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Opportunities for Short Assignments / Details at the NIH

The following opportunities are available through the Office of the Director, NIH:

The NIH Catalyst (OIR)

On detail to The NIH Catalyst, intramural scientists will participate in the life of the newsletter, from its planning, writing, graphics, photography, editing and copy-editing, to its layout and proof review. The detailee will write one or more articles for The Catalyst on either a scientific or science policy subject. Catalyst staff will give the detailee specific training in formulating newsworthy story ideas and in journalistic writing and its differences and commonalties with writing for scientific papers. Contact OIR Director of Communications Christopher Wanjek (301-402-4274) or Catalyst Managing Editor Laura Carter (301-402-1449). Shorter-term assignments can be arranged for scientists who cannot do a full detail to The Catalyst but wish to round out their portfolios with writing for a general scientific audience.

Office of Budget (OB)

This assignment would provide the detailee an opportunity to understand the responsibilities of the Office of Budget, the organization providing budgetary advice to the Director of NIH. The detailee will participate in responding to congressional requests for scientific and budgetary information resulting from the appropriations hearings. The detailee may also be involved in submission of testimony. If skills and knowledge allow it, OB may permit the detailee to take the lead in developing a response to a pending project. The assignment is intended to last 6 months in the spring of the year. Contact the office at 301-496-4477.

Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE)

The OITE experience would provide the individual with an opportunity to become involved in program development and program evaluation activities. Specifically, the trainee would also have an opportunity to work on projects designed to prepare fellows for academic careers by developing teaching skills that are not usually acquired through the NIH experience. The OITE experience would also enable the trainee to contribute to the development of a career services program that would better meet the needs of fellows as they prepare to transition from the NIH to other venues. Finally, we can provide opportunities for fellows to design instruments to be used in evaluating the effectiveness of a range of OITE programs and initiatives. Contact Dr. Patricia Sokolove at 301 402-3889.

Office of Science Policy Analysis

For information about the office and policy fellowship programs, see

Office of Biotechnology Activities

The Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA), within the Office of Science Policy, Office of the Director, NIH, focuses on the scientific, safety, and ethical issues related to recombinant DNA and human gene transfer research, genetic testing, and xenotransplantation. OBA also manages advisory committees associated with each of these programmatic areas. The public meetings of these groups, and associated safety symposia and policy conferences, provide important public fora for discussion of biotechnology issues with broad societal implications.

Within the recombinant DNA program, OBA updates and implements the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules. The NIH Guidelines set forth the roles and responsibilities of scientists, clinical investigators, and local oversight bodies involved in laboratory and/or clinical studies utilizing recombinant DNA molecules, including human gene transfer technology. The Office also manages the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC), a group of non-governmental experts who advise the NIH on broad policy matters relevant to the safe and ethical conduct of this arena of research. OBA is also developing a national database for the collection and analysis of data from gene transfer clinical trials.

Regarding genetic testing, OBA manages the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing (SACGT), a group of outside experts who advise the Department of Health and Human Services on the medical, ethical, legal, and social implications raised by the development and use of genetic tests. The SACGT addresses such issues as enhancement of oversight of genetic testing, the development of informed consent guidelines for the use of genetic tests in clinical and public health settings, the education of health professionals, elements of data collection, access issues, and special considerations for rare diseases.

In the area of xenotransplantation, OBA manages the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Xenotransplantation (SACX), a group of outside experts which advises the Department on the complex scientific, medical, public health, social, legal, and ethical issues associated with xenotransplantation. OBA will also oversee the updating of the recently issued PHS Guideline on Infectious Disease Issues in Xenotransplantation.

In OBA, detailees could:

  1. Assist in planning meetings of the RAC, SACGT, or SACX and developing relevant background materials.
  2. Work with OBA staff on a major effort to revise and update the NIH Guidelines.
  3. Assist OBA staff in developing an outreach and training program for Institutional Biosafety Committees regarding oversight of recombinant DNA and clinical gene transfer research.
  4. Plan and implement special conferences that focus on a novel, unresolved, and/or emerging issues in gene transfer, genetic testing, or xenotransplantation.
  5. Track issues relevant to these programmatic areas.
  6. Write about current issues in recombinant DNA research, genetic testing or xenotransplantation. Articles could be directed to students, teachers, the public, or the scientific/medical community

Contact the office at 301-496-9838 or visit

The following opportunities are available with other Institutes and Centers:

Center for Scientific Review (CSR)

Detail opportunities may be available for NIH intramural scientists wishing to gain experience in the extramural grant process by working with Scientific Review Officers (SROs) in the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). As designated Federal officials responsible for peer review, SROs have pivotal roles in ensuring that the NIH peer-review process identifies the most promising research grant applications. SROs use their scientific expertise as well as their communication and interpersonal skills to:

  1. Analyze the scientific content of grant applications;
  2. Identify and invite active scientists to serve on study sections and assign the applications each member will review;
  3. Organize and manage peer review meetings;
  4. Provide NIH program staff and applicants with succinct summary statements explaining how review committees viewed applications;

Details at CSR provide training that can enhance eligibility for positions within CSR or elsewhere at NIH. For further information about the detail program at CSR see

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Opportunities for participants with an interest/expertise in bioinformatics/ computational biology, functional genomics, or population genetics, to work with program or grant review administrators. Please contact NIGMS for additional information.

The page was last updated on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 4:34pm