CMB Training Program

Application Information

The CMB Training Program will begin accepting applications for 2024-2025 on May 10, 2024.  Funding will begin September 16, 2024.

Students entering their second year of graduate school in the following graduate programs are eligible to apply:

  • Biochemistry
  • Genome Sciences
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • MCB
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

Students with previous NIH training grant funding (including MSTP support) are not eligible to apply.

International students are not eligible to apply.

Application DeadlineFriday, July 26, 2024, by 12:00pm (noon).

Application Link:

We recommend opening the application link from an incognito browser.

Please contact if you have any questions about the application process.

Trainee and Advisor Requirements

Upon an offer of support, trainees and their advisors must agree to CMB TG requirements found here:

Application Materials

Application materials must be submitted through the application form.  UW NetID login is needed.  Tip: Log out of all Google accounts before accessing application form.  

Please submit materials in the following order as one combined PDF document at the end of application form:

  1. Research Proposal (see format instructions below)
  2. Current CV listing education, research experience (lab rotations and previous employment), honors, awards, publications (including meeting abstracts).
  3. College and university transcripts, including UW (unofficial transcripts are allowed).

Research Proposal Format

  • Research proposals must be written by the applicant (advisors may provide editorial comments).
  • Length: up to 4 single-spaced pages ( including diagrams and figures)
  • Font: 11-point Arial
  • Margins: 0.5″
  • Proposal Sections
    • Project Specific Aims (include hypotheses to be tested)
    • Significance  (include a brief summary of literature)
    • Approach (rationale of experiments, brief description of methods and potential outcomes/alternatives)
    • Feasibility (how long project will take to complete and what you expect to accomplish during time supported by training grant).
  • Include a complete bibliography (not counted in page limits)

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must request 2 letters of recommendation.  Letters must be emailed to

  • Advisor Letter of Recommendation Describes progress, evaluates research abilities and assures the availability of adequate funding to support trainee research (supply funds are not available from the Training Grant). The letter should also explain amount of advisor input to the trainee application.
  • Secondary Letter of Recommendation A second letter from an individual familiar with applicant’s research experience.  Secondary recommenders can include a previous lab rotation supervisor or a former employer.

Applicant Presentations

Selected applicants will be invited to present their research as part of the application process in August.  Invited applicants must present to be awarded a position.

Should you have any issues with the application process, your form, documents or letters of recommendation can also be submitted to the CMB Training Program email at Call 206-543-0253 if you have questions.

Tips for a Great Proposal and Presentation

The following tips have been written specifically for the Cell and Molecular Biology Training Grant, but they apply to any training grant application or postdoctoral fellowship application, and in large part to a research grant application.

  1. The proposal should be hypothesis-driven. The aims of your proposal should clearly follow from your hypotheses. Begin writing with the hypotheses and let the experiments follow from that, rather than the other way round.Why is it important? What central idea will it test? How will the results you obtain allow you to test your hypothesis? One of the biggest mistakes people make is providing a list of experiments but not tying it to a specific hypothesis.
  2. Consider alternatives. If the central aim of your proposal gives no results, is your research project down the tubes? While no one can anticipate the outcome of every experiment, if there is a reasonable chance of your major aim not working (a mouse with no phenotype, a mass-spec pulldown that produces no interacting proteins, etc.), be sure that you have thought of an alternate direction, even if you only briefly explain it.
  3. Be sure your aims are realistic. You could propose 20 knock-out mice to test an interesting idea, but unless your advisor is planning to provide you with an army of technicians, reviewers will know that you do not understand the practical limitations. Remember also that this is a 1- or 2-year training grant. Projects that would take three people four years to complete are unrealistic, whereas a project that will be finished within six months shows that you have not considered the length of the grant. The proposal should reflect what is possible for a dedicated graduate student, not resemble an R01 proposal for a lab.
  4. Write for a general audience. Your reviewers may know your field intimately, but more likely than not, they will know the area only superficially. It is your job to explain to the reviewer why the field is important and why the hypotheses you propose will provide important insight. It is a very good idea to give your proposal (and practice your presentation) to someone outside your field and ask them if there are areas that they find confusing.
  5. Write and present clearly. When reviewers have to work through a lot of proposals, and often are rushed for time, they will be much less sympathetic to a poorly written or poorly organized proposal, no matter how brilliant the ideas.
  6. Minimize jargon. While it might seem that you will impress a reviewer with your wonderful knowledge of a field by using technical terms, it will only alienate a reviewer. If you have to use words specific to your field, then be sure that they are clearly explained. If you use acronyms, be sure they are explained and do not use more than are necessary.
  7. Make clear your contribution to any results and ideas. It is typical in scientific seminars that “we” is used since the results are usually the product of more than one person (a student and their advisor, for example). But in a proposal, the reviewers want to know what you did and how much you contributed to the results and ideas that you present. Distinguish between what was done in the lab before you started, and what have you done since or how what you propose to do is different than what has been done before (or is being done by others).