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Alzheimer and Related Dementias Independent Scholars

The Alzheimer and Related Dementias Independent Scholars (ARDIS) Program provides an exciting and well-supported opportunity for early-career researchers to transition to an independent investigator position. The ARDIS Program provides early-career researchers a time-limited independent Principal Investigator (PI) appointment, generous resources, and access to research cores and infrastructure within CARD and the broader NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP).

What’s it like working at CARD?

Discover an example of the work – and impact – CARD staff make.

Read the CARD comic (PDF, 8M)
CARD Careers comic book cover
Young researchers in a library reviewing Alzheimer’s data on a laptop

CARD seeks applications for the ARDIS Program from highly motivated early-career scientists working in the field of AD/ADRD and/or neurodegeneration who have demonstrated experience in collaborative research, a demonstrated ability to work independently, and a strong commitment and vision for building a diverse scientific community. The successful candidate(s) will lead an independent research program that aligns with the scope and mission of CARD. For details about the CARD scientific themes and structural priorities, see CARD's Mission and Philosophy.

Who should apply?

The successful individual(s) must have a Ph.D. or M.D. in Neuroscience, or related fields, with relevant AD/ADRD or neurodegeneration research experience as evidenced in publications. Preferred candidates will have an enthusiasm for translational science in the related fields. It is essential that the candidates also possess a strong commitment to and evidence of promoting diversity. Candidates must be United States (U.S.) citizens or U.S. permanent residents. Eligible candidates include current NIH Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Research Fellows and non-FTE postdoctoral fellows, as well as candidates from outside NIH. At the time of application, candidates must have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral research experience in total, and internal NIH candidates must have less than 3 years of postdoctoral research experience at the NIH IRP.

Scholars in the ARDIS Program will be appointed as Research Fellows (FTE), with a time-limited appointment of three (3) years. ARDIS Scholars will be independent, non-tenure-track Principal Investigators (PIs). They will be scientifically independent from their previous mentor. The selected candidate will be allocated independent resources and will be invited to participate in faculty meetings and other NIA/NINDS activities along with tenure-track and tenured investigators. Scholars will be offered scientific independence, access to technology and expertise, and through the K22 mechanism, opportunities to compete for funding for their future career as a PI. Resources will include a standard operating budget and up to two (2) post-baccalaureate fellows or other time-limited technical staff (non-FTE) positions. Although ARDIS Scholars will be supervised by the CARD Director, they will interact with scientists from the IRP and scientific community at large and will independently manage their resources to conduct original research.

How do I apply?

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The candidate should first select members to serve on their mentoring committee from the approved ARDIS mentor list. Mentoring committees should consist of one primary mentor (PI), at least one secondary mentor (PI), and the third member may be an additional mentor (PI) or a technical expert, if desired, by the candidate based on their research. Candidates may propose NIH mentors not on this list for consideration by the CARD Director and NIA Scientific Director, if needed, for a specific area of research. Candidates, in consultation with their proposed mentoring committee, will design a research proposal and career development plan with milestones to be achieved during their time in the position. Applicants are also required to reach out to potential mentors to obtain the mentors’ signatures on the nomination cover sheet and career development plan prior to applying. For assistance with selecting appropriate mentors, requesting approval for a mentor who is not listed, or for general questions regarding the process and/or early feedback on the project scope, please contact Caroline Pantazis.

Application packages include:

  • Nomination Coversheet (PDF, 471K) (three ARDIS mentor signatures must be included; see above for details);
  • Curriculum Vitae/Biosketch, including a list of publications, mentoring and leadership activities, awards, etc.;
  • Evidence of direct involvement in mentoring and commitment to diversity through outreach activities for women and persons from other underrepresented groups in biomedical research (indicate specific activities or accomplishments to promote diversity and inclusion (up to one page);
  • A maximum three-page proposal titled “Research Goals” (i.e., the research the candidate hopes to perform at CARD in the space of AD/ADRD, consistent with the CARD mission), in consultation with ARDIS mentors;
  • A maximum one-page statement titled “Long-term Research Vision” (i.e., what the candidate hopes to achieve for themselves, the field of AD/ADRD, and society);
  • Career Development Plan (MS Word, 18.6K) in consultation with and co-signed by approved ARDIS mentoring committee members (not to exceed five pages);
  • Diversity statement (up to one page); and
  • Three professional letters of reference.

Salary is commensurate with research experience and accomplishments. A full Civil Service package of benefits (including retirement, health and life insurance, Thrift Savings Plan participation, etc.) is available. All employees of the Federal Government are subject to the conflict-of-interest statutes and regulations, including the Standards of Ethical Conduct. Additional information regarding CARD is available at the following website:

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled and will be reviewed on the 1st business day of each month. For questions, please contact Sarah Lewis, Supervisory Management Analyst; Office of the Scientific Director, National Institute on Aging; referencing Vacancy #CARD-23-04-SL by email at

DHHS and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers.

The NIH is dedicated to building a diverse community in its training and employment programs and encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.