Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials

The 2024 application period is now closed. Please sign up for our email updates to be notified about when the application period opens for 2025.

The Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials provides an advanced course in planning, designing, and conducting high-impact randomized controlled trials of health-related behavioral interventions. The program emphasizes programmatic research and prepares fellows to lead or collaborate on systematic efforts to develop and improve health-related behavioral interventions and conduct rigorous, high-impact behavioral trials.

The Summer 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. The program aims to help expand the role of evidence-based behavioral interventions in clinical and preventive services.

The Summer Institute is supported by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and the National Cancer Institute.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate the needs of interested parties (e.g., populations, payers) to formulate a high-impact, long-term goal for a health-related behavioral intervention research program.
  2. Apply translational research models and optimization frameworks to design studies of behavioral interventions.
  3. Describe how to execute a rigorous randomized controlled trial.
  4. Disseminate research findings to interested parties.
  5. Implement effective interventions.
  6. Disseminate course content to other learners by planning lectures, workshops, or other training and mentorship activities.

Program Schedule and Location

The 2024 Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials will be hosted at the Pyle Center, University of Wisconsin in Madison, from August 26-29, 2024.

Additionally, the in-person meeting in Madison will be supplemented by 9 monthly online video calls, each lasting approximately 2 hours, scheduled from September 2024 to May 2025. These sessions will be conducted with an assigned learning community, facilitated by senior Institute faculty.

Application Process

The 2024 application period is now closed. Please sign up for our email updates to be notified about when the application period opens for 2025.

A maximum of 30 fellows will be accepted each year. Participants will undergo comprehensive training in behavioral clinical trials, covering all phases of intervention evaluation (I-IV). Additionally, they will work on a capstone project throughout the course.


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, the National Institute of (NIH), or other federal agencies.

Costs and Stipends

There is no course registration fee for the Summer Institute. However, fellows are expected to cover their travel expenses to and from the Institute, as well as room and board costs. Limited financial assistance may be available to help offset some of these expenses. 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.).

Eligibility Requirements

The course is designed primarily for early- to mid-career scientists who are pursuing a career in clinical research. Applicants must have:

  • Completed a doctoral degree in a relevant field (i.e., Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent)
  • At least two years of post-degree experience in health-related and/or behavioral intervention research
  • A project to work on during the Institute that involves an ongoing randomized controlled trial (RCT) or early-stage intervention development work expected to lead to an RCT.

Beyond these eligibility requirements, the Institute is seeking applicants who have demonstrated research potential and whose careers are likely to benefit from this training. Preference will be given to applicants who:

  • Have experience with the conduct of trials (e.g., as a trainee or co-investigator)
  • Already have available or pending funding for RCT-related work (e.g., K Award)
  • Are incorporating diverse perspectives into their research program (for examples, see the Plan For Enhancing Diverse Perspectives)
  • Have institutional commitment and mentorship to support their research.

Applicants meeting the NIH definition of underrepresented in biomedical research are encouraged to apply. This includes individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups such as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islanders; individuals with disabilities; individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds; and women from the above backgrounds.

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. Preference is given to individuals who are not employees of NIH.

Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities: Applicants who are accepted to the Summer Institute and require reasonable accommodations for disabilities to participate in this activity should contact Kelly Nee at immediately upon acceptance. A request for reasonable accommodation for a disability will not influence the selection process.