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Student FAQs

Click below to find answers to many questions that new or prospective interns often have.

If you have a question that is not answered here please contact Dr. Patrick Brandt at

There are internship opportunities in the following broad career areas:

  • Business Development and Entrepreneurship
  • Technology Transfer
  • Science Policy
  • Industry Research and Development
  • Teaching Intensive Careers
  • Outreach, Research/Program Administration
  • Science/Medical Writing

The list of hosts is always growing and includes institutions in RTP such as BD, EPA, RTI, Rho, Sigma Xi, ETSI, AgBiome, Bayer Crop Science, NCBC, NC Board of Science and Technology, Parion, NIEHS, UNC Office of Tech Dev.  For an up to date list of internship providers please go to

Graduate student must have passed their qualifying exam and be in a biomedical PhD program.  All BBSP affiliated PhD programs are eligible as are Biology, Chemistry, Nutrition, School of Pharmacy, BME program. We anticipate funding 25 internships per year. Faculty mentor consent is required for grad student interns.

ImPACT internships are funded by UNC.  Graduate students are paid during the internship period at their regular rate.  Your faculty mentor will be compensated directly by ImPACT for the time you are away from the bench.

Trainees on UNC-sponsored health insurance plans (ie. Student Health Plan or Postdoc Medical Insurance Plan) will have uninterrupted coverage during the internship.

ImPACT can fund a trainee for 160 hours.  How those hours are used is up to the trainee, the faculty mentor, and the company/organization. Some companies prefer a full time arrangement (which would last roughly 4 weeks).  Some companies prefer a part time arrangement.

Full time ImPACT internships should take place during the summer.  ImPACT encourages part time interns to begin their internship during the summer and internships generally need to be completed by December 31st.

The internship application process consists of two phases – 1) an internal UNC application wherein trainees are chosen by the ImPACT leadership team, and 2) placement of the selected trainees with one of our internship providers.  The online application can be accessed at:   Besides completing the online portion of the application you will also need to send the following documents by email to Patrick Brandt

  1. Signed and scanned Faculty Mentor Consent Form (blank form available at:
  2. A personal statement that addresses what career path you are preparing for, and how your career development will benefit from an internship.

Current CV

All components for phase 1 of the application must be received by the end of the day February 1st.

There is no guarantee that trainees who pass phase 1 will be chosen by an internship provider since each provider will make the final placement decision. That said, ImPACT will only accept the number of trainees we believe we can place with internship hosts.  We will help broker relationships, and each internship provider has already stated an interest in hosting an intern. If for some reason a trainee does not secure an internship they will have an automatic internship slot the following year and will not have to reapply to the internship program.

ImPACT will organize a networking event sometime near the end of March for internship providers and phase 1 winners to get to know each other. It is ultimately your responsibility to set up the internship and it will require effort on your part.  We will do our best during phase 1 to not introduce unneeded competition into the internship matching process.  Trainees are also encouraged to do their own research on companies/organizations as described in FAQ #12.

Yes, of course! You are encouraged to find your own internship providers outside of the list we have made arrangements with.  We will help you set up the logistics and answer questions the company may have.

International students on F-1 and J-1 visas are eligible to participate fully in ImPACT internships, but they will likely have to use 1 month of OPT to do so, espeically if the internship is off campus.  Any international scholar who is placed with an internship host must contact the UNC Office of International Student and Scholar Services as soon as the internship details are finalized in order to update their SEVIS profile.

Yes!  And we encourage you to do this so that the time spent on your internship does not negatively affect your time to degree and/or your publication records.  We also encourage you to meet with your faculty mentor to develop a set of realistic goals and expectations for your effort in the lab during the internship period.  Note this is especially critical if you are doing a part time internship where the 160-hour internship is spread out over several months.

ImPACT directors have explained the program during many department faculty meetings.  In a survey of active training faculty, 85% of faculty said they would be “highly likely” or “likely” to allow their trainees time off to do a full-time, one-month paid internship.  The number willing to support you during a part-time internship is likely higher.

The US government recently stated that predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees paid on any federal grants (NIH, NSF, DoD, etc) are expected to engage in career development activities.  This means that even if you are paid by your faculty mentor’s federal research grant you are not expected to devote 100% of your effort to working at the bench. For more information see

Yes. The government policy mentioned in FAQ #16 grants you the ability to engage in career exploration and professional development as a fellowship awardee.  If you have any questions you should contact the program officer at the funding institution.  If you are funded by a non-federal fellowship (for example, AHA) you should discuss your eligibility with your program officer before applying.

Absolutely! There are many national internship programs that hire life science graduate students.  Most are 3 months long or longer and they can be quite competitive so if you have been accepted into one of them, Congratulations!  Even if your internship is outside of ImPACT we would like to hear about it for a few reasons:

We may be able to help you answer questions about leaves of absence, non-disclosure agreements, conflict of interest statements, and other common internship forms you may be asked to sign.

We would like to learn what other internship programs are doing to prepare trainees for the job market with the hope that we can implement the most beneficial aspects into ImPACT internships.

We would like to compare the effect of internship length and other internship parameters with job placement, time to degree, and other factors important in career development.

You can check out the press release announcing ImPACT at You can also contact ImPACT director, Patrick Brandt at