CIRM training

(PhD Students)

Our program cohorts start in January. The next application deadline is October 7, 2022

Current trainees Past CIRM trainees

Program Details:

Eligibility: Predoctoral graduate students who have committed to a research mentor and are working on research related to the Biology of Stem Cells. US and international graduate students can apply. Please see here for IBSC research groups that work on stem cell biology topics.

Required classes and seminars (before or during support period):

Stem Cell Biology (BME 278); Stem Cell Epi/Genomics (BME 273); and Stem Cell Ethics (BME 247), Stem Cell Club

Outreach and patient engagement: To foster an awareness among the trainees of the need for access to cutting edge medical treatment for everyone, regardless of their cultural or socioeconomic status, all supported graduate students will participate in outreach activities. Examples include work with the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative, Jacob's Heart, or similar organizations.

Career development: All CIRM trainees are encouraged to participate in career development activities, depending on their career plan and prior experience. Opportunities include

1) CITL workshops (pedagogy, DEI-aware mentoring, TA training etc. )

2) Intern/Shadow opportunities in nearby Biotechnology companies (details below)

3) Grant writing class/workshop (BIOL 230)

4) Career Planning (BIOL 290)

Research Review Day:

All CIRM fellows will participate in our annual Research Review Dan and give a scientific presentation (poster or oral, if available).

Financial Support:

PhD student stipends (at least 3 years of non-competitive renewal), graduate student fees, plus $6000 research and travel allowances .

Annual reappointment:

Appointments to subsequent years will be awarded through a non-competitive renewal process that is based on participation in program aspects (classes, patient engagement, outreach, stem cell club and conferences) as well as scientific progress. Each trainee is expected to submit a written research support (max. 3 pages) at the end of the year, present their research at "Research Review Day", and participate in our program evaluation (feedback forms).

Mentor expectations:

Each mentor of a CIRM-sponsored postdoc is required to take at least one mentor training class each year (CITL, the NIH, NIH, HHMI, or other organizations).

The mentor and the mentee shall meet formally every 6 months to discuss the trainee's research progress and progress towards reaching the trainee's career goals. Please use a CIRM program feedback form (supplied here soon) to submit to the program director. Also, please use the trainee's Individual Development plan as a starting point to develop career skills.

Both, mentors and trainees, will sign a program agreement before program start.

Biotech shadow/internship opportunities:

The following companies have agreed to host our trainees for shadowing or internship opportunities. Please contact us ( if you are interested in pursuing a shadow/internship opportunity or if we can help facility an internship of your own.

Patient advocacy:

Per CIRM requirements, each trainee needs to participate annually in a patient advocacy activity to better understand the needs of patients who may benefit from stem cell therapies. You can find your own activity or participate in events that are organized by the Treehouse (Jacob's heart fundraiser, Baldrick's foundation "go bold, go bald" event, Kidrageous events, the annual Hearts and Hands Camp for pediatric cancer survivors, etc.). Please contact us for further details.

Community outreach activities:

Each trainee is also required to complete at least one annual community science outreach activity. Examples include participation in the annual (after Covid restrictions are lifted) IBSC open house, community science presentations (for example science on tap), a presentation at a local High School (both, Santa Cruz High and Pacific Collegiate School have agreed to host trainees), or a lay-level science article in a local paper or our IBSC newsletter.


The next application deadline is October 7, 2022.


  2. CIRM Demographic form (For reporting purposes only; not forwarded to selection committee) - DOWNLOAD CIRM DEMOGRAPHIC FORM

  3. Research plan (no form) – 2 pages or less (plus additional pages for references and timeline), developed in collaboration with your research mentor. Please use no smaller than 11 pt font (Arial or similar) and at least 0.5 inch page margins on letter-sized documents. Please include a statement on how your proposed research fits with the mission of CIRM, and an approximate timeline for the main planned activities so that reviewers who may not be familiar with all proposed techniques can get an impression of the time that will be necessary for the proposed research.

    Please consider that this is an application for a fellowship, not for a new research proposal. This application will be judged by whether your portion of the research is a good fit for you, will likely be accomplished by you, sets you on a path to become an independent researcher, and whether there is a good mentoring plan in place. Also, reviewers will judge whether the project is appropriate for the proposed training time.

  4. Form by the sponsoring UCSC mentor* - DOWNLOAD SPONSORING MENTOR FORM
    *Please provide the downloaded PDF form to your sponsoring mentor. Form should be sent directly to the program administrator by your mentor.

  5. Letter of recommendation from one mentor or supervisor (current or former) that speaks to your potential for success in this training program. Letters should comment on your (1) ability to work independently and take initiative to problem solve; (2) your ability to work well within a team; (3) your time management skills and ability to complete tasks; (4) your communication skills, both written and verbal; (5) your research ability and potential to develop an independent career; as well as any additional relevant information that speaks to your candidacy. Please ask your mentor/supervisor send this letter directly to:

An independent external committee will review all applications.

Typically we will inform all applicants about the admission outcomes by the end of November.

CIRM award: EDUC4-12759