Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials

Randomized Clinical Trials Involving Behavioral Interventions.

The 23rd annual Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials will be held from July 12 – 22, 2023 at the Bolger Hotel and Conference Center in Potomac, Maryland. The Institute is sponsored by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Applications are due by February 24, 2023.


The Summer Institute provides an advanced course in planning, designing, and conducting high-impact randomized controlled trials of health-related behavioral interventions. It emphasizes programmatic research and prepares fellows to lead or collaborate on systematic efforts to develop and improve health-related behavioral interventions and on rigorous, high-impact behavioral trials. The Institute’s long-term goal is to build an outstanding scientific workforce that will conduct clinical trials that can change practice guidelines, health care policies, and third-party coverage for health-related behavioral interventions, and that can help to expand the role of evidence-based behavioral interventions in clinical and preventive services. By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the evidentiary requirements of health care gatekeepers and the needs of stakeholders in health-related behavioral interventions.
  2. Formulate long-term goals for high-impact health-related behavioral intervention research programs.
  3. Use translational research models and optimization frameworks to guide intervention research.
  4. Incorporate basic behavioral and social science findings and advanced methodologies in this research.
  5. Understand the role of multidisciplinary team science in high-impact behavioral intervention research.
  6. Produce a plan to disseminate the knowledge gained in this course.


Pre-Institute Program: About two months before the Summer Institute starts, fellows will be given a list of recommended readings and online access to a set of recorded presentations. Familiarity with the Pre-Institute materials helps to prepare the fellows to get more out of the in-person program.

In-Person Program at the Bolger Center: The course is organized around a series of daily themes.

Day Date Theme
0 07/12/23 Arrival Day: Check-In at Bolger Center
1 07/13/23 Letting Health Care Gatekeepers and Stakeholders Guide Your Research
2 07/14/23 Determining Which Behavioral Factors and Clinical Outcomes to Target
3 07/15/23 Pursuing Goal-Directed, Programmatic Research on Behavioral Interventions
4 07/16/23 Preclinical Research and Phase I Studies of Behavioral Interventions
5 07/17/23 Phase II Proof-of-Concept and Pilot Studies
6 07/18/23 Phase II Efficacy Trials—Part 1
7 07/19/23 Phase II Efficacy Trials—Part 2
8 07/20/23 Phase III Efficacy Trials
9 07/21/23 Phase IV Effectiveness Trials and Implementation Research
10 07/22/23 Closing session (1/2 day) and departure


The multidisciplinary faculty of the Summer Institute includes some of the leading authorities in behavioral intervention research and trial methodology. Most are affiliated with major universities, medical schools, NIH, or other agencies.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The course is designed primarily for early- to mid-career scientists who are pursuing a career in clinical research. It is open to interested researchers who received their doctoral degree (PhD, MD, Dr.PH, DO, etc.) in a relevant field after 2012. Individuals who received their doctoral degree before 2012 but who subsequently completed a relevant postdoctoral research training program or obtained a research-oriented degree such as an MPH or an MS in Clinical Investigation after 2012 are also eligible to apply.
  • Applicants should have had at least two years of relevant research experience.
  • The ideal candidate is actively pursuing a career in health-related behavioral intervention research.
  • Due to limited availability of space, preference will be given to citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or those lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or other legal verification of such status).
  • Applicants should be willing and able to pay expenses associated with traveling to and attending the entire Summer Institute, if accepted.

Beyond these eligibility criteria, we are seeking individuals whose careers are likely to benefit from this training. Women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to individuals who are not employees of NIH.

  • Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities: If you are accepted to attend the Summer Institute and require reasonable accommodations for disabilities to participate in this activity, please contact Diane Smith at immediately upon acceptance. Please Note: If, accepted, you will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, including CDC-recommended boosters.

Costs and Stipends

There is no course registration fee for the Summer Institute. However, Fellows will be responsible for the cost of travel to and from the Summer Institute and for room and board at the Bolger Center. Limited support may be available to offset a portion of these costs. Family members may accompany participants at their own expense.

Applicants who wish to apply for the very limited number of scholarships to fund the majority of the costs to attend the Institute must submit one-page letter that demonstrates financial need and is endorsed by their institutional leadership (Department Chair, Dean, etc.).

Application Procedures & Form

Application Requirements

  • Updated Curriculum Vitae.
  • Statement from the applicant regarding how the course will promote their career objectives.
  • Letter of recommendation.
  • Application letter for scholarship (if relevant).
  • Demographic Data Form.
  • Fellows are expected to participate in the entire program, fully participate in group activities, and complete all course evaluation forms.

Note: Although some Summer Institute Fellows have been awarded or have applied for NIH Career awards, this is neither a requirement nor a criterion for acceptance into the Summer Institute. Because admission to the Summer Institute is highly competitive, applicants for NIH Career awards should not include participation in the Summer Institute as a component of their proposed training program.

Application website link:

Applications for the 2023 Summer Institute are due by February 24, 2023.

Please address questions about eligibility to apply for the Summer Institute or about the program to Kenneth Freedland, PhD, Program Director, at