Duke’s STAR Program

Duke’s STAR Program

Applications for summer 2018 are now closed.

Formerly the NCC Summer Research Experience Program, Duke's Summer Training in Academic Research (Duke's STAR) Program provides a high-quality research experience for undergraduate students, high school students, and high school teachers during the summer academic break. The program capitalizes on world-renowned training programs in place at Duke University under the leadership of Danny Benjamin, professor of pediatrics at Duke and faculty associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. The team of instructors includes Duke adult medicine and pediatrics faculty members, a writing instructor, a statistician, and operations staff.

View profiles of the instructional team members.


The faculty of Duke's STAR Program is actively involved in NIH-sponsored research in clinical pharmacology, therapeutics, trials, and pharmacoepidemiology. For an example of this research, visit  the Pediatric Trials Network website (pediatrictrials.org). In addition to these activities, members of the instructional team have a track record of dedication to education of trainees at all levels. Combined, these faculty members have more than 200 publications with trainees as either first author or co-author.

Duke's STAR Program is held at the DCRI, which has organized educational and support programs for junior faculty, fellows, residents, and medical students as well as high school and college trainees.



Duke's STAR Past Participants: Where are they now?

Find out.

Program Details

The summer training in academic research takes place over 8 weeks and focuses on pharmacoepidemiological research methodology and writing skills. Participants are placed in teams and matched with Duke faculty mentors to work on an original, hypothesis-driven project, originating as a one-page précis and progressing through draft figures and tables, an abstract, a PowerPoint presentation, and a written thesis. A goal of the program is to have every trainee qualify for co-authorship on a peer-reviewed manuscript related to their team's project.

Trainees meet with their faculty mentors and develop a specific pharmacoepidemiologic question. During the first 2 weeks of the program, teams perform a thorough review of the literature and develop an in-depth description of the research question.

During weeks 2–8, the teams develop a thesis consisting of a description of the research question, aims, methods, figures/tables, results, and discussion for their specific project. Throughout this time, a medical writer provides tutorials on developing a scientific manuscript, a statistician provides lectures in applied statistics and works with students to analyze data, and Duke medicine and pediatrics faculty members give lectures on neonatology, antimicrobial therapy, and pharmacoepidemiology.

The program  also includes a medical ethics seminar on the responsible conduct of research. In addition, eligible students experience clinical medicine firsthand by shadowing a physician on hospital rounds. To review progress and ensure the scientific validity of their work, program participants meet with their mentors weekly. At the conclusion of the program, teams do a formal presentation and complete a written thesis of their project.

Read the fact sheet for more information.


  • Middle and high school teachers, high school students, and undergraduates are encouraged to apply

Please note: U.S. citizenship is required for participation (per NIH policy). This is NOT a residential program. Participants are responsible for securing their own room and board.


A stipend will be provided to participants.

  • College students will receive $3,200
  • High school students will receive $2,600
  • Teachers participating in the program will also be compensated for the 8-week commitment

Program Location

Duke Clinical Research Institute,
300 West Morgan St., Durham, NC 27701

How to Apply

Submit by email all materials listed below to Divine Pinson.

For Students

  • Completed application (high school student) (college student) *Note: Please use Firefox or Safari for best performance when downloading these applications.
  • School transcript
  • Two letters of support provided by non-relatives *To be emailed by the letter writers.
  • Essay (300 to 500 word limit)

For Teachers

  • Completed application  *Note: Please use Firefox or Safari for best performance when downloading these applications.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A letter of support from your institution plus one additional reference *To be e-mailed by the letter writers.
  • Essay (300 to 500 word limit)