Research and Fellowship Opportunities

The Department of Psychiatry at Columbia is one of the leading research departments in the country and annually ranks within the top three recipients of federally-funded research grants. Part of the Department is the New York State Psychiatric Institute—a facility dedicated to research including over 25 funded research beds and up-to-date imaging capabilities. The Department has over 450 full-time faculty, including two Nobel laureates, Drs. Eric Kandel and Richard Axel. The range of research in Psychiatry at Columbia is broad, encompassing divisions devoted to the neurobiology of learning and mental function, genetics, the psychobiology of psychiatric disorders and psychiatric diagnosis. Treatment research includes one of the largest programs in the study of psychotherapy and pharmacological treatments for affective, anxiety, eating and psychotic disorders, as well as divisions studying brain stimulation techniques, mental health services and policy, law, ethics in psychiatry, substance abuse and many others. In addition to research within the Department of Psychiatry, a broad array of world-class researchers in all aspects of neuroscience across the Columbia campus are open to working with residents interested in pursuing more basic research, from cellular and molecular neuroscience to brain imaging and cognition. Visit the Columbia Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior site for a listing of Neuroscience Faculty at Columbia.

Integrating Scholarly Pursuits into Residency Education (InSPIRE)

The Columbia InSPIRE program is a three-day interactive conference for incoming Columbia Psychiatry residents. Scheduled immediately prior to the July 1, 2022 internship start date, the program is intended to support these residents as they begin their training and to help launch them as developing scholars. 

As John Young et al. described recently, Each July, newly minted physicians arrive for residency training with their unique professional aspirations, dreams, and hopes. These aspirations often extend beyond the role of clinician to roles such as researcher, advocate, educator, innovator, or leader. Nurturing professional development in these areas is essential in order to graduate physicians who are passionate about their work and equipped to innovate….More than ever, society needs physicians who are engaged in their work, i.e., experience meaning and purpose, and who are engaged in inquiry and innovation, i.e., participate authentically in scholarship of discovery, integration, teaching, and/or application (Academic Psychiatry 2020).

The Columbia Department of Psychiatry is a vibrant research community.  From exploring the underlying mechanisms of learning and memory to addressing healthcare disparities in clinical settings, the opportunities for residents to conduct scholarship related to their own interests in psychiatry are almost endless! 

Through the InSPIRE program, first year residents will gain exposure to the vast array of psychiatric research underway at Columbia and learn about specific opportunities for getting involved. Those with a clear research interest will have protected time during the program to meet with potential mentors. Those without a research background will have an opportunity to learn more about how they might integrate scholarship into their future careers as psychiatrists. All incoming residents, regardless of their background or future plans, will be offered an opportunity to join in this elective program and will be provided with a $1000 stipend for participation. 

The inaugural year of this program has been made possible by a generous donation in memory of Robert Warren Haber-Gilbert and Muriel Haber.

Research During Residency

With such deep resources, Columbia presents excellent opportunities for all residents to participate in research, whether a resident arrives with a plan to pursue a research career or develops an interest during residency. Substantial protected time is available for residents in the General Residency Track with an interest in learning or furthering research skills while developing their clinical knowledge base. Up to 20% of the PGY3 year and up to 80% of the PGY4 year may be devoted to research electives. 

For residents who arrive at Columbia with a demonstrated commitment to research, an NIH-funded Research Track within the residency permits a specialized curriculum, exposure to inpatient and outpatient clinical research programs, and 14.5 months of full-time equivalent, mentored research spanning the PGY3 and PGY4 years. In addition, for those who wish to pursue patient-oriented clinical research, the Moynihan Clinical Research Fellowship offers financial support for research and supplemental stipends for residents focused on translating advances in neuroscience into transformations in clinical care.  Applicants interested in the research track or the Moynihan Clinical Research fellowship may contact David Leonardo ( for more information and can express interest by completing this brief survey.  Note that we do not have a separate ERAS application for our Research Track Program.

Research Fellowships

Following Residents interested in a research career, the next step in career development is a research fellowship. Within the Department of Psychiatry there are eleven NIMH-funded, post-residency research training programs in the areas of affective, anxiety and eating disorders; schizophrenia; late-life neuropsychiatric disorders; child psychiatry; substance abuse; HIV infection; psychobiological sciences; genetic analysis; neurobehavioral sciences; psychiatric epidemiology; and neuropsychology and cognition in aging. Fellows in these training programs are funded for two-to-four years to work with their mentor to develop research skills and a program of independent work. The broad range and success of these fellowships provide an important stepping stone for the careers of our graduates. Residency applicants already committed to a research career should consider the residency and research fellowship programs together and conceptualize entering the residency program and six to seven years later emerging as Junior Faculty. Additional information regarding the research fellowships is available.

Clinical Fellowships

Graduating Residents also have many clinical fellowship opportunities to consider. In addition to the research fellowship programs, there is Columbia fellowship training in consultation-liaison psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, public psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, emergency psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, women’s mental health, and advanced training and certification in psychoanalysis at Columbia’s preeminent Psychoanalytic Institute. Note that research-track options are available within our clinical training fellowships in consultation-liaison psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry (including the Shaffer Scholars Program described below). Visit our site for more information about clinical fellowships available at Columbia.

The Shaffer Scholars Program in Child Psychiatry Research

The Shaffer Scholars Program in Child Psychiatry Research is a unique opportunity for child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP) residents in our NewYork-Presbyterian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program to pursue an in-depth research pathway. The program addresses a critical shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists who pursue research as a significant part of their careers.

Under the umbrella of the NewYork-Presbyterian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Shaffer Scholars receive substantial targeted research mentorship and support from world-renowned faculty at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and at Weill Cornell Medicine. With our multi-institutional partnership, we draw on an incredible breadth and depth of research expertise and infrastructure, supporting Scholars’ diverse research interests ranging from molecular neurobiology to implementation science.

During this three-year training opportunity, Shaffer Scholars split their second year of clinical training into two years, receiving 50% protected time for research in both of these years.  Recognizing the importance of clinically-grounded research, this schedule optimizes Shaffer Scholars’ clinical training and research training. Comprehensive mentorship and individualized research experiences prepare Shaffer Scholars for successful career trajectories as physician-researchers.  Advantages of this three-year schedule also include supplemental financial support during the second and third years of training and key guidance in developing research grant and career development award applications. 

The Application Process

Application to the Shaffer Scholars Program requires an application to the NewYork-Presbyterian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program. We welcome interest in the Scholars’ Program from a range of applicants—from those with a passion but little prior research experience to those with an additional research degree (e.g., MD/PhD).

Like our CAP residency program as a whole, the Shaffer Scholars Program welcomes the recruitment and training of applicants with racial, ethnic, or other identities that are under-represented in child and adolescent psychiatry. 

Additional Information

For more information, please contact Sue Rosenthal at