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For Mentors: Guidelines for Writing Letters of Support

To ensure that our program meets the highest standards in selecting fellowship awardees and to enhance the review process, we encourage potential mentors to use the following guidelines when writing a Letter of Support for your fellowship applicant. 

Your letter should address (3) three areas: 

1) The Applicant
2) The Potential Project, and 
3) Your Role As Mentor.  

Following these guidelines will increase the likelihood that the applicant’s application is successful.

The Applicant

  • The letter should be 1) submitted on institutional letterhead, 2) signed by the mentor and 3) addressed to the CPRTP Director, Professor Shine Chang
  • Please address these criteria with respect to the applicant: 
    • In what capacity you know the applicant
    • Potential for conducting research
    • Evidence of originality
    • Adequacy of scientific background
    • Quality of research or publications to date
    • Commitment to cancer prevention research
    • Need for further research experience and training
  • State how you would rank the applicant’s overall ability and potential. Top 10%? Top 25%?

The Potential Project

  • Include a paragraph describing how the applicant’s proposed general line of research relates to the CPRTP objectives for their mechanism.
  • If your applicant is applying for the short term program, indicate how their research could be a gateway into future doctoral or postdoctoral research in cancer prevention.

Your Role As Mentor

  • Describe the degree of mentoring capacity you currently have
    • How many trainees at each level (predoctoral, postdoctoral, other) do you advise?
    • How often will you meet with the applicant?
    • Describe the data and resources your lab has available to support the applicant's proposed line of research.
    • Describe your plans for working with other mentors. How does your expertise complement theirs?
    • Discuss your capacity to provide required supplementary stipend funds and other research, travel, and supply costs appropriate to the particular mechanism applied for (i.e. R25T, R25E, donor-funded, etc.) 
  • In a separate paragraph, please outline your previous mentoring experience
    • List any dissertations you have chaired
    • Mention number of postdoctoral trainees you have advised, what their important projects are and where they are today.

Download these Guidelines for Writing Letters of Support (pdf).

Return to Cancer Prevention Research Training Program Home Page.

Finding a Mentor in Statistical Genetics of Addiction

NIDA R25 "Statistical Genetics of Addiction" applicants can choose from 
a large number of potential mentors 
within and outside of MD Anderson.

View a list of program mentors by participating institution.

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