Funding Opportunities
Funding Opportunities

Since 1981, AFAR has provided over $172 million to over 4,000 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


Administered by AFAR and 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 23rd year in 2017.

Please note: The 2017 awards are closed and applications are no longer being accepted.  Please check back in fall 2017 for updated application materials.



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


The Program

The 2017 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 Orlando, Florida, May 3 – 5, 2018.


Program Structure

Applicants will compete for approximately 100 scholarships, and students may conduct their MSTAR program in one of two different tracks:

  • The National Training Center (NTC) Track: for students who train at a National Training Center supported by the National Institute on Aging.
  • The Home Institution (HI) Track: for students enrolled at New York City medical schools who conduct the program at their own institution, if their school is one of the MSTAR Participating Schools in New York City.

NOTE: Students who want to stay at their home institution, and whose school is a National Training Center, would use the NTC track, not the HI track. The program may not be conducted at a medical school that does not belong to either category.

Please note that applicants must have a faculty sponsor/mentor to apply; the sponsor requirements differ between applicants on the NTC Track or the HI Track.  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 2017. 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 at a National Training Center; however, they may apply to do their research at their home institution if it is a Participating School.

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 27, 2017 at 5:00 PM EST.  Applications are online, the National Training Center (NTC) application can be accessed here and the Home Institution (HI) application can be accessed here (FAQ can be found here). Please verify that you have the correct 2017 application and carefully review the application materials as they have changed for 2017.

Please carefully review the instructions if you are applying for a National Training Center scholarship. 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.

Students on the HI Track will be required to complete a brief program evaluation form, due immediately upon completion of the program. Additionally, a journal-style research paper is due within three months after completing the program.  The student research mentors will be required to provide evaluations of the student's performance, as well as their impressions of the program's impact on the student.

All students will also be invited to submit an abstract to present a poster of their research project at the 2017 American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Annual Meeting, in Orlando, Florida. For suggestions on how to prepare a poster for the AGS meeting, please click here.

Former students will also be expected to respond to AFAR's longitudinal survey requests to be used in evaluating the effectiveness of the overall program.






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