Medical Research

ICRF Frequently Asked Questions

For Students

Jump to FAQ's about: Eligibility, Timing of the Research Year, Application & Review Process, Letters of Support, Stipends, Taxes & Other Costs and Miscellaneous.


Who is eligible to apply?

ICRF is intended for medical students in good standing, currently enrolled at an accredited U.S. medical or an accredited U.S. osteopathic school.

Are M.D./Ph.D. students eligible to apply?

Yes, applicants in M.D./Ph.D. programs are eligible.

At what year do most students participate in this program?

Most students participate after completing their third year of medical school training.

Are fourth-year students eligible to apply?

Fourth-year students are eligible to apply and participate in ICRF. However, accepted fourth-year students must defer graduation before participation. It is very important that you check with your school of matriculation to see whether you may defer your graduation.

How does DDCF define “clinical research”?

Clinical research is the scientific investigation of the etiology, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of human disease using human subjects, human populations or materials of human origin. Included in the definition are studies that utilize tissues or pathogens only if they can be linked to a patient. In keeping with the wishes expressed in Doris Duke’s will, the Medical Research Program does not fund research that uses animals.

Timing of Research Year

How long is the International Clinical Research Fellowship?

Students must complete one year (12 months) of research.

When does the fellowship start and end?

In general, the ICRF period begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year, although other 12-month periods are acceptable if there are extenuating circumstances.

Application & Review Process

When is the application deadline?

Applications from students are due in January prior to the start of the fellowship year. The application website typically opens by November 1 of the preceding year.

Is it acceptable to apply to more than one ICRF school?

Yes. As this is a very competitive program, it is strongly encouraged that you apply to more than one ICRF school if you are seriously interested in participating in the program. You are not penalized for applying to more than one school.

How are the applications reviewed?

Applications are reviewed individually by each site hosting the program. There is no central review process based at the foundation.

Letters of Support

Who should write my letters of support?

The letters of support should be written by faculty members who are familiar with your academic performance and potential for conducting global clinical research.

Do the letters of support need to be written by a faculty member at my medical school?

No, letters of support can but do not have to be written by a faculty member at your medical school. Letters should be written by faculty members who are familiar with your academic performance and potential for global clinical research.

Will I be notified when my references complete the requested letters of support?

Once you provide the names of the dean and references that will write your letters of support, a red “x” will appear beside their name in the application. After the indicated person has submitted their letter, the red “x” will become a green check. You will also receive an email notification that the requested letter has been submitted.

May I submit more than two letters of support through the online system?

No. The online system only two letters of support, alongside the separate dean’s letter.

Can I change my selected reference after I submitted a request?

Yes. You are able to delete these entries if necessary. Please be aware that if you do so, an email is sent to that dean or faculty member with a notice that you have withdrawn that letter request. Make sure you are confident in your selections so that unnecessary emails are not distributed.

My application is complete except for receiving letters of support from my references. Can I submit my application?

Yes. To “Save and finalize” your application, it is only required that you list the names and submit your requests for the letters.

Stipends, Taxes & Other Costs

How much is the stipend?

ICRF participants receive an annual stipend of $30,000.

Is the ICRF stipend taxable?

Under the Internal Revenue Code, income received as a fellowship stipend is generally included in gross income for federal income tax purposes. Please note that fellows are responsible for establishing the amount of their taxable income and for making any required payments of estimated tax.

Are there additional costs associated with being an international fellow?

There may be some upfront costs in establishing yourself overseas that you should discuss with the ICRF school(s) to which you are applying. Schools must cover the cost of a round-trip flight to your destination.


Is health insurance provided?

Yes, all ICRF fellows are provided with individual health insurance.

Who arranges the logistics associated with working overseas (e.g., travel documents, flights, lodging, health insurance, or stipend)?

This varies with each ICRF institution. Please contact the ICRF school(s) of interest for complete information. If you are accepted, it is highly recommended that you start your logistical arrangements with your ICRF institution as soon as possible.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQ's, email with "ICRF" as the subject line. No phone calls please.