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NRC Research Associateship Program (RAP)

The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies administers competitive graduate, postdoctoral, and senior research awards on behalf of 26 U.S. government research agencies and affiliated institutions with facilities at over 100 locations throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Awardees have the opportunity to:

  • conduct independent research in an area compatible with the interests of the sponsoring laboratory
  • devote full-time effort to research and publication
  • access the excellent and often unique facilities of the federal research enterprise
  • collaborate with leading scientists and engineers at federal research laboratories and affiliated institutions

Research Associates receive annual stipends ranging starting at $15,000/year for Master's level applicants to $75,000 for recent doctoral graduates, and  proportionally higher for Senior Associates. In addition, the NRC provides health insurance, relocation benefits and an allowance for professional travel.

The host laboratory provides research facilities, equipment and funding for supplies to support the Associate’s research


Awards are available for scientists and engineers at all stages of their career. Postdoctoral applicants should hold, or anticipate receiving, an earned doctorate in science or engineering.

Most (but not all) awards are open to foreign nationals as well as to U.S. citizens.

How to Apply

  • Find research opportunities that match your interests by exploring the RAP website:
  • Contact prospective Research Adviser(s) to discuss your interests. Note: you may apply for up to three laboratories with one application.
  • Follow all application instructions carefully.

Prior to completing an application, prospective applicants should contact the proposed Research Adviser to assure that funding will be available if their application is recommended by NRC panels.Once mutual interest is established between a prospective applicant and a Research Adviser, an application is submitted through the NRC Rap online application system.

Deadlines occur in February, May, August, and November. Review results are available approximated 6-8 weeks following application deadlines.

Applicants to the Research Associateship Programs must have earned a Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D., D.V.M., or academically equivalent research doctorate before beginning tenure. 


Last updated: December 2015

Fields of Study:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics


  • United States

Program Type:

  • Professional Opportunity
  • Research


  • US Citizen
  • US National or Permanent Resident
  • Citizen of another country

Program Length:

  • Up to 3 years


  • Quarterly:Feb. 1, May 1, Aug. 1, Nov. 1 

Degree Level:

  • Graduate


  • Stipend + health insurance + travel and relocation allowance, varies by sponsor