The Duke CTSI BIGGER program is postponed for summer 2024. We will not post applications for 2024. Starting in November, please check back for updates about the 2025 program cycle.


Photo of the 2024 BIGGER scholars

The Bridging the Gap to Enhance Clinical Research (BIGGER) Program provides a high-quality research experience over a six-month period for students in their gap year, defined as the period after college graduation and prior to applying for or enrollment in graduate/professional school.

The program is designed to attract diverse, talented students to careers in science; to foster a better understanding of clinical research and its implications; and to provide opportunities for students to gain valuable research experience in preparation for a health professions career. The proposed immersion program will expand and complement existing NIH-sponsored training programs at Duke University and under the leadership of the co-PIs, Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Vivian Chu.

Please contact Molly Matlock ( with any questions or concerns.

Program Application and Dates

Please check back starting in November for updates on the 2025 program application cycle. Direct inquiries can be sent to

Photo of the 2024 BIGGER scholars

Who is the BIGGER Program for?

Students who have recently finished an undergraduate degree who are taking a gap year prior to applying for or enrolling in a graduate/health professions school.A total of six students will be chosen each year.Since this program is funded by the National Institute of Health, only U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and non-citizen nationals are eligible.

Program Highlights

  • Six-month research experience beginning in June (repeats annually)

  • Recruitment of individuals from underrepresented groups from area universities

  • Trainee development of a research project in cardiovascular medicine

  • Didactic curriculum on clinical research methodology

  • Training in the responsible conduct of research

  • Career development sessions led by faculty mentors

  • Observational clinical rotation to enhance educational experience

  • Each trainee will work with a senior and junior faculty mentor

  • Participants will receive a stipend