Institutes and Research Divisions
John E. Fogarty International Center
for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences


The John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences:


Important Events in FIC History

January 18, 1967--Rep. Melvin Laird (Wisc.) proposed to Congress to establish an international research and study center at NIH as a memorial to the late Rep. John E. Fogarty (R.I.). Subsequently President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that he was seeking funds to establish the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences.

February 26, 1968--Departmental approval was given to establish the Fogarty International Center.

March 16, 1968--Official notice was published in the Federal Register.

July 1, 1968--FIC became operational. The NIH Office of International Research was abolished and several of its functions were transferred to FIC.

June 1979--The Task Force to Assess the Missions and Functions of the Fogarty International Center reported to the director, NIH, on its year-long study of the center, reaffirming FIC's importance as the focus for international aspects of biomedical and behavioral research at NIH, and recommending specific measures for strengthening and broadening its programs.

June 1982--FIC was designated a WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Training in Biomedicine.

September 1985--The first meeting of the FIC Advisory Board was held.

November 1985--FIC was established in law (P.L. 99-158, sec. 482).

Director's of FIC

NameDate of Birth Dates of Office
Milo D. Leavitt, Jr.June 24, 1915June 16, 1968July 1978
Leon Jacobs1915July 1, 1978June 29, 1979
Edwin D. Becker (Actg)1930July 1979April 1980
Vida H. BeavenJune 2, 1939April 1980January 1981
Claude Lenfant1928February 1981July 1982
Mark S. Beaubien (Actg)Oct. 20, 1921July 1, 1982January 1984
Craig K. Wallace1928January 1984December 1988
Carl Kupfer (Actg)1928Jan. 1, 1988July 1988
Philip E. SchambraNov. 8, 1934August 1988.........................

Biographical Sketch of FIC Director

Philip E. Schambra, Ph.D.

Dr. Schambra was born in Saginaw, Mich., on November 8, 1934. He received a B.A. degree in physics from Rice University in 1956 and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Yale University in 1962. He did postdoctoral work for 2 years at the Institute for Radiobiology in Karlsruhe, West Germany. From 1964 to 1967, he worked at the Donner Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. His scientific field of specialization is the biological effects of densely ionizing radiation.

In 1967 he joined the NIH as a grants associate. He then served for 3 years at the Office of Management and Budget as examiner for the NIH budget. From 1971 through 1974, he worked on the staff of the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

Returning to the NIH in 1974, Dr. Schambra served as associate director for interagency programs of NIEHS, where he directed and administered a variety of interagency and international activities involving NIEHS and other agencies.

In 1980 he became chief of the International Coordination and Liaison Branch at FIC. In 1984, he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India, as science attache and international health representative. In India, he had direct responsibility for many cooperative U.S.-Indian science projects, and played a major role in initiating the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program. In August 1988, he was appointed FIC director.


Major Programs


The FIC AIDS International and Training Research Program enables U.S. universities and other research institutions to provide HIV/AIDS-related training to scientists and health professionals from developing nations and to forge collaborative ties with research institutions in countries highly impacted by the AIDS virus.

In collaboration with NIEHS and CDC's National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the International Training and Research Program in Environmental and Occupational Health funds nonprofit public or private institutions to support international training and research programs in general environmental and occupational health for foreign health scientists, clinicians, epidemiologists, toxicologists, engineers, industrial hygenists, chemists and allied health workers.

In cooperation with NICHD, the FIC International and Training Research Program in Population and Health funds U.S. nonprofit public or private institutions to support population-related sciences research.

The International Training and Research Program in Emerging Infectious Disease, developed in collaboration with NIAID, addresses the need for international training and biomedical and behavioral research in these disease areas.

FIC is also the U.S. Government's organizational focus for an interagency program to identify bioactive products from plant and marine sources while preserving the rich natural diversity of rain forests and oceans. Funded by NIH, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, but administered by FIC, the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups Program promotes both economic growth and ecological conservation by demonstrating the value of biological resources from which natural pharmaceuticals are derived.

In cooperation with the NIH Office of Research on Minority Health, FIC has established a Minority International Research Training Program to provide international educational training and research opportunities to groups underrepresented in the scientific professions. Training grants are provided to U.S. colleges and universities, including consortia with minority representation, to stimulate students to pursue scientific careers by enhancing their undergraduate and graduate training through international experiences. Awards are provided to faculty members to conduct independent research and to serve as mentors to students abroad.

A small grants program, called the Fogarty International Research Collaboration Awards, or FIRCA, is offered to U.S. institutions for collaboration between U.S. principal investigators on regular NIH research grants and scientists in Africa, Asia (except Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan), Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the non-U.S. Caribbean, the Middle East, and Pacific Ocean Islands (except Australia and New Zealand). The FIRCA provides funds for supplies and equipment necessary to the collaborative research project (for the foreign collaborator's laboratory only), and funds for travel for the U.S. principal investigator, the foreign researcher, and/or associates. A similar award, the HIV/AIDS and Related Illnesses Collaboration Award, provides small grants in support of cooperative research between NIH grant recipients and foreign institutions throughout the world.


Fellowship programs administered by the FIC enable foreign scientists to pursue their research interests in U.S. laboratories and, conversely, provide opportunities for U.S. researchers to work in foreign laboratories. The International Research Fellowship Program enables promising postdoctoral biomedical or behavioral scientists from developing and emerging nations to gain further research experience by working in the laboratory of a distinguished U.S. scientist on a problem of mutual interest.

The Senior International Fellowship Program is for U.S. researchers well recognized and established in their careers who wish to spend up to 12 months in a foreign laboratory pursuing a project of mutual interest to the fellow and the foreign host scientist.

Several foreign countries support fellowships that enable U.S. biomedical researchers who hold doctoral degrees to spend up to a year in a foreign research laboratory. The FIC is involved in the initial stages of these programs, but the funding and administration is by the foreign country. The FIC publicizes the availability of postdoctoral research fellowships from the Academy of Finland, the Health Research Board of Ireland, the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Japanese Science and Technology Agency, the Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities, and the Swedish Medical Research Council. The FIC also arranges for receipt and technical merit review of applications and transmits the applications and reviewers' comments to the awarding country for final selection.

Additionally, FIC announces the availability of postdoctoral fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany and from the National Science Council in Taipei, Taiwan.


FIC contributes to advanced studies in the health sciences by capitalizing on worldwide intellectual resources, biomedical knowledge, research findings, and technological advances; by bringing these to bear on the identification of health-related issues of international importance; and by developing strategies that will have a worldwide impact on disease prevention.

The FIC Scholars-in-Residence Program provides the opportunity for a small number of eminent scientists to spend up to 12 months at the NIH interacting with intramural staff and conducting studies of international interest and importance in contemporary biomedicine and international health.

International Relations

The FIC serves as the coordinating link between NIH and other U.S. agencies, foreign governments and international organizations on international biomedical research matters. It is responsible for the administrative oversight of all intergovernmental agreements in which the NIH participates.

The center also fosters and facilitates international cooperation in biomedical research by disseminating information on foreign biomedical research activities to the NIH research institutes and informing foreign agencies and institutions about the international activities of the NIH; preparing background materials for NIH senior staff participation in international meetings and discussions; providing advice to the director and deputy director, NIH, and to senior staff of the NIH research institutes on policies and procedures relating to international activities; assisting the institutes by obtaining clearances for awards requiring State Department approval and by interpreting DHHS and State Department procedures relating to international travel; serving as a channel for communications to and from U.S. embassies abroad and foreign embassies in Washington; and coordinating responses to inquiries on international issues.

The FIC ensures that NIH interests are represented as new opportunities for research collaboration in the life sciences arise through initiatives of the U.S. Government, foreign governments, multilateral and international organizations.

In its role as a WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Training in Biomedicine, the FIC provides research fellowships and grants, conducts studies, and sponsors workshops involving the NIH, WHO, PAHO and U.S. and foreign biomedical research organizations to identify and further strengthen the health of the U.S. population and contribute to the enhancement of health worldwide.

As the NIH focus of international activities, the FIC has both an integrative and administrative role in activities supported by other PHS components and other Federal agencies. The FIC is the NIH representative in maintaining liaison with such international organizations as WHO, PAHO, the European Union, and the European Medical Research Councils.

The FIC director meets regularly with international representatives of the NIH ICD's to exchange information and views on NIH international activities and to discuss implementation of related policies and procedures.

International Services Branch

The ISB provides support to foreign scientists in the NIH visiting, special volunteer, and guest researcher programs.

For foreign scientists engaged in NIH intramural research, the ISB handles administrative and immigration matters ISB also provides visa assistance to foreign special experts, exchange scientists, special volunteers, and visiting fellows engaged in research in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA.