Program Objectives

What is the goal of the IRI program?

The Implementation Research Institute is an intensive learning collaborative of early stage implementation researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH 3R25MH08091606), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This unique interdisciplinary training program aims to help researchers launch a research career in implementation science in mental health.

IRI seeks to contribute to the scientific development of scholars developing a career in implementation research through training, mentorship and enhancing professional networks in this field. The program provides experiential learning, didactic training, faculty mentoring, and support for grant writing—all focused on helping participants shape an R01-level research project for competitive external funding.

The program seeks to complement and build upon mentoring relationships in your home institution. Because implementation research is a relatively new field, investigators seeking to grow in this area may not have a critical mass of mentorship or peer support in their home institutions. The IRI seeks to fill this gap.

What are the benefits of participating in IRI?

IRI participants can expect to experience five tangible benefits.

1) The in-residence training in St. Louis will focus on conveying rigorous, up-to-date, and leading edge concepts in implementation research that can be immediately applied to research projects and grant applications.

2) Regular mentoring with an IRI faculty member will provide expert support and guidance to your research projects and implementation science career development.

3) An in-person visit to an active implementation research project in the field will expose you to the leadership and project functioning led by one of the nation’s leading implementation research

Principal Investigators and teams. to complement existing mentoring resources.

4) The IRI program will provide exposure to models of leadership to this science and its research infrastructure skills for research leardership in your own institution and nationally.

5) Participation will build long-lasting relationships within the IRI network that can help support professional and growth.

Is IRI a post-doctoral fellowship?

No. This program does not confer an appointment or position with Washington University in St. Louis. We offer additional, complementary training for individuals who are in post-doctoral programs or who hold faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level.

Application Process

Is this a rolling admissions program?

IRI has a hard deadline for complete applications for each application cycle. Please find the program application information on the “Apply” page. When actively funded, IRI usually opens its application period in late fall, with an application deadline of mid-January.

How many letter of reference should I submit with my application?

You will submit (2) reference letters total: 1 letter of support from your primary mentor at your home institution & 1 additional letter of recommendation from someone in the role of supervisor or department chair.

Who should the Letter of Recommendation come from?

We strongly suggested the letter of recommendation come from a mentor or supervisor who can speak to your potential as an investigator in mental health implementation research as well as the ways in which you can benefit from this program.

To whom should the recommendation letters be addressed to?

You can address the recommendation letters to the “IRI Review Committee.”

Which version of the biosketch should I use?

Please use the most recent non-fellowship NIH Biosketch. You can find instructions and template here:

Eligibility and Selection

I do not reside in St. Louis. Am I eligible to participate in this program?

IRI welcomes trainees from any area who are eligible to submit NIH grant proposals.

Do I need to have a doctorate level degree to apply to the program?

Yes. You must hold a doctorate level degree (e.g. MD, PhD, PharmD, DrPH, DO, etc.).

When do I need to have a doctorate level degree by?

You must have your degree by the time of application deadline.

What is meant by an early career researcher?

We use the NIH definition for early stage investigators (ESI) found here. Additionally, please review the list of NIH grants which a PI can hold and still retain their ESI status here. An applicants eraCommons profile must list them as an ESI in order to be considered for an IRI fellowship.

What are the selection criteria?

We seek scholars who have high potential for success as independently funded researchers conducting impactful research. We also seek individuals who will act as effective champions for implementation research in mental health services, and those who demonstrate potential for scientific leadership. We anticipate a diverse cohort who will complement each other in topic, perspectives, regions and approaches.

I am not affiliated with a University, can I still apply?

Yes. Individuals primarily involved in knowledge generation and research in non-governmental organizations, governments, public health agencies and multi-national agencies are encouraged to apply.

I am not a US Citizen, can I still apply?

Yes. We welcome applications from both national and international researchers. Applicants who are not US citizens or permanent residents will need to ensure that their applications clearly state the justification for their application to IRI, demonstrating the “exceptional relevance to NIH” their proposed research and research training. To help inform justification of exceptional relevance to NIH, applicants should refer to the following documents: 1) NIMH strategic plan, 2) other NIH high priority calls for applications, and 3) statements by the NIMH Director Dr. Josh Gordon.

Can I reapply if I’m not selected?

Yes, we welcome reapplications. Many of our fellows have reapplied once or twice.

Can I apply if I’ve never submitted a grant?

No. We accept applicants only from individuals who have submitted a prior grant application to a federal funder, regardless of the outcome of that submission. Your grant need not have received funding. We build upon and aim to enhance skill in submitting successful implementation research proposals but we are not equipped to provide basic grant writing skills.

What do reviewers look for?

Successful applications will address a high priority implementation challenges in behavioral health, one that aligns with the strategic plans and priorities of the NIH, specifically NIMH and NIDA, and the Veteran’s Health Administration.

Materials should reflect grant writing experience, a track record of publications related to mental health implementation, ability to benefit from mentorship and transdisciplinary collaboration, and potential for research leadership.

The concept paper should reflect knowledge of current literature, employing basic implementation research methods and concepts, and should demonstrate potential to advance the field.

Program Details

How long is the program period?

The IRI program period is 24 months.

Does this program provide salaries for trainees?

No, we cannot not offer salary support for trainees.

How much time will I need to spend in St. Louis as a participant?

Participants are required to attend our annual week long Institute on campus at Washington University in St. Louis each year for two years (for a total of two weeks).

What are the out of pocket costs to IRI fellows?

There are no out of pocket expenses for IRI fellows. Travel reimbursement for the annual Institute each summer, as well as to the learning site visit is reimbursed by the IRI.

What are the dates of the annual Institute?

The next Institute is planned for June 10-14, 2024. June 2025 dates are TBD.