NIMH Research Training Program

Our residency training program is sponsored by an R25 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to support research training for residents. A limited number of residencies in the country have this type of research training grant. This grant reflects our commitment to research training and the excellent research achievements of our faculty and residents.

In addition to NIMH funding, our research track is supported by the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and the Providence VA. Additional details can be found in the Department of Psychiatry residency research brochure.

Overview of the NIMH-Funded R25 Research Training Program (RTP)

The NIMH-funded RTP gives selected residents substantial protected research time during their training. Residents increase their involvement in the RTP with each successive year. The core components of the research track are as follows: 

An individualized “hands-on” longitudinal mentored research experience is the core of each resident’s training. This research training experience may have a clinical, translational, and/or a basic science focus, all of which are strengths at Brown. Based on an area of interest, trainees are matched with faculty mentors and use a majority of their protected research time conducting research projects under their mentor's supervision. Residents progress from closely supervised introductory work in their mentor’s lab to greater independence and responsibility for their work. Residents are encouraged from the beginning of the program to develop their own ideas for more independent work, and all residents are expected to conduct their own mentored project by their PGY3year. Each resident’s research training is individualized to ensure an optimal training experience.

All RTP residents also have dedicated time to participate in an individualized research-focused didactic curriculum. These seminars and courses provide a conceptual framework for research, stimulate new research ideas, and fill knowledge gaps. Topics include translational neuroscience, clinical treatment research, research methodology, ethics, statistics, grant writing, and professional development skills. Senior researchers lead most of the seminars/courses. Some didactics (such as grant writing and ethics) are required and provide fundamental knowledge important to all RTP residents. Other didactics can be tailored to each trainee's research focus, stage of training, and unique educational needs.

Specific productivity goals are established for each RTP trainee using individualized metrics. Research products and outcomes may initially arise from the mentor’s existing program and over time residents develop and report results of their independent research. Products/outcomes include (but are not limited to) publications, poster presentations at local and national meetings, oral presentations, generation of pilot data for grant applications, and applying for research-related awards, especially those that enable residents to present and receive feedback on their research plans and ongoing projects. More advanced residents are encouraged to apply for K series and other career development awards.   


RTP residents are assisted with the development of their careers to enhance their future success as physician-scientists. This occurs via: 1) didactics that focus on career development skills; 2) attendance at a career-planning seminar that is led by our department chair, Dr. Steven Rasmussen; 3) individual mentorship and meetings with the RTP leadership team; and 4) sponsorship of resident participation in research-related activities and meetings at the national level.

Residents are expected to increase their research productivity and independence over the course of the residency. The protected time described below is dedicated to all four elements of the research track (see above). 

• PGY-1: Residents have an average of 7% protected time (1/2 day per week during psychiatry rotations plus a research focused month towards the end of the year) to meet with and begin to work with potential research mentors. 

• PGY-2: Residents have an average of 17% protected time (1/2 day per week excluding the two night float months plus a research-focused month toward the end of the year) during PGY-2. 

• PGY-3:  Residents have 33% protected time for research training during this year: two RTP positions and one VA-funded research position. Building upon groundwork laid in PGY-1 and PGY-2, residents work more intensively on all elements of the research track, including their hands-on research project(s). During this outpatient year, residents are encouraged to develop clinical expertise in an area relevant to their research focus, in addition to having a broad enough caseload to meet all ACGME requirements.

• PGY-4: Residents have 80% protected time for research training during this year: two RTP positions and one VA-funded research position. Residents are expected to work more independently and generate more products than in prior years while maintaining ACGME graduation requirements. Residents work more intensively on plans to transition to the next career stage, which often includes writing grant applications