Cal State Northridge announced Wednesday that it has been awarded a nearly $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help graduate students transfer from a master’s degree program into a doctoral program, with the hopes that they will work in biomedical research.

The five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for General Medical Sciences to the Bridges to the Doctorate Training Program includes money to cover about 60% of the students’ tuition, along with a $25,000 stipend and additional money to support their research and attendance at professional conferences, according to CSUN.

The Bridges program at CSUN — six students started in the fall and next year’s group will consist of 12 students — is open to students getting master’s degrees in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, nutrition and public health.

“This money can really make a difference for many of our students, who are often the first ones in their families to go to college,” said biology professor MariaElena Zavala, director of the Bridges to the Doctorate Training Program at CSUN. “But equally important, we will be partnering with five institutions. Faculty from those institutions will regularly meet with our Bridges students, providing them with support and mentorship, as well as serving as role models — showing them that they do have a place at some of the top Ph.D. programs in the country.”

CSUN’s Bridges program partners with UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Stanford University, with Zavala noting that one of the program’s goals is to establish strong relationships with its partner institutions.

“What’s exciting is that we have money, through the grant, to support these students as they do their research, and we can use that money to send them to one of our partner institutions if, for some reason, CSUN does not have the resources for them to continue their work,” Zavala added.

Cal State Northridge is among 11 colleges and universities nationwide that have been awarded the grants.

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