BIGGER: The BrIdGing the Gap to Enhance Clinical Research Program

The BrIdGing the Gap to Enhance Clinical Research Program (“BIGGER” program) provides a high-quality research experience over a 6-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.


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.


puzzle game student photo


Program Highlights

  • 6-month research experience beginning June 2018 (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

2018 Program Application and Dates

The 2018 BIGGER program will run from June to December 2018. Applications are now open through Friday, March 16, 2018.

View and download the 2018 application.

How to Apply

Materials needed:

  • completed application form
  • essay
  • two letters of recommendation
  • college transcript

Please complete the form and email all documents to Terri Taylor at by March 16, 2018.
(Letters of recommendation should be emailed by the referrer)

Please contact Terri with any questions or concerns.