Interested in applying, but you have some burning questions about the program or the application process?

Attend our live Q&A sessions with HESP leadership.

Wednesday, February 7th from 9:00 – 9:50am CST


Wednesday, February 21st from 9:00 – 9:50am CST


Both Q&A sessions can be accessed using this zoom link

(Please note: These sessions are recorded for administrative purposes only and will not be shared.)

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Do I need to be a US citizen to apply to the program?

No, however you do need to be affiliated with a university or institution in the United States as we cannot transfer funds internationally.

Can I apply to both the ADNI and HABS-HD programs or do I need to choose one? Is the training specific to ADNI or HABS-HD depending on which one I apply to?

Because the datasets have a slightly different focus, we encourage you to apply to the program that is best matched to your interests. Regardless of which program you choose, the training curriculum is the same and you will receive the same resources and information.

How do I access the ADNI and HABS-HD data? Am I limited to only ADNI and/or HABS-HD data in my research?

You can request the ADNI data here: https://adni.loni.usc.edu/data-samples/access-data/. Follow the prompts on the page to gain approval.

To access the HABS-HD data, visit: https://apps.unthsc.edu/itr/researchers and click the “Make a Request” button in the upper right hand corner. You will need to register and create a login.

As long as your project involves ADNI and/or HABS-HD data, you may also incorporate other datasets.

Is there a format for the career development plan, research plan and letter of support from my mentor? What should be included in them?

The format for these documents will be up to you, however we do recommend there be some synergy between all of them. You can look up the NIH instructions for a K award application and use that as a template if you wish. We highly encourage you to be specific and use clear metrics for what you think will be markers of success.

Documents should have the following characteristics:

  • Single-spaced
  • 8.5×11” pages with 0.5” margins
  • Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman fonts
  • Font size 11 or 12
  • Citations do not count in the page limits

Do I need to submit a budget justification with my application? Are there limitations on how the funds can be used?

No. The annual stipend will be transferred to your institution as a subaward to support your career development as best meets your needs (e.g., pilot study, travel expenses, salary, etc.) and you will need to provide justification for how the funds will be used once you are accepted into the program.

Do I need to be employed by a university or institution to qualify as a postdoc or junior faculty?

To facilitate disbursement of the award, you will need to be a student at or employed by a university, an institution, or a research center.

When is the best time in my career plan to apply?

It is up to you when you decide to apply. Generally, you would want to apply at the point where you will make a strong candidate and also have the required 50% FTE (minimum) to commit to your research project and career development activities.

Note that anyone who applies to the HESP, regardless of whether they are admitted into the program, will be allowed to participate in HESP didactics upon request and approval by HESP leadership.

I am in transition finishing up my postdoc, but not yet a junior faculty. Do I need any additional documentation from my institution?

We recommend you comment on this in your career development plan and be clear about which HESP career category you are applying for (i.e., postdoc vs. junior faculty). Your institutional letter of support should also provide confirmation of your career stage (and transition plans, if applicable).

How many scholars will be accepted into the cohort?

We usually aim for one graduate/medical/professional student, one postdoctoral fellow, and one junior faculty each for both the ADNI and HABS-HD programs for a total of six scholars in each cohort. Depending on the pool of applicants and quality of applications, we are sometimes able to admit more scholars if there is available funding.

What are characteristics of successful applicants to your program?

Successful applicants usually demonstrate a trajectory towards an independent research career. In addition, they have a clear and well-reasoned career development plan, not just an outstanding research plan. Their proposed research hypotheses are testable and incorporate either ADNI and/or HABS-HD data.

Note that applicants who are ultimately not offered a funded slot in the HESP will be allowed to participate in HESP didactics upon request and approval by HESP leadership.

If my application is not accepted, can I reapply next year? Will I receive feedback on my application?

If you are not accepted into the program, you may apply again the following year. We do not provide feedback on applications at this time, but we may in future years. Note that applicants who are not accepted into the program will be allowed to participate in HESP didactics upon request and approval by HESP leadership.

Who would make the best mentor for this program? Can I have more than one mentor or change mentors?

The best mentor is whoever you think is the best for you. It should ideally be somebody at your local institution who is committed to you, familiar with your project, and well equipped to foster your professional development. You may have more than one mentor if necessary, and we prefer you keep the same mentor throughout the program though we would also support a change in mentor if the need arises.

What is the program timeline?

Applications usually open in late January or early February for a six-week timeframe followed by an external review process. Applicants will be notified of their status in May and programming will commence in September. The awards will be disbursed for a year; however research projects may be completed past the end date of your funding.

Please note that the ADNI program duration is one year, but the HABS-HD program is a two-year commitment. The second year in the HABS-HD program is typically funded by the scholar’s mentor.

HESP scholars are welcome to continue attending HESP didactics after their required time in the program has concluded. “Once a HESP scholar, always a HESP scholar.”

What are some of the professional development activities and how often are the meetings throughout the year?

In addition to their scheduled career development activities with their primary mentors, HESP scholars meet bimonthly, as a group, for didactics that can take a variety of formats including seminars, journal clubs, “Research in Progress” presentations, “Meet the Scientists” sessions, and scientific writing workshops, in addition to ad hoc 1:1 consultations with HESP leadership. Scholars and their mentors also meet with HESP leadership twice each year to evaluate progress in the program.

I already receive funding from my university, would this award be in addition to that? How will it get disbursed and will funds be available right away?

This will depend on your institution. Some institutions have restrictions/caps on funding, and it is always a great idea to reach out to your relevant institutional official for clarification beforehand.

The stipend will be transferred to your institution as a subaward. It will take a minimum of 6-8 weeks to process the funding paperwork, so we encourage accepted applicants to return the appropriate documentation as soon as possible to prevent further delays.

What is the duration of the funding?

ADNI and HABS-HD funding is for the duration of one year.  HABS-HD Scholars must commit to a second year in the program, however it is expected the second year is funded by the primary mentor. If the mentor is unable to provide the second-year support, HABS-HD will consider doing so, contingent upon funding availability and satisfactory performance.

How are indirect costs handled?

Indirect costs will be over and above the stipend amount and capped at 8% per NIH guidelines for standard K awards. This means that these costs will not be taken out of the funding that is awarded to scholars. Indirect costs go directly to the scholar’s institution and may not be used by the award recipient.

Do I need to shift my percent effort at my institution or is this considered outside of my effort?

In alignment with NIH policy on standard K awards, the HESP requires an institutional letter affirming that you have at least 50% FTE to devote to your research project and career development activities.