Emory MSCR: Who Should Apply

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The Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) degree is designed for predoctoral trainees (medical students, PhD students, PharmD students), postdoctoral trainees (physician and PhD postdocs and PharmD residents), and junior faculty (MD, PhD, or PharmD) at Emory University (Emory), Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Pharmacy who have a commitment to a career in clinical and/or translational research.

MSM-based predoctoral and postdoctoral MSCR candidates apply at MSM to matriculate through MSM’s MSCR didactic and mentored research curriculum.

Predoctoral trainees from Emory (medical students, MD/PhD students, and PhD graduate students), MSM (medical students, MD/PhD students, and PhD graduate students) Georgia Tech (PhD graduate students) and UGA (PharmD and PhD graduate students in the College of Pharmacy) may apply through the Georgia CTSA TL1 Core program.

Predoctoral trainees currently supported by other NIH or federal T-level or F-level training grants are not eligible for the Georgia CTSA TL1 program, but may apply to the MSCR program supported with stipends and tuition costs provided by their specific training grants.

Postdoctoral trainees from Emory (resident or fellow physicians, PhD postdocs), MSM (resident or fellow physicians, PhD postdocs), Georgia Tech (PhD or equivalent training) and UGA (PharmD, PhD, or equivalent training-College of Pharmacy) may apply through the Georgia CTSA TL1 Core program.

Postdoctoral fellows currently supported by other NIH or federal T-level or F-level training grants are not eligible for the Georgia CTSA TL1 program, but may apply to the MSCR program supported with stipends and tuition costs provided by their specific training grants.

Emory MSCR: Application Instructions (for non TL1 and KL2 applicants)

If applying to KL2 please use instructions on KL2 application webpage.
If applying to TL1 please use instructions on TL1 application webpage.

All application components should be uploaded to online submission system (click to start). Once you have started submission by entering your name and email address, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to your MSCR application. You can use this link to upload and update your submission files. Please share your submission link with your Department Chair, Lead mentor, Co-lead mentor (if applicable), and Advisory committee members (if applicable) to upload Letters of Support.

1) Cover page (save link as document).

2) Personal statement (up to 2 pages maximum) to include the applicant’s training and research background and career goals, including how this training program and training afforded by the mentoring team will specifically enhance career development. Use Arial 11 font and 1.0 inch margins, single-spaced.

3) Curriculum vitae of the applicant in the form of an NIH-style predoctoral or postdoctoral biosketch. NIH Biosketch forms, instructions and examples are at this website: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm.  Note that the NIH-style biosketch for both predoctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows requires information on any prior research support awarded to the applicant, as well as prior scholastic performance (undergraduate and graduate school attended, science course titles, other course titles, year course take and final letter grade). Helpful slides for completing the NIH Biosketch are at: http://actsi.org/documents/training/NewNIHBiosketch_JanetGrossSlides.pdf

4) Current NIH-style biosketch of the proposed Lead Mentor. The personal statement of the lead Mentors’ biosketch must reflect commitment to the mentee and his/her specific project. The lead Mentor must be the Principal Investigator (PI) or a Multiple PI (MPI) or Program Director on at least one active federal grant at the time the applicant will begin the program (late August of each calendar year). The Lead Mentor’s grants can be from any federal agency, for example, the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DOD), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), among others.

5) Current NIH-style biosketch of co-mentors or Advisory Committee member(s). The personal statements of these must reflect commitment to the mentee and his/her specific project. The co-mentor team typically consists of 2-3 additional faculty members who will provide training in CTR to the applicant, in addition to the Lead Mentor.

6) NIH-quality research project MSCR thesis proposal involving human subjects, and may include human data from available databases is required.

The project must include the following required elements (use Arial 11 font and 0.5 inch margins). Information on preparing the required elements is provided, with examples, in the instructions for a predoctoral NIH F31 application at the NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases website at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/grants-contracts/smalls-mantey-sample-f31-application-summary-statement#saims. Required elements are: 

a) Title of proposal and investigators.  The applicant should include the title of the proposal, the applicant’s name and the name of the Lead Mentor (and their affiliation and title).

b) Abstract/Summary (250 word maximum) of the overall research project.

c) Specific Aims (one-page maximum) section that includes: a summary of the project (rationale/background, innovative aspects, brief overview of planned research and study population, including accessible datasets), a hypothesis statement, and 2 to 3 Specific Aims of the research project that briefly outline how each Aim will address the hypothesis/hypotheses.

d) Research Plan (up to 6 pages) that includes the following sections: Significance (1-2 pages), including any relevant preliminary data of the Lead Mentor and/or applicant; Innovation (up to 0.5 pages) that outlines the novelty of the project to the field; and Approach (3.5-4.5 pages) which details how the specific Aims are going to be addressed. The Approach section can also include preliminary data and must include information on the proposed research methods, study population (including inclusion/exclusion criteria and details on any human subject databases that may be used), a statistical analysis plan (developed in conjunction with a biostatistician, as needed), including a power analysis, if applicable, a brief description of the mentoring team and their expertise, and a comment on expected results/pitfalls/solutions with regard to the executing the Specific Aims and interpretations of study results.

e) Bibliography focused/no page limit with citations in numerical order from the Research Plan.

f) Protection of Human Subjects section (no page limit, see NIAID F31 example link above). This section outlines hazards/risks/discomforts to research subjects, if applicable, and methods to be employed to mitigate such risks.

g) Inclusion of Women, Children and Minorities brief statement should be provided which outlines any exclusion of these groups and the rationale in the research project.

h) Facilities section (no page limit, see NIAID F31 example link above) which outlines the intellectual, educational and physical resources available to the applicant through the Lead mentor, mentoring team and institution relevant to the proposed project.

i) Equipment section (no page limit, see NIAID F31 example link above) which outlines any equipment available to the applicant through the Lead mentor, mentoring team and institution relevant to the proposed project.

j) Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) statement (0.25-0.5 pages) which outline required in-person and other training (e.g. on-line) RCR training. Once source of in-person RCR training is the 1-credit Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues of Responsible CTR MSCR 593 coursed required of both MSCR and CPTR trainees.

7) Letters of recommendation including:

  • letter from the trainee’s proposed faculty Lead Mentor. The letter from the Lead Mentor, must indicate willingness to serve as the applicant's research mentor for the MSCR thesis or CPTR programs. The Lead Mentor’s letter should also include a brief outline of the proposed research project and indicate that he/she has reviewed the applicant's proposed research project summary prior to its submission.  The Lead Mentor’s letter should indicate an understanding that their attendance will be required for the thesis defense presentations by the applicant to the Georgia CTSA Research Education Executive Committee. The mentor's letter should indicate that he/she will provide feedback regarding the Independent Development Plan (IDP) and meet with a Georgia CTSA Research Education leadership mentor with the mentee at least yearly to document academic progress. In addition, as each Georgia CTSA TL1 Core-funded trainee will be required to submit an external federal grant within one year of starting the program, the lead Mentor’s letter should confirm his/her commitment to assist in the trainee's required grant application for extramural federal funding.
  • letter from co-mentor (if applicable);
  • additional letter of recommendation from the candidate’s Division or Program Director, Chair, or Dean of Students;
  • letter from Advisory Committee members (if applicable).

8) Application fee (if your application is successful) in the amount of $75.00 payable to Emory University (unless currently enrolled at Emory University) AND original transcripts (if your application is successful) in sealed envelopes from each post-secondary institution you have attended. The transcripts are for the Laney Graduate School per SACS requirements. Transcripts must be in English or accompanied by notarized translations. Please hand-deliver to the Georgia CTSA MSCR program office:

Cheryl Sroka
Rm 6.112, 1599 Building
1599 Clifton Road NE
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30322

Please use link to online submission system to upload your Emory MSCR application files.

Mentors: Each trainee must identify a Lead Mentor who is an established, independently funded clinical and/or translational investigator at one of the collaborating institutions (Emory, MSM, Georgia Tech or UGA). Lead mentors should be established and successful clinical and/or translational investigators with a strong mentoring track record. Generally this means that the lead investigator must be a federally funded investigator (e.g., NIH, CDC, VA, DOD, USDA, AHRQ, or CMS). A faculty mentor may only serve as lead mentor for a single applicant. A strong letter of support from the Lead Mentor indicating their willingness and commitment to serve as the trainee's Lead Mentor, including providing support as needed in order to complete the MSCR project should be included in the candidate's application. All trainees must have mentored clinical and/or translational research training under the direction of their Lead Mentor. Additional co-mentors or Advisory Committee members are permitted; however, there must be a single Lead Mentor that is identified. Multidisciplinary mentoring teams are strongly encouraged, as is having representation from at least two of the Georgia CTSA partners on the mentoring team or Advisory Committee (Emory, MSM, or Georgia Tech, UGA) if appropriate. Important points regarding the Lead Mentor’s letter of support are noted above.

Selection process:  Applications to the Georgia CTSA MSCR program will be reviewed by a review panel or “study section” that follows an NIH grant-style review format. The review panels will include faculty from all of the partner institutions including members of the Georgia CTSA Research Education Executive Committee. In addition, other ad hoc members will include relevant faculty, NIH K-grant or equivalent federally funded junior faculty, and other faculty members who have received NIH funding. The Director, Henry Blumberg, MD, will chair the review panels.  Guidelines to avoid conflict of interest will be utilized.  Selection criteria include: 1) potential of the candidate to develop into a successful clinical/translational investigator; 2) evidence of commitment on part of the applicant’s Lead Mentor, multidisciplinary mentoring team, and the experience and success of the lead mentor in mentoring trainees, as well as strength of the required letters of support; 3) the quality and feasibility of the proposed hypothesis-driven research project and the training/career development plan and 4) diversity to encourage training of candidates from different departments and from under-represented minority groups.   Each application is scored using a NIH-style scoring system (1 to 9 scale).  Written reviewer evaluations and summary of the discussion of the study section are provided to all applicants.  The applicant will be notified if any further information is needed before a decision about admission into the program can be made. The Georgia CTSA Research Education Executive Committee and Emory's Laney Graduate School make the final decision regarding admission into the MSCR program. The Georgia CTSA Education Program office will issue a letter of acceptance.

The MSCR didactic course curriculum is expected to be completed within one year and over a 1-2 year period for trainees supported by T-level or F-level training grants. The MSCR degree process includes a mentored research project that is should be completed within 2 years of entering the program. 

PhD or PharmD/MSCR dual degree track: This dual degree track provides the opportunity to integrate clinical and translational research training into established doctoral degree programs in the Emory Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS), the Emory Laney Graduate School, the Emory Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH), the Emory School of Nursing (SON), the joint Emory-Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering (BME) program, other Georgia Tech engineering programs, the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) PhD Biomedical Sciences program and the UGA College of Pharmacy PharmD and PhD predoctoral programs. The MSCR program for predoctoral students is designed to begin after the required rotations, courses, and qualifying examinations are successfully completed (e.g. generally beginning after the second or third year of graduate school). The MSCR program is expected to add only one year to the typical doctoral graduate program training period. A process outlined in the TL1 overview and application web site selects all MSCR applicants.

Core Didactic Training: PhD or PharmD/MSCR dual degree candidates will complete the 30 credits of the MSCR required core curriculum (see below) while maintaining four research dissertation credits per semester in their graduate programs. The MSCR thesis will not be required of PhD/MSCR or MD/PhD trainees because of their PhD dissertation. The afternoon courses (generally 1 PM-5 PM) Monday-Thursday will need to be taken during the course of a full academic year (late August through early May); trainees will have a limited amount of time during this period to also pursue a clinical and/or translational research project. Requirements of the graduate school of the trainee’s respective institution must also be completed satisfactorily.  

PhD or PharmD/MSCR Program Expectations: The goal of this integrated training is for graduates to pursue long-term careers in multidisciplinary clinical/translational research as leaders and members of multidisciplinary research teams in academic, industry, or other settings. This includes preparing trainees to be competitive for Assistant Professor positions at excellent academic medical centers and universities or colleges as well as positions at federal agencies such as NIH, FDA, and CDC and for clinical/translational research careers in industry, foundations and in government agencies. These expectations will be facilitated by professional development activities during training that includes didactic classroom training. Predoctoral MSCR trainees are expected to submit a career development training grant (e.g. NIH K-series or F31 or F32 grant, National Science Foundation, or foundation grants) as part of the required MSCR scientific and grant writing course.

During the MSCR training period, PhD and PharmD students will continue to participate in programmatic responsibilities of their graduate program including seminars, ethics training, close interaction, and meetings with their mentors and research supervisory committee, etc. The MSCR program MSc degree is awarded concomitant with PhD or PharmD graduation.

MD/MSCR dual degree track: This dual degree track provides the opportunity to integrate clinical and translational research training into established medical school MD programs at Emory and MSM. MSCR training for medical students occurs only via the Georgia CTSA TL1 Core program, as outlined in TL1 overview and application web site.

MD/MSCR Program Expectations. The goal of this integrated training is for physician-scientists to pursue long-term careers in multidisciplinary clinical/translational research as leaders and members of multidisciplinary research teams in academic settings. Although medical students from Emory and MSM are taking a one-year leave of absence from medical training for MSCR training, will continue to participate in programmatic responsibilities of their medical program including seminars, ethics training, close interaction, and meetings with their mentors and research supervisory committee, etc. The MSCR program MSc degree is awarded concomitant with MD graduation.

Postdoctoral fellow MSCR degree track. This track provides the opportunity to integrate clinical and translational research training into postdoctoral training for physicians and non-physicians with doctorate degrees (e.g. MD, PhD, PharmD or equivalent). MSCR training for postdoctoral fellow occurs only via the Georgia CTSA TL1 Core program or non-TL1 training programs (e.g. NIH T- and F-grants), as outlined in TL1 overview and application web site.

Questions: We encourage interested MSCR candidates to contact the Georgia CTSA education program leadership for questions and assistance with the application process. Questions on the application process can be directed to Cheryl Sroka, Georgia CTSA Research Education Program Coordinator (csroka@emory.edu or 404.727.5096).  For questions, especially technical issues, or problems with the online submission website please contact Alexey Kurbatov (akurbat@emory.edu).

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