Held most recently: October 10-12, 2022
Grand Forks, North Dakota

CAIRHE and UND logos

Grand Forks

Grand Forks, ND

Sponsored by the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity (CAIRHE) at Montana State University and the Indigenous Trauma & Resilience Research Center (ITRRC) at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, Promoting Indigenous Research Leadership (PIRL) is a three-day workshop designed to promote the research careers of Indigenous and other early-career faculty working with Indigenous communities. It was most recently held in October 2021 in Bozeman, Montana, and on October 10-12, 2022, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

THE 2022 APPLICATION CLOSED ON JULY 18 (see "New Applicants" below). A new application will go live in early 2023.

PIRL helps faculty investigators foster a sense of community, improve leadership and grant application skills, and receive the career support they need. For many participants this includes specific preparation to apply for the "Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health" (IRINAH) funding opportunity (R01/R21) at the National Institutes of Health, as well as other major funding opportunities. Chairing the workshop are Donald Warne, M.D., MPH, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health, and Alexandra Adams, M.D., Ph.D., director and PI of CAIRHE.

Don Warne and Alex Adams

Promoting Indigenous Research Leadership (PIRL) includes:

  • Focused mentoring with senior NIH-funded faculty from across the country, and with peers who share similar backgrounds and research interests.
  • Presentations from leading experts in Indigenous health.
  • One-on-one consultation with program officers from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Up to 20 investigators from across the United States participate. For those selected, there is little to no cost to participate, and the workshop pays for all travel, lodging, and meal expenses.

Here's what some past participants have said about PIRL:

  • "I am tremendously grateful for this event, which may have been one of the most informative and practical workshops I have ever attended."
  • "This workshop was unique in that it was appropriately designed for Indigenous health researchers coming from unique experiences and unique communities."   
  • "I walked away from the workshop feeling like my understanding of this line of work and my role in it had grown substantively." 
  • "I am so grateful to have connected with mentors and already have some collaborative projects happening!"
  • "Time with my mentor and peers, especially seeing fellow Alaskans and other Indigenous people, was fantastic. I loved hearing about and discussing opportunities and funding." 
  • "This is an amazing resource. I feel so lucky to have been included and to have had the opportunity to meet my fellow trainees, many of whom I look forward to working with on future projects."


  • Applicants must be able to attend the workshop in-person. 
  • Applicants must hold a doctoral degree and have a faculty appointment or comparable research appointment at a U.S. 2- or 4-year college or university, or at another NIH grant-eligible research organization.
  • Applicants must meet the NIH definition for new investigator.
  • Applicants must already be working with an American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian community or have a stated career goal to do so.
  • Special consideration is given to faculty who are actively amending a previously submitted NIH research grant application that was not funded.
  • Participants who attended the 2019 “Bridging the Gap: From Application to Funding” workshop in Bozeman, MT, or PIRL 2021/2022 are not eligible to participate in future workshops.

Selection Criteria:

In addition to completing a brief online application, applicants must submit the following as attachments to the application:

  • An NIH Biosketch (preferred) or Curriculum Vitae.
  • A description (300 words or less) of the Indigenous community-based research currently underway or planned within the next three years.
  • A letter from the chair or dean of the applicant's department/school/college outlining the applicant's readiness for the workshop. The letter should indicate how participation in the workshop will advance the investigator's research plans, as well as offer a vision for her or his research progress over the next three years.

For questions or more information, please email James Burroughs, program coordinator for CAIRHE, at [email protected].

Past Participants:

You can read about alumnae/-i of the PIRL program on our PIRL Participants page.

New Applicants:

PIRL 2022 took place on October 10-12, 2022. Applications closed on July 18. If you weren't able to apply this year, please check back in early 2023 about future opportunities!


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