The Biomedical Informatics and Data Science Research Training (BIRT) Program is a consortium of leading informatics laboratories at Harvard. It is supported by a grant from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. For United States citizens and permanent residents, this postdoctoral fellowship provides a stipend, tuition, and travel funds. Selected fellows are provided with many opportunities for training, research, interaction, and collaboration.  All fellows also pursue the two-year part-time Harvard Medical School Master of Biomedical Informatics degree.   

To apply for a BIRT fellowship, candidates submit an application to the MBI program. No additional materials are required. 

Offers to join the BIRT fellowship program are contingent on available program funding from the National Library of Medicine. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident at the time of application.
  • Hold a doctoral-level degree (MD, PhD, MBBS, DMD, DVM, etc.) by the time of program matriculation. 

We welcome and encourage applications from individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in health-related sciences (Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders), individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantageous backgrounds. 

Harvard Medical School’s Diversity Statement can be found here.

Harvard’s resources on racial and social justice can be found here.

Connections: Career Paths in Biomedical Informatics

America’s biomedical informatics training programs are preparing individuals from diverse personal, educational, and professional backgrounds for a broad range of meaningful career opportunities. These opportunities enable program graduates to leverage biomedical informatics in basic research, medicine, healthcare systems, and other increasingly data-driven areas. 

Program trainees from incredibly diverse backgrounds come together for a distinct moment in time. Biomedical informatics training programs train computer scientists, statisticians, engineers, and data scientists who are interested in learning about and contributing to biology, medicine, and healthcare. There are also individuals from across the healthcare sector—clinical scientists, biologists, medical doctors, healthcare administrators, and entrepreneurs—who want to gain data-related skills to improve health and advance their careers. 

Program participants are excited to be exposed to individuals from very different backgrounds, learn together, and work collaboratively to improve health.

Yet, even as biology and medicine become more data driven, many talented people from wide-ranging backgrounds are not familiar with biomedical informatics and are not aware of the vast opportunities available for individuals with biomedical informatics training.

Nils Gehlenborg, PhD, and Alexa McCray, PhD, from Harvard Medical School’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, want to change that. In serving as co-principal investigators and producers of Connections: Career Paths in Biomedical Informatics, they have led creation of a video series highlighting the personal and professional journeys of graduates from each of the 16 NLM training programs.

In short videos and accompanying case studies, trainees describe their backgrounds and interests, and what drew them to biomedical informatics. Each trainee discusses why they entered a biomedical informatics program, how they chose their specific program, and memorable program experiences. They detail the skills they gained, research they conducted, and the most rewarding aspects about their program—which was often getting to work with a collection of amazing colleagues. 

Each participant also describes the opportunities that have transpired since completing their program, including working in research, medicine, healthcare systems, industry, entrepreneurial startups, academia, government, and more. These trainees explain what they are doing now, how they are applying their biomedical informatics training each day, and how their participation in a biomedical informatics program has affected their career path and their life.  

To learn more:

Applying for Fall 2023

The application for the MBI program and BIRT consideration for Fall 2023 will open in October, 2022. Check back here for updates.