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Research Track

TrackImageFunded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the primary goal of the Psychiatry Residency Research Track is to foster the development of clinical scientists, supporting their transition into a career in academic psychiatry.  This track provides specialized research training and experiences for a subset of talented and industrious residents, mentoring them towards a research-focused career. Residents completing the Research Track will be highly qualified to compete for early career grant awards or obtain a research fellowship following residency

Overview of the Emory Research Track





Protected Time





Acquire research project relevant technical skills, Attend mentor and lab meetings


Attend CSTP and Professional Development series, journal club, research lunches, seminars series, conferences, and courses

Mentorship and Research

Identify a mentor and project

Acquire preliminary data

Write K Award


Write review papers and chapters

Write primary data papers

Attend meeting

Present posters and abstracts at meetings



Internal and Foundation grant applications

K Award

Research  Resources

Up to $1500 per resident for travel

Up to $5000 per resident for travel and research projects

Up to $5000 per resident for travel and research projects

Research Education by Year

PGY-1 After the match, each PGY-1 research track resident is contacted by Dr. Miller and welcomed into the program. Preliminary discussions are conducted regarding which labs might be a good fit for the resident during their applicant interviews. Once the PGY-1 research track resident begins their formal psychiatry training, we strongly believe that the intensity of the clinical experience of the psychiatry interns in their first year requires full commitment to all educational aspects of the general psychiatry residency program.  This commitment to the standard PGY-1 activities supports bonding with fellow residents and allows full integration into the general residency program, not to mention essential training in the fundamentals of diagnosing and treating patients with mental illness.  Research activities in the PGY-1 year include the weekly research didactics and experiential learning activities that are part of the general residency didactics as well as quarterly meetings with Dr. Goldsmith of CSTP leadership and the designated peer mentor who serve as ambassadors for the program.  In the Spring of the PGY-1 year, several 1-2 hour meetings (usually 2-3) are held with Dr. Miller to plan the PGY-2 year research electives.  It should be noted that many of the residents have changed their initial research interests after exposure to a full year of clinical training.

PGY-2 The PGY-2 year includes two full months of research intensive electives in the laboratory of the resident’s choice.  These electives embed the resident in the lab of interest and allow the resident to determine whether the mentor is a good fit and whether there is a project that can be devised that is worthy of development into a grant application. Aside from the research electives, during the PGY-2 year research track residents continue to participate in the research didactics and experiential learning as part of the didactics in the general residency program. They are also required to undergo training in the responsible conduct of research. In addition, PGY-2 research track residents attend the Research Lunches. Dr. Goldsmith and the designated peer mentor meet at least quarterly during the PGY-2 year, and Dr. Miller begins relevant discussions with the PGY-2 research track resident and their mentor regarding the requirements of the track, including specialized educational activities, team mentorship and research track milestones (see below).  All mentors for research track residents must have a track record of NIH funding, mentorship experience and multiple field-relevant publications.   

PGY-3 In the PGY-3 year, residents have 50% protected time to conduct their research projects in close collaboration with their primary mentor. Expectations are that research track residents meet with their mentors at least 1 hour per week and cover the scientific skill sets that are required to perform their chosen research project as well as begin writing a review of their area of research. At the outset of the PGY-3 year, each resident will be asked to fill out an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to solidify goals and expectations.  Other topics to be discussed during mentorship sessions include rigor and reproducibility, the ethical conduct of research and team science. These areas are covered in the mentors’ semi-annual evaluation of the residents, serving as a reminder of the importance of these areas for ongoing consideration. During this time, PGY-3 residents also take their core class on the ethical conduct of research. They are also assigned a junior research track resident (PGY-1 or 2) to peer mentor. Finally, in the PGY-3 year, residents begin meeting with Dr. Miller monthly both individually and as a group. Group meetings represent the Grant Writing Workshop and cover a range of topics (see below) that address all aspects of the grant writing process from choosing the right funding mechanism, to PAs and RFAs, to the submission and review process, to responding to critiques and resubmission and finally to budgets and funds management.  Individual meetings with Dr. Miller include examining the resident’s Biosketch to determine what manuscripts will be required for a competitive K Award application and a Specific Aims page to formulate the fundamental hypotheses of their K Award application.  It is the contention of our program leadership that the process of writing a K Award in the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years serves as a foundation for all types of grant applications, especially career development awards. In addition, Dr. Miller will emphasize a team mentoring approach and work with the resident to begin assembling their research mentorship team. PGY-3 residents will also attend the monthly resident research lunches after Grand Rounds (which are subsumed under their clinical training) along with one project-relevant weekly seminar series. Finally, residents in the PGY-3 and 4 years will take advantage of the rich offering of specialized courses provided by the Emory Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences to fulfil additional training needs pertinent to their research topic.  Such courses can range from 2-3 hours/wk. Courses are limited to one per semester and are discouraged during the semester of the Ethics course. Hours per week for these training activities is ~5-6 hours per week. Schedules in the PGY-3 and 4 years are designed to balance time allocation of their protected research time to 70% time directly related to research and 30% time related to research training activities (see Table below). 

PGY-4 In the PGY-4 year, research track residents have up to 75% protected time for research.  Because of ACGME requirements, at least 25% of this time must be spent conducting clinical research (interacting with patients).  Research and mentorship activities including peer mentorship will continue as described above as well as meetings with Dr. Miller, training in the ethical conduct of research, Professional Development workshops, and project-relevant seminars and courses.  Meetings with Dr. Miller crystallize around completing the various training and research components of the K Award and ensuing the completion of relevant peer-reviewed manuscripts and reviews to support the research hypotheses and background of the K application.  

Research and Clinical Activities by Year*



PGY-3 (50% time – 20 hours)

PGY-4 (75% time- 30 hours)

Clinical and Research Didactics

Clinical Training

2 Month Research Intensive Elective/CITI Training

- Research Activities, Mentor and Lab Meetings

  (~15 hrs/wk)**

- Seminars and Courses (3-4 hrs/wk)

- Core Ethics Course (1-2 hrs/wk/1 semester)

- CSTP Seminar Series (1 hrs/month)

- Grant Writing Workshop (1hrs/month)

- Journal Club (1 hrs/month)

- Meetings with Dr. Miller (1 hrs/month)

- Research Activities, Mentor and Lab Meetings

   (~24 hrs/wk)**

- Seminars and Courses (3-4 hrs/wk)

- Journal Club (1 hrs/month)

- Ethics Workshop (1 hrs/month)

- Meetings with Dr. Miller (1 hrs/month)

- Professional Dev.workshps (1 hrs/month)

- K Club (1 hrs/month)

Clinical and Research Didactics

Clinical Training

Clinical Didactics and Training (includes Grand Rounds and Research lunches)

Clinical Didactics and Training (includes Grand Rounds and Research lunches)

* Based on a 40 hour week  **- every effort is made to balance time allocation to 70% research/30% research training activities within the protected research time

Grant Writing Workshop


Finding the right Grant Mechanism

Submitting a Grant, Budgets and Routing

PAs and RFAs, Grant Cycles

Grant Review Process/Summary Statements

eRA Commons, NIH Reporter, Clinical

Responses to Critiques and Resubmission

Finding and Talking to your NIH Program Officer (PO)

Working with your PO and Preparing for Council

Components of a K Award and R01

Grants Management