctoral traineeship and contact information.
    • Start Date: Include your desired start date for the HBCS predoctoral traineeship.
    • Graduate School Start Date
    • Grant Support: Total number of months of previous federal training support (e.g., Neuroscience Training Grant) up to the time of the proposed HBCS start date. Note that graduate students are eligible for a maximum of five years of federal predoctoral training support.
  2. Interest Statement: Include a one-page statement outlining your research interests and long-term academic goals. This statement must explicitly indicate how your research interests relate to the field of hearing, balance and chemical senses. This statement should also briefly summarize previous research done in graduate school and during undergraduate training.
  3. Research Training Plan: Concisely describe your the planned research project, including the following items (4-page limit, excluding reference list):
    •  Specific Aims: an explicit list of the intended goals of the project, including the hypotheses to be tested
    •  Background and Significance: a brief description of the current knowledge base in the relevant area and the unresolved questions that are addressed by the Specific Aims; also include a brief statement summarizing the scientific and clinical significance of the plan and its relevance for research training in the fields of hearing, balance or chemical senses
    •  Preliminary Studies: if applicable (Take care in distinguishing your own contributions from those of others.)
    •  Research Design and Methods: a brief summary of the experimental approaches to be used
  4. Career Mentoring/Training Plan: Include an explicit plan (1-page limit) that the mentor and applicant have developed to augment HBCS activities and that promotes the success of the applicant in achieving the overall goal of the HBCS program. Include in the plan specific items, for example, academic classes, seminars and workshops to be attended by the applicant at U-M and elsewhere, and opportunities for interaction of the applicant with other scientists, such as attendance at national and international meetings. When relevant, also include specific collaborators or proposed co-mentors and their direct involvement in the training and mentorship of the applicant.
  5. Publications/Presentations: Include a list of publications and/or presentations resulting from previous graduate work. Also include one copy each of relevant publications, including those in press. If there are more than three previous publications, the best representative three should be selected.
  6. Transcripts: a transcript of grades for courses taken during graduate training
  7. Letter of Support: Include a letter of support from the mentor(s) that outlines the qualifications of the applicant for a research career in hearing, balance and chemical senses. The mentor should also specify the source of funds for support of the research training (supplies, equipment, etc.), a specific rationale for the request of training grant support and a brief plan for support of the remainder of the applicant’s training.

Review Criteria

  • Quality of the candidate’s academic and research accomplishments
  • Potential for successful training in the fields of hearing, balance or chemical senses
  • Quality of the training environment and career training plan
  • Quality of the research training plan

Renewing Applicants

Graduate students applying for renewal of training grant support should fill out this form and submit, together with additional requested materials, as a single PDF file to Jackie Blake (jrblake@umich.edu). Page limits are strictly enforced (no appendices permitted). Support letters should be sent directly from mentor(s), also in PDF form.

Prior to review of these applications by the HBCS program, trainees are required to submit a separate application for an individual NRSA fellowship to the NIH (Due dates for individual NRSA applications are April 8, Aug. 8 and Dec. 8.). The U-M Proposal Application Form (PAF) associated with the individual NRSA submission and the NIH reviews, if available, should be provided in the HBCS application materials.

Application Guidelines

  1. Background Information:
  • Contact Information:  Include mailing address, phone number and e-mail address where you can be reached reliably while the application is being evaluated.
  • Mentor: Include you proposed mentor for the HBCS predoctoral traineeship and contact information.
  • Renewal Date: Include your desired renewal date for the HBCS predoctoral traineeship.
  • Graduate School Start Date
  • HBCS Grant Support: Number of months of previous HBCS predoctoral training support (up to the time of the proposed HBCS renewal start date).
  • Grant Support: Total number of months of previous federal training support (e.g., HBCS Training Grant, Neuroscience Training Grant) up to the time of the proposed HBCS renewal start date. Note that graduate students are eligible for a maximum of five years of federal predoctoral training support.
  • A summary of progress during the preceding period of support in your career training plan and research training plan reflecting the specific aims of the original application, along with a brief summary of the career and research plans for the renewal year of support (3-page limit, excluding reference list). Also include a statement that explicitly indicates the relevance of the plans for research training in the fields of hearing, balance, or chemical senses.
  • Participation Description: Include a description of your participation in required HBCS training programs, including Hearing, Balance and Chemical Senses seminars, lunch meetings with invited speakers and training in research responsibility.
  • Publications/Presentations: Include a list of publications and/or presentations on which you are a co-author and that are associated with training during the preceding period of support (include copies of publications).
  • Transcripts: Include a transcript of grades for courses taken during graduate training
  • For trainees applying for a third year (or beyond) of support from the training grant: 
    • U-M Proposal Application Form (PAF) associated with submission of an individual NRSA fellowship application to NIH, and the reviews for this submission, if available.
    • Letter of Support: A letter from the mentor describing the applicant's progress during the preceding period of support with respect to the proposed career mentoring and research training plans

    Review Criteria

    • Progress in the research training plan, based upon the applicant’s and mentor’s descriptions and the publications/presentations resulting from the preceding year’s training
    • Progress in the career training plan
    • Participation in HBCS training programs

    Contact Us

    You may direct inquiries not addressed here via e-mail to the program director, Dr. Susan Shore (sushore@umich.edu) or the program administrator, Jackie Blake (jrblake@umich.edu). Additional information regarding training fellowships is available in an NIH Grants Policy Statement (Dec. 2003) available on the NIH website. 

    Susan E. Shore, Ph.D.

    Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
    Professor, Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
    Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
    The Joseph Hawkins, Jr. Collegiate Research Professor, University of Michigan
    Principal Investigator, HBCS Training Grant
    Faculty Mentor, Neuroscience Graduate Program
    734-647-2116

    Jackie Blake

    Administrative Specialist for Human Resources and Facilities
    734-763-5087