Funding Opportunities
Funding Opportunities

Since 1981, AFAR has provided more than $178 million to more than 4,100 talented investigators and students. To learn more about each grant, click below or contact the AFAR grant program staff at

Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program


Sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the MSTAR program encourages medical students--particularly budding researchers--to consider a career in academic geriatrics by awarding short-term scholarships. MSTAR celebrates its 25th year in 2019.

Please note: The 2019 awards are closed and applications are no longer being accepted (UCLA and UCSF have different application deadlines; please contact the site directly if you are interested in these sites). Check back in fall 2019 for updated application materials for funding in 2020.




MSTAR scholar Guang-Ting Cong presents his research at Weill Cornell Medical College.


The Program

The 2019 MSTAR Program provides medical students with an enriching experience in aging-related research and geriatrics, with the mentorship of top experts in the field. This program introduces students to research and academic experiences early in their training that they might not otherwise have during medical school. Positive experiences in the MSTAR program have led many physicians-in-training to pursue academic careers in aging, ranging from basic science to clinical research to health services research. They have joined the growing cadre of physicians and scientists whose specialized knowledge and skills are in great demand as our population ages.

Students participate in an eight- to twelve-week (or 2-3 months, depending on the training site) structured research, clinical, and didactic program in geriatrics, appropriate to their level of training and interests. Research projects are offered in basic, translational, clinical, or health services research relevant to older people. Most scholars will do their training and research during the summer months. They will also be invited to submit an abstract to present a poster at the Annual Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in Long Beach, California May 7 – 9, 2020.


Program Structure

Applicants will compete for approximately 100 scholarships at seven National Training Centers (NTC) supported by the National Institute on Aging.

Please note that applicants must have a faculty sponsor/mentor to apply.  Detailed information on the sponsor requirements are available here.

The stipend level is approximately $1,980 per month; actual amounts will vary based on the specific appointment period of individual students. Students who elect to participate in the scholarship program at a National Training Center will not receive additional funds for travel and housing. The length of research time is determined by the student in consultation with the research mentor, but a minimum of 8 weeks of time is required and up to 12 weeks of funding may be available (some National Training Centers have predetermined program lengths). 


Any allopathic or osteopathic medical student in good standing, who will have successfully completed one year of medical school at a U.S. institution by June 2019. Evidence of good standing must be provided by the medical school registrar or dean when the student is notified of receiving the award.

Applicants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or some other legal verification of such status.) Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.  Due to NIA restrictions, individuals holding PhD, MD, DVM, or equivalent doctoral degrees in the health sciences are not eligible to apply to do the MSTAR Program.

The NIA and other sponsoring organizations have a strong interest in continuing to diversify the research workforce committed to advancing the fields of aging and geriatrics research. Therefore, students who are members of ethnic or racial groups underrepresented in these fields, students with disabilities, or students whose background and experience are likely to diversify the research or medical questions being addressed, are encouraged to apply.

Additionally, applicants receiving a stipend or salary support from a federal source are not eligible for this program. Applicants may not hold another award or participate in another program concurrently with the MSTAR program, and must participate in the program full-time for a minimum of 8 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks.


Application Procedures

The deadline for applications is January 25, 2019 at 5:00 PM EST.  The application is online and can be accessed here (FAQ can be found here). 

Please carefully review the instructions. All National Training Centers offer excellent facilities, diverse research programs and provide the opportunity to interact with other students participating in the program.

The application must be completed by the student applying for the scholarship. The application consists of background information and a personal statement, as well as supporting documents from the appropriate faculty mentors.


Application Guidelines

Scholars will be chosen on the basis of their academic excellence, interest in geriatrics, and potential for success. Please click here for the application guidelines. 


Reporting Requirements

Reporting requirements for students participating in the MSTAR Program on the NTC Track will be determined by the individual training site.

All students will also be invited to submit an abstract to present a poster of their research project at the 2019 American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Annual Meeting, in Long Beach, California, May 7 – 9, 2020. For suggestions on how to prepare a poster for the AGS meeting, please click here.







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