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Tenure and Tenure Track
The primary purpose of an NIH fellowship or clinical associateship is to provide time-limited research training and career development opportunities to postdoctoral scientists. At the end of the training period, the majority of fellows will leave NIH to pursue careers at institutions in the United States or abroad; however, some intramural fellows may be selected to compete for permanent positions as tenured independent investigators. Tenure at NIH consists of a permanent position and a long-term commitment of salary, personnel, and the research resources needed to conduct an independent research program within the scope of the Institutes' mission.
Intramural scientists obtain tenure in one of two ways: (1) the scientist is recruited from outside NIH for a tenured position after having compiled an extensive research record at another institution or (2) the scientist enters a tenure-track position after extended research experience at NIH or elsewhere. This experience should be sufficiently extensive to allow thorough evaluation of an individual's potential as a tenure-track scientist. In both cases, the position is recommended by the Board of Scientific Counselors and Laboratory Chief and approved by the Scientific Director of the NIAMS Intramural Research Program and the Director of NIAMS.
Candidates for both tenure and tenure-track positions are selected by a search committee and approved by the Deputy Director of Intramural Research, NIH. Tenure-track candidates are given 6 years to establish themselves as independent scientists before being evaluated for tenure. The Board of Scientific Counselors reviews the candidate's performance and qualifications for tenure at the midpoint of the tenure-track clock and decides whether the candidate should be continued in tenure-track, dropped from track, or advanced for tenure decision.
Regardless of the route by which an individual gains eligibility for a tenured position, the tenure candidate will come before the NIAMS Promotions and Tenure Committee, which advises the Scientific Director of the IRP, on whether to grant tenure. If the committee recommends tenure and the Scientific Director concurs, the request is forwarded to the NIH Central Tenure Committee, which is chaired by the Deputy Director for Intramural Research, NIH, for approval.
Reviewed January 11, 2013