The UK College of Medicine Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) program has been funded since 2001. Directors are seeking applications from faculty interested in participating in the BIRCWH training program designed to enhance and strengthen the research careers of junior faculty. BIRCWH Scholars receive training, collaborative opportunities, and mentoring experiences that enable them to develop independent research programs in women's health. The selection process is competitive. Scholars selected to participate in this comprehensive program will be required to commit 75% of their professional time to BIRCWH program.

Call for Applications!

Scholar applications are now being accepted.  Applications are due by 11:59pm on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

The NIH BIRCWH program is designed to enhance and strengthen the research careers of junior faculty.

The goal of BIRCWH is to train and support junior faculty to become independent and funded women's health researchers.

  • For BIRCWH Scholars Only: this NIH funding grant covers 75 percent of professional time to focus on research. 

Please see below for proposal requirements.


  • Positions will begin: August 1, 2024
  • All positions are 24 months
  • Directors welcome applications for tenure track title series

What's included in the Application?

  • Propose your mentoring team (primary mentor at UK, additional mentors at UK or other universities)
  • A brief research proposal to serve as the needed pilot data for a K or R grant submission
  • Current CV
  • Letter from your department chair and mentors

Please contact Emily Clear ( with any questions.

BIRCWH has been a tremendously positive experience and I would encourage any junior faculty at UK who have an interest in women's health research to consider it, from supporting the research but also making incredible collaborations going forward.

Christal Badour, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychology

What is the BIRCWH?

The BIRCWH is a $2.5 million NIH grant awarded to the College of Medicine to provide career development and mentoring opportunities for junior faculty interested in research related to women's health. 


What are the goals of BIRCWH?

Provide state of the art training in research relevant to women's health that will ensure that junior faculty establish independent research careers;

  • Facilitate and encourage ongoing and new collaborations in focused but interactive areas that are essential to improving women's health, and
  • Provide in-depth and broad experiences with a primary mentor and other faculty who will enrich the research experience.


Positions Available Through the BIRCWH Program

UK BIRCWH supports selected junior faculty in two positions: Scholars and Associates. 

  • Four scholars are supported by the NIH and are guaranteed that 75 percent of their time will be protected for research based on this federal funding.
  • Currently, six associates participate in the BIRCWH program. Associates' training in the BIRCWH program parallels that of scholars in that associates participate in the same training and mentorship. Protected research time is supported by UK.


Who is Not Eligible to be a BIRCWH Scholar/Associate?

  • Scholars/associates may not have served as the principal investigator or equivalent on an NIH research project (RO1), Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01), Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08) or their equivalent, a subproject of a program project (PO1) or center grant (P50, U54), or equivalent PHS research grant awards.
  • Scholars/associates may not accept or hold any other PHS award that duplicates the provisions of this career award. Preference will be given to candidates in regular title series appointments (i.e. non Research track series).



During their tenure as a BIRCWH Scholar/Associate, participants are required to apply for independent research grant support.  When a BIRCWH Scholar/Associate obtains a federally funded extramural award, they will be considered to have successfully completed the BIRCWH training and graduate from the program.  Although NIH requires that BIRCWH salary support be terminated when a scholar receives extramural funding, scholars may continue to participate in the training and mentoring aspects of the BIRCWH program.

Regular BIRCWH meetings take place on Wednesday mornings between the hours of 8:30 and 10 a.m.


Who will provide oversight for the program?

The PI, Thomas Curry, PhD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Ann Coker, PhD, Professor and Endowed Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Phil Kern, MD, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine will provide general oversight for the program.  An Advisory Committee is responsible for reviewing the activities of the scholars and their mentors. Regular interactions with mentors will provide direction and leadership to each participant. Each scholar's progress will also be monitored through meetings with the program PIs.


Program Requirements

  • Attend and participate in a variety of learning opportunities including the BIRCWH Seminar Series, journal clubs, Clinical Research Seminar Series, and Reproductive Forum,
  • Interact with other program participants to enhance the quality and interdisciplinary nature of Women's Health research,
  • Complete periodic progress reports to be submitted to the BIRCWH Directors.


What to Include in the Application

Applicants for the BIRCWH program must submit:

  • A letter explaining why the applicant is interested in research in general and in women's health research in particular. This letter (one page maximum) should include a statement of the applicant's professional goals specifically related to women's health.  Please specify interest in Scholar or Associate position.
  • An indication of interest in a position as a scholar or associate.
  • A two-page letter of intent (LOI) letter outlining their women’s health research plans (format below).
  • A recent curriculum vitae.
  • For Scholars Only: A letter of support from the departmental chair committing to allocate 75 percent of the applicant’s professional time if selected as a BIRCWH Scholar.
  • For Associates: A letter of support from the departmental chair. 
  • Three letters of support from people who can attest to the applicant’s interest in and passion for research and specifically in WOMEN’S HEALTH. One of these letters may be from the applicant’s potential mentor, if the mentor has been selected at this early stage.
  • A mentorship plan (one page maximum) containing the names of proposed mentors and their potential role as a part of your mentoring team should you be selected to join the BIRCWH program.
  • A detailed budget based on NIH R01 formatting. Selected Scholar(s) will have $20-$25K to support their research. These funds will come from the NIH BIRCWH training grant. We request a budget to ensure that your BIRCWH project is feasible within the 12 month scope and this funding level. 

Please contact Emily Clear ( with any questions. All applicants will be considered on an individual basis. Candidates will be interviewed prior to making final decisions. Opportunities to participate in the program are limited.


The Two-Page LOI should be assembled in the following order:

1. Project title (Full Project Title required)
2. Research objectives, specific aims- Provide concise, clear statements regarding anticipated outcomes of the proposed research and how it will add to existing knowledge or create value.
3. Brief background and preliminary data (If Available)
4. A paragraph describing study design, methodology, and outcomes
5. Project milestones - Project milestones are manuscript and grant submissions as well as IRB or IACUC submissions tied to the proposed BIRCWH project.
6. Describe how your BIRCWH project will facilitate a future external grant.

 Email all application materials directly to