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NEI Sabbatical Program

Selection Process

Tenured investigators are eligible for a sabbatical. In exceptional circumstances, tenure-track investigators, staff scientists and staff clinicians may apply. It is expected that scientists will take advantage of such a program at most once every six years.

Candidates are invited to submit a research proposal that will be reviewed by two NIH experts outside of NEI on the basis of the following criteria: (1) the potential for professional growth and career development and for benefit to the NEI mission; (2) the quality and novelty of the scientific project; (3) the suitability of the hosting research facility to provide the scientific environment appropriate to the proposed study; (4) the accomplishments of the candidate, including publications, honors, grants, and services to the scientific community such as participation in grant review and editorial boards, and (5) the mentoring record of the candidate.


The application should include the following:

  1. A recommendation letter from the investigator's supervisor
  2. A three to four page proposal that contains:
    • a description of the project to be undertaken and the scope of work
    • the anticipated gains from the experience and relationship to individual's career development
    • a rationale for the selection of the institution and the sponsor,
    • a curriculum vitae and bibliography
    • details on how the NEI Laboratory/Section activities will be maintained during the sabbatical period
    • the approximate dates of departure and return
  3. An invitation letter from the host institution

Duration and Funding

Sabbaticals are for periods of three to twelve months, maximum. Requests for periods shorter than three months will be examined case by case. Financial support includes full salary and benefits, and one round-trip travel. An additional allowance equivalent to a 6 weeks housing per diem at the maximum will be considered. No intramural money will be directly transferred to the research institution. Sabbaticals at foreign institutions must be cleared by DHHS and by the Departments of State. Final decisions about funding will be made by the Director and Scientific Director.

Reporting Requirements

Upon return, each tenured scientist will write a report describing his/her research accomplishments while on sabbatical and will present a seminar at NEI describing these accomplishments. The scientist’s accomplishments while on sabbatical will also be featured in the Institute Eye Contact electronic brochure.

The page was last updated on Monday, March 23, 2015 - 10:42pm