Inspire Fellowship

Inspiring the next generation of research leaders through inclusive, rigorous postdoctoral training

Diverse backgrounds, expertise and viewpoints are foundational to exceptional science and innovation. Van Andel Institute’s Inspire Fellowship is designed to enhance diversity and increase representation at VAI and in the broader biomedical research community by supporting postdoctoral fellows who identify as members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (as defined by the National Institutes of Health). The fellowship offers cutting-edge research training in the Institute’s labs, complemented by state-of-the-art Core Technologies and Services and a fellowship-specific professional development activity. Inspire Fellows will emerge from their time at VAI with comprehensive training in their field of interest and a professional foundation from which to launch their independent research careers.

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Questions? Please contact Dr. Erica Gobrogge, program director of VAI’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, at opa@vai.org.

Application Information

Fellowship Format

FAQ and Helpful Links

The application period for the Inspire Fellowship is open through December 1, 2021. Start your application by clicking “Apply Now” above.  

Eligibility: Applicants must be within 12 months of completing a Ph.D., M.D. or other appropriate terminal degree. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as members of an underrepresented racial and/or ethnic group as defined by the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to beginning the application, please prepare the following required materials:

  • Curriculum vitae or NIH-style biosketch.
  • Research statement: Include a brief overview of your scientific background, the current project you are working on, and how that connects to the research area(s) you are interested in exploring in postdoctoral research. The statement should be no more than two pages.
  • Three reference letters (one should be from your thesis advisor or a thesis committee member).
  • A list of VAI faculty members with whom you are interested working. If you have already spoken with a VAI faculty member about joining their lab or applied for one of our open postdoc positions, there will be space to indicate this on the application. This is encouraged but not required to apply to the Inspire Fellowship.

Please note, you may reuse these materials to apply for our Postdoc Preview (learn more here) and our Cancer Epigenetics Training Program (learn more here).

VAI’s Inspire Fellowship will support four postdoctoral fellows who identify as members of an underrepresented racial and/or ethnic group as they finish preparing to be independent research leaders in academia or industry.

Each fellowship provides $50,000 per year toward the Inspire Fellow’s salary. This support is renewable for up to two additional years (totaling three years).

Inspire Fellows also will form a cohort that meets for monthly professional development events.

Applications for VAI postdoc positions and the Inspire Fellowship are separate. Applicants for Inspire Fellowships should apply for a VAI postdoc position either before or at the same time as Inspire. Applicants may either directly apply to an open postdoc position or email a VAI faculty member whose research interests them to inquire about potential positions

Questions? Contact Dr. Erica Gobrogge, program director of VAI’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, at opa@vai.org.

Do I need to submit a separate employee application along with my Inspire Fellowship application?

Applicants who currently do not have a postdoctoral position at VAI should first submit the Inspire Fellowship application. Details on required materials may be found under the “Apply” tab. The application may be found here.

We encourage you to apply to any open postdoctoral positions of interest and/or contact faculty mentors of interest directly via email after you submit your Inspire Fellowship application. You may find open positions on VAI’s Career Center.

How many fellowships are available?

Four Inspire Fellowships are available. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2021.

Who reviews applications? When will I find out if I’m accepted?

Applications will be reviewed by the Inspire Fellowship steering committee, which is comprised of VAI faculty and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs leadership. We will notify all applicants regarding the outcome of their application no later than March 1, 2022.

I’m also interested in VAI’s Postdoc Preview and/or the Cancer Epigenetics Training Program Fellowship. How do I apply?

Applications for Postdoc Preview, the Cancer Epigenetics Training Program and the Inspire Fellowship are separate. However, applicants may reuse the same materials for each application (for example, you may reuse an Inspire Fellowship reference letter for the other applications). Please double check the application requirements for each program, as they may have additional required components.

See the requirements for the Postdoc Preview here and for the Cancer Epigenetics Training Program here. Please note, the deadline to apply for the Inspire Fellowship is December 1, 2021.

Helpful Links

VAI Postdoctoral Fellowships home

Postdoc Preview

Cancer Epigenetics Training Program

VAI Lab Directory

VAI Core Technologies and Services 

Careers and Benefits at VAI 

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