INVEST Drug Use and Addiction Research Fellowship

Special Application Deadline: April 1
Annual Application Deadline: October 1

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Program INVEST Drug Use and Addiction Research Fellowship combines postdoctoral research training in the United States with professional development activities and grant-writing guidance to form a unique program for drug use and addiction scientists. Fellows may conduct their research in any aspect of the biomedical or behavioral science of drug use and addiction. Previous fellows have conducted research in all aspects of drug use and addiction, including basic biological and behavioral research, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment. Fellows and their mentors are encouraged to develop jointly and seek funding for a collaborative research project to be conducted in the fellow’s home country. Fellows and their U.S. mentors are part of a network of international scientists who exchange information and collaborate on drug use and addiction research nationally, regionally, and globally.

What Does the Fellowship Include?

The 12-month fellowship provides:

  • Rigorous postdoctoral research training with a NIDA grantee at a U.S. institution.
  • Professional development activities that help you establish personal relationships with NIDA grantees and NIDA officials who are willing to continue working with you after you return home.
  • A stipend for living and personal expenses, and an allowance to cover the cost of health insurance and professional development activities. The fellowship also provides air travel, for the fellow only, at the beginning and end of the fellowship.
  • Fellows may apply to renew the fellowship once.

Who Is Eligible?

The requirements for INVEST applicants are:

  • An earned doctoral degree in medicine, public health, or biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences.
  • Postdoctoral research experience, including a demonstrated ability to engage in independent research (recommended 2 years of experience).
  • Written assurance from an institution in the home country that there is a position to which the applicant can return after completing the fellowship.
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English.
  • Citizenship or permanent residency in a country other than the United States.
  • Living and working outside the United States at the time the application is submitted.
  • Eligibility for the J-1 visa to enter the United States.

Who Is Eligible To Be a Mentor?

Your mentor must be a NIDA-funded researcher in the United States. The mentor’s NIDA-funded grant must be active throughout the proposed fellowship period.

How Can I Find a Mentor?

First, write a brief summary of your goals for the fellowship. Outline your proposed research question, the scientific methods you will use to answer that question, and the data needed to complete your investigation. List the skills, techniques, or methods you wish to learn or improve during your fellowship.

This exercise will help you identify the search terms you can use to identify potential mentors. Search the RePORTER database of research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), review peer-reviewed publications indexed by PubMed, consult the Postdoctoral Drug Use and Addiction Research Fellow and Mentor Chart, or contact the NIDA International Program at

Before contacting a potential mentor, you should:

  • Update your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to ensure your information is current.
  • Confirm your eligibility for the fellowship by emailing the NIDA International Program at
  • Learn more about the potential mentor you’ve identified, including scientific discipline and specific research interests, by reviewing the potential mentor’s publications, research background, and professional website.

When emailing a potential mentor:

  • Discuss how your proposed research project is compatible with the mentor’s research.
  • Provide information about your eligibility, educational and professional background (include your CV and list of publications), and the goals of your fellowship and research project.
  • Do not contact more than two or three potential mentors at the same time.

What Materials Should I Use To Prepare My Application?

Assembling your INVEST application requires careful and thorough coordination between you and your mentor. Instruction and example application materials for the fellowship include:

In addition to completing the online application forms, you must upload a detailed research plan and your mentor must upload a statement approving the plan and discussing how the research and fellowship plans were developed. You are responsible for writing the research plan, and your mentor must review and approve your plan before you upload it. These documents are the most important parts of the Fellowship application and should demonstrate collaboration between you and your mentor.

How Should I Apply?

You and your mentor must submit your individual portions of the fellowship application online. Application components include:

  • A completed electronic application form, which includes the uploaded research plan and mentor statement.
  • A completed Reference Report Form and a letter of recommendation from two professional references. The letters of recommendation should be on the references’ official institution letterhead. The references must email the completed Reference Report Form and letter of recommendation directly to the NIDA International Program at
  • The applicant must submit a Certification of doctoral degree(s) (including English translation if necessary). The Certification must be emailed directly to the NIDA International Program at
  • The applicant must submit a letter providing assurance of a future position with the applicant’s current employer; the letter should be on the employer’s official letterhead. The letter of assurance must be emailed directly to the NIDA International Program at
  • The mentor must submit a letter from an institution representative confirming the institution as a sponsor of the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and the institution’s eligibility to prepare and issue the requisite Form DS-2019 for the INVEST applicant and his/her dependents. The Exchange Visitor Program sponsor confirmation letter must be emailed directly to the NIDA International Program at

You and your mentor must complete all sections of the electronic application form and upload the research plan and the mentor statement by 4:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on or before the deadline for the application period. All additional supporting documents (e.g. certification of doctoral degree, references, etc.) must be submitted by email on or before the deadline for the application period.

Special Application Deadline: April 1
Special Notification of Award: June 1

Annual Application Deadline: October 1
Annual Notification of Award: December 1

For assistance, email the NIDA International Program at

Additional Materials

Download the sample application form and instructions for the Fellowship.