Career Development Institute for Psychiatry
Dedicated to Launching and Maintaining Careers in Mental Health Research

Frequently Asked Questions


The program is geared toward individuals at the critical transition point between the completion of research training and initial faculty appointment or very early in the initial appointment. If you are in the final year of an MD or PhD program, an advanced postdoctoral student, or a junior faculty member and are less than two years in a mental health research center trajectory, then you qualify to apply to the CDI.

Not at this time. Right now, we are focusing on fellows and faculty just beginning their academic careers.

No. We strongly believe that the sum of the program exceeds its parts and its participants will achieve a much richer reward by participating in the entire 24-month program. The letter of recommendation provided by your Chair should indicate commitment to complete attendance, as should your personal statement. You will also be expected to sign a statement of intent agreeing to participate fully in the program. To help with planning, we've provided an estimated timetable of program activities.


If you are invited to participate in the program, our Coordinator will contact you regarding transportation, lodging, and material you will need to prepare prior to attendance.

In order to provide a more intimate experience and to provide more meaningful one-on-one time among participants, faculty, and mentors, the CDI is limited to 15-20 participants each year.

Participants will be chosen on the basis of their academic accomplishments and commitment to a research career in psychiatry as reflected in peer-reviewed publications, applications for research funding, personal statement, and endorsement from a mentor. Diversity on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender, geographic location, institutional affiliation, and scientific interests spanning the spectrum of clinical and interventional research will also be considered.

At a minimum, the letter of recommendation should include an expression of support for your career as a young research investigator as well as commitment that you will participate in the entire 24-month program. The stronger the letter, the better your chances of being accepted. Letters of recommendation should be addressed to the Career Development Institute Review Committee and uploaded as a PDF document as part of the application process.

The application asks about information on the progress and stage of your career. You will also need to prepare a personal statement, obtain a letter of recommendation, and attach your updated curriculum vitae.

You should provide as much explanation as you can for why this two-year program is important to your career development. Acceptance into the program is a competitive process and the more we know about you and your reasons for wanting to be a participant, the better your chances are.

Faculty and Program Content

Please see the Important Dates page for time estimates for all program activities.

Career development activities will occur in four phases over a 24-month period for each annually selected class of participants: online baseline career and skills self-assessment, didactic learning and preparations for four-day in-person workshop and goal setting, long-distance structured mentoring and online continued learning and virtual meetings, and post-program career progress and process evaluation. We offer a sample workshop schedule and a list of activities across the 24-month program.

Yes. Due to the extensive amount of materials we expect to cover during the program, we are requiring participants to complete a number of exercises before the in person workshop convenes. Prior to applying, please ensure that you are willing to complete these requirements that will take a minimum of 10 hours to complete. (More information will be provided upon acceptance into the program.) To help with planning, we've provided an estimated timetable of program activities.

CDI program directors are Erika Forbes, Alan Schatzberg and David Kupfer. CDI faculty include successful senior researchers from the Departments of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh and Stanford University, representatives from the National Institute of Mental Health, and past CDI participants.

Cost/Registration Fees

The CDI will pay for your travel to the four-day workshop, your hotel room, and most meals.