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Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

The National Institutes of Health, a part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is tasked with advancing biomedical research to improve the health of Americans. One of the ways in which they advance that goal is by investing in the training of graduate students who will go onto productive, independent biomedical research careers creating knowledge that will protect and improve human health. Read more about the NIH’s mission on their website.

Is an NIH Fellowship the Right Fit for You?

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What are they looking for?

The NIH invests in the training of promising graduate students who will go on to create “fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.”

What does this fellowship include?

The NIH’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral National Research Service Award Fellowships provide up to five years (typically 2-3 years) of support through a stipend for living expenses as well as funds for tuition and fees.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are currently enrolled in a research doctoral degree program.
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When should I apply?

The NIH application requires a detailed explanation of your research and training plans, and should be written with the input of your advisor. Talk to your advisor about whether you are ready to work on your NIH application. There are three application cycles per year, with deadlines in April, August, and December.

Ready to apply? Scroll down for GradFund Resources.

GradFund Resources for your NIH Application

Step-By-Step Tutorial

The GradFund NIH tutorial will take you step-by-step through the process of writing your NIH application. From getting to know your funder to completing the last piece of the application, this guide will get you there. It’s full of great resources from the NIH that will give you valuable insights into their priorities and application process as well as GradFund advice on how to navigate this complex application.

Forums & Chat

Use our forums to exchange ideas with your peers and GradFund staff about applying to the NIH. We also offer an online chat service called ‘Ask a Fellowship Advisor,’ where you can ask quick questions about our services, your scheduled meetings, or application procedures.

Meet with Us

Meet with a GradFund Fellowship Advisor for a Help with a Funder or Application Essay Conference meeting to help get started with, revise, or finish your application.

Mentoring Program

Join a mentoring program and meet regularly with a peer mentor and other graduate students working on this application for help, support, and expert guidance.

NIH Proposal Writing Tutorial

We have developed the NIH tutorial to assist you in the development of an NIH fellowship application. Our tutorial is designed to teach you best practices in proposal development, to understand how to navigate the NIH application process, and to help you with the task of writing a competitive application to the NIH including organizing all of its components.

Proposal Writing 101

Articles and Advice

First Steps in Revising (Advice from the Archives)

Advice from the Archives Series Note: Occasionally, we dig into the archives to uncover a post we feel holds relevant and timely information worthy of a repost. If you are interested in learning more about research grants and fellowships to support your graduate...
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The Reviewer’s Perspective: What You Should Know As You Write Your Application

  I recently had the opportunity to serve as a peer reviewer for a national fellowship competition. It was an interesting and even enjoyable experience and in this post, I would like to share with you some of the things that I learned while serving as a reviewer....
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The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program: Strategies for Writing a Competitive Application

The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows Program is a unique opportunity to apply to spend two years working with a public or private organization committed to advancing the public good and to hiring recent humanities PhDs.  Dr. John Paul Christy, Program Director for Public...
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A Fellowship to Do Some Cool Things

We typically write about fellowship and grant opportunities that are designed to support you and to advance your work on a scholarly project.  In this post, I want to share with you the benefits of a different type of fellowship:  one that will support you as you gain...
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Signposting for Success: Writing Tips for Funding Applications

No one likes being lost. Whether it’s looking for a classroom in a new building, visiting your great aunt in Pittsburgh for the first time, or trying to track down the fabled secret bowling alley in the basement of Loree Hall on Douglass Campus. After enough time...
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Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

GradFund is a grant and fellowship application development service run by a staff of deans, Fellowship Advisors and Peer Mentors. We have a unique staff of graduate and post-doc students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. You may come from Comparative...
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Three Common Pitfalls when Writing Abstracts

Abstracts are a challenging but important part of any fellowship application. The abstract is often the first (or one of the first) components of your application that the reviewer sees. Therefore, it is important to use the abstract to give the reviewer the best...
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Kill Your Darlings! Why You Should Feel Good About Deleting Your Work

Irrelevant. Unnecessary. Redundant. Delete. If you’re a writer and you’ve asked someone to review your work, you may have heard these words or seen them scribbled beside selected sentences and paragraphs of your draft. No matter how tactfully they are communicated,...
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Ideas for Expanding the Reach of Your Research

Many fellowships and grants require you to explain your commitment to “diversity” or “outreach,” whether this is through your research or extracurricular activities. It can be difficult to think of ways to engage with the community and to do so meaningfully, but there...
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Proposal Writing 101: Strategies for Developing a Competitive Application

We are pleased to launch a new GradFund service, proposal writing webinars.  The first in our series is on proposal writing 101 and it will provide you with a general overview of developing a fellowship or grant application and all of its components. Whether you are...
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NIH Proposal Writing Workbook

Once you’ve watched Proposal Writing 101, dive into our extended NIH Proposal Writing Workbook. The workbook will take you step-by-step through the development of an NIH F-31 application.

Login for Access!

In order to access the step-by-step guidance found in our NIH Proposal Development Workbook, please log in to our website using your Rutgers Scarletmail credentials.

GradFund's NIH Forums

Use our forums to ask questions about the NIH and exchange application tips!
Join the Conversation

Stay in Touch!

Sign up for the GradFund Newsletter to get up-to-date news and advice on fellowship and grant competitions.

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Schedule a Meeting

Request a ‘Help with a Funder‘ meeting if you would like to meet with a GradFund fellowship advisor to learn more about your funder’s application process and review criteria. Once you have draft materials ready for feedback, schedule an ‘Application Essay Conference‘ for in-depth review and discussion of your application draft.  Learn more about our services, including additional meeting types and programming, here.

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Home Forums National Institutes of Health Individual Fellowships

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