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New to NCI: Information for New Trainees and Fellows

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Welcome to NCI - we're excited that you are here. These materials support your NCI fellowship orientation.

Trainee Orientations

To welcome you to the NIH, trainee orientations are held monthly on both the Bethesda and Frederick campuses, usually once per quarter. 

To register, ask your Administrator Officer (AO) to sign you up for the orientation. Administrative information is required on the registration site. You will receive a confirmation email with logistical information the week before the orientation.

The general orientation session presents an overview of the NCI organizational structure/policies and NCI computer services. Orientation for fellows whose lab is on the Bethesda campus (Bethesda Fellows) is held in conjunction with the general NCI Orientation. Orientation for fellows whose lab is on the Frederick campus (Frederick Fellows) addresses fellow-specific topics and includes an FYI Committee presentation.                          

Each orientation will provide you with information on Fellowship awards (including stipends, taxes, and benefits), non-FTE policies, NIH/NCI training resources and services, and information about the CCR Fellows and Young Investigators (FYI) Committee members activities/training opportunities.

Electronic Individual Development Plan (eIDP)

To assist you along your career path, you are required to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP). NCI has implemented an electronic Individual Development Plan (eIDP), which has replaced the paper training plan.  The eIDP is designed to help you to organize and summarize your research projects and related deliverables (like manuscripts and talks), set training goals and expectations based on your research and career aspirations, and track your progress throughout your fellowship.  You will receive an automated email from the eIDP system when it is time to complete your training plan. 

For additional information about the eIDP, please refer to the FAQs, at-a-glance overview, or the eIDP User Guide.  A Brief Guide for completing your initial eIDP will help you get started.  If you have any questions, please contact one of the eIDP coordinators at


Stipend and Tax Information

Fellows are paid monthly through the Fellowship Payment System (FPS), always on the first business day of the month. Stipends are set in accordance with the stipend categories, which can be found in Appendix 1 of the Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) manual.

Federal and state taxes are not withheld from your stipends; you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS and to the specific state in which you reside while you are working at NIH. The procedures for filing quarterly estimated Federal taxes can be found using Publication 505 (2018), Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. A 1099G tax form will be distributed to you by late January/early February. To assist you with filing your taxes, CRTA Tax Seminars are held on both the Bethesda and Frederick campuses. A tax consultant will be available to offer guidance on the filing process.

For Visiting Fellows, Federal taxes are withheld unless your home country is exempted by a tax treaty with the US. However, state taxes are not withheld from your stipends, so you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments to the state. A 1042S tax form will be distributed to you by mid-March. 

Rules and Regulations

Most fellows who come to NIH are familiar with working in a university setting. However, working for the federal government is different in many ways, and oftentimes, fellows may not realize that all government employees, including non-FTE trainees, are required to abide by ethical guidelines regarding leave, awards, travel, and outside activities. Please see the current Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) manual for more information, including stipends.

  • Vacation/Sick Leave: CRTA Fellows are not employees and so they do not earn annual or sick leave. However, at the discretion of the mentor, a CRTA Fellow may be excused for the following: 1) Federal holidays, 2) illness, 3) personal emergencies, and 4) vacations when awards are for more than 90 days.  CRTA Fellows should receive a minimum of two weeks excused absence annually for vacations.
  • Travel: Payment of travel to attend scientific meetings or to train at a remote site is at the discretion of the NCI and is subject to availability of funds.  This process generally takes several months of advance planning and requires approval by your advisor.
  • Maternity Leave: CRTA Fellows will be granted eight weeks of paid, full time, excused absence for the birth or adoption of a child, with flexibility being determined by the mentor.

Links to Additional Resources

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