Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Am I eligible?

To be considered for the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP), you must meet eligibility criteria related to educational attainment, US citizenship/permanent residency status, and the duration of prior postdoctoral research experience. Refer to the eligibility requirements for details.

How do I apply?

You must apply through our online application process.

You are responsible for verifying that your application and supporting documentation have been received in time to meet the deadlines. You can log in to your account at any time to see if these materials have been received. See How to Apply for detailed instructions and important dates.

When is the deadline?

The deadlines for online application submission and for supporting documentation submission are listed below.

Item Applies To Deadline
Online Application All Applicants Tuesday, August 1, 2023 11:59 PM (U.S. Eastern Time)
Letters of Reference All Applicants Friday, August 11, 2023 11:59 PM (U.S. Eastern Time)
Letter of Assurance Doctoral degree candidates only Friday, August 11, 2023 11:59 PM (U.S. Eastern Time) 

Technical Support is now available Monday - Friday, from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. 
For support, please contact us at

What is the Fundación Inciensa (FUNIN)?

The CPFP has formed a collaborative training partnership with Costa Rica to develop the next generation of cancer prevention researchers. As part of this partnership, the CPFP is open to early-career scientists from Costa Rica who will pursue careers in cancer prevention in Costa Rica upon completion of the fellowship.

Please refer to the eligibility requirements for more information about applying through the partnership.

Who should write my letters of reference?

Letters of reference should be written by individuals in the scientific/academic community who have knowledge of your scientific accomplishments, motivation, skills, and potential for future leadership in your field. These individuals may include current or previous employers, professors, colleagues, and collaborators. Reference letters from peers are discouraged.

You must request current and original letters of reference from four individuals. The requests to your referees will be facilitated through your application account.

I have applied to the CPFP previously, can I simply update my previous application?

No, you must submit a new application and supporting documentation.

Can I update my online application after I've submitted it?

Except for updating your contact information, you cannot update your online application after it has been submitted, nor will any changes or updated material be accepted via electronic or postal mail.

After you have submitted your application, you may log into your account to update your mailing address, phone number(s), and/or email address.

What happens when I request supporting documentation from others for my application?

When you request supporting documentation through our online application system (e.g., letters of reference), several things happen:

  1. An email request is sent to the specified contributor. Therefore, please be sure that the email address you provide for the contributor is correct to reduce the possibility of problems.
  2. The request is recorded in our system. You can see information about the request and track the status of the request when you log into your application.
  3. Once the contributor uploads the requested document, you will receive an email confirming that we have received the document.

You are responsible for verifying that these materials are submitted by your contributors in time to meet the August 23rd deadline for supporting documentation.

How many applications do you receive and what is the acceptance rate?

On average, per year, we receive over 100 applications, interview about 25 candidates, and select 10-15 fellows to enter the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program.

Will I be interviewed in-person?

Candidates selected for interview will generally travel to Rockville, MD for an in-person interview with the Scientific Education Committee and CPFP directors. Tele-conferencing has also been used in the past for fellowship interviews.

Do I need to identify a mentor/preceptor before I apply to the program?

No, one of the distinctive aspects of the CPFP is that new fellows are provided a dedicated period of time after arriving at NCI during which to select a mentor or mentors that fit best with their individual needs (e.g., research interests, work style, career goals).

What research opportunities are available?

The major activity for Cancer Prevention Fellows is mentored research. Across organizational units at the NCI, there are ample opportunities to conduct novel projects related to cancer prevention. The NCI has a diverse array of research resources that can support both laboratory-based and population-based research. Prospective applicants can explore the work of various groups within NCI by exploring NCI’s website. While in the fellowship, all fellows are expected to develop original scientific projects and to disseminate their findings at scientific meetings and in peer-reviewed journals.

The CPFP also offers an Interagency Oncology Task Force Joint Fellowship (IOTF) Program that trains scientists in research and research-related regulatory review, policies, and regulations to develop a skill set bridging two disparate processes. The expectation is that the scientists in this program will gain an increased understanding of the FDA review process that will enable them to more efficiently develop and bring to market important new products for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

Is this a paid fellowship?

Yes, we follow the published NIH standard practices for setting the level of postdoctoral stipends.

Is it required that I get an M.P.H. during my first year of the fellowship?

That depends on your previous academic training. Fellows applying to the program with a sufficient background in public health, and with sufficient skills in areas such as epidemiology and biostatistics, do not need an M.P.H. and come directly into the fellowship with support of up to four years. Other fellows without this prior training (for example, those trained primarily in the basic sciences, behavioral sciences, medicine, or other disciplines) would need to obtain an M.P.H. during the first year of their fellowship. These decisions are generally straightforward and are made by the CPFP directors during the application process

Where would I get my M.P.H.?

Once accepted into the CPFP, each fellow who requires an M.P.H. (see FAQs above) is responsible for applying to accredited M.P.H. programs that can be completed in 12 months or less. Newly accepted fellows are free to seek advice from the CPFP directors and current and former fellows about the merits of specific programs. It is expected that all M.P.H. degree requirements will be completed by the start of the CPFP Fellows Orientation in June. Online M.P.H. programs are not permissible as an option.

Do fellows receive stipends during their M.P.H. year?

Yes, in addition to the CPFP paying the M.P.H. tuition, fellows receive their standard NIH stipends and benefits during their M.P.H. year.

Are Cancer Prevention Fellows required to be based on-site at the NCI in Maryland?

Yes, with the exception of the M.P.H. year, Cancer Prevention Fellows are required to be based on-site at NCI (or the FDA) in Maryland. Depending on the preceptor and group that the fellow chooses to work with, the location could be in Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, or Frederick, Maryland. In addition to facilitating the fellow’s research program, being located in Maryland also allows Cancer Prevention Fellows to take part in the regular training and career development activities provided through the CPFP.

Where are fellows employed after the fellowship?

Program graduates have secured employment at cancer centers, universities, government agencies, research firms, private industry, policy organizations, and in clinical practices.

Can I contact someone in the program to talk about whether the CPFP is the right potential fit for me?

Of course! We welcome the opportunity to speak with you. If you send your request to, someone will be in touch with you to set up an appointment to talk via phone.