Systems Research Scholars Program


Program Objective

The Systems Research Scholars Program (SRSP) is designed to help transform exceptionally talented and ambitious post-baccalaureate students into the next generation’s pioneers of interdisciplinary scientific research.

Through this two-year, fully funded program, highly motivated individuals from a variety of backgrounds will be mentored by faculty and immersed in scientific research at ISB.

Research scholars will plan and execute their own ideas as well as contribute to the ongoing science in their mentor’s lab, all the while being trained to think independently, design experiments, and hone skills that will help build a strong foundation for graduate studies and a life at the forefront of scientific research.


“Come to ISB if you are ambitious and eager to deeply engage yourself in a difficult problem at the edge of biological research,” said Abrar Abidi, the first-ever awardee of ISB’s Systems Research Scholars Program.

Read Story

Program Description

  • SRSP is a fully funded two-year training program for recent college graduates (within the past two years — applicants must have completed their bachelor’s degree by the program start date and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident).
  • Research mentor, who will host the scholar in his or her lab, will be selected based on the scholar’s preferences and alignment of research and training interests.
  • Scholar will be affiliated with the faculty mentor and report to the mentor who manages their day-to-day work and provides guidance for professional growth and development.
  • The scholar will research and define project scope in conjunction with mentor, taking into account the scholar’s background, strengths, interests and goals.
  • Scholars will receive a monthly stipend, health insurance and travel allowance.
  • Scholars will have access to ISB resources, including faculty, libraries and shared core facilities.


Program Timelines

(View Program Overview as PDF.)

Program Focus Areas

Program participants will conduct supervised research in a host laboratory using systems approach in one the following areas of research: Brain, Cancers, Cell Dynamics, Computational Biology, Environment, Infectious Disease, P4 Medicine, or Proteomics.

Program Key Features

Research Immersion
Participants will use systems-based, cross-disciplinary approaches to conduct research in a supportive environment and learn to become independent scientific thinkers and researchers.

Customized Experience
A smaller program size promotes intimate, personalized research trajectories for each scholar to optimize individual development.

Participants will contribute to publications and give talks at ISB’s various internal and external presentation platforms. Participants are provided with stipends to fund travel for speaking opportunities at major national or international conferences.

Participants are part of a close-knit group of multidisciplinary scientists, where each individual has an opportunity to work with multiple mentors of their choice.

Eligible Applicants

  • Must have graduated from a four-year accredited U.S. institution by the start of the program (applicants who have received their undergraduate degree within the last 24 months are eligible to apply)
  • Must have a strong academic record
  • Must have majored or minored in a STEM field with some prior research experience and a demonstrated interest in eventually pursuing a Ph.D. degree
  • Must have U.S. citizenship or U.S. permanent residency


Application and Selection Process

The application deadline is March 2, 2018. The application process includes:

Nomination Letter
To apply, students must be nominated with a letter of support by an individual with strong standing in the research and education community who can highlight a potential candidate’s attributes, such as:

  • Intellect and ability to cross multiple disciplines
  • Wet lab experience (if any) and research potential
  • Interest in computational and quantitative approaches
  • Personality and character

The nomination letter should also address the potential impact upon completion of this two-year program and applicant’s future career path and motivation for pursuing a Ph.D. degree.

Nominators should submit letters directly to srsp@systemsbiology.org by March 2.

Personal Statement 
In two pages or less, applicant should outline his/her research interests, career goals, and reasons for applying for training at ISB (also include names of preferred potential mentors at ISB).

Curriculum Vitae
Should include contact information, schools attended, dates and degrees received, education, relevant research experience, volunteer or community service activities, teaching/mentoring experience, leadership experience, honors and awards, presentations and publications, other work experience.

Two Additional References
Please include full name, title, phone number and email address.

In-person Interviews
Finalists will be invited to ISB for an in-person interview. During this visit, the candidate will have a chance to speak to ISB faculty, senior research scientists, and current program scholar(s). This is also an opportunity to learn more about the research at ISB and select a mentor.


To request an application package or if you have questions, please contact srsp@systemsbiology.org.

Key Dates

  • Applications open
  • Application deadline, March 2, 2018
  • Application review and finalists selection (March 16, 2018)
  • Finalists are informed and invited to ISB for in-person interviews (to be completed by March, 30, 2018)
  • Final SRSP scholar selection
  • Scholars informed (April 13)
  • Scholars scheduled to start on September 10, 2018


Watch a brief interview with ISB’s inaugural SRSP fellow Abrar Abidi