Rutgers - School of Graduate Studies

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?


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.

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

What to Expect: Application Review Meeting

I’ve had this experience often: At the end of an exhaustive meeting with a fellowship applicant—after we’ve gone over specific points of structure and tone in minute detail; after we’ve reviewed broader issues of purpose and audience; after we’ve discussed background...
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Unpacking Jargon—Part Two

Part One of this post [link] described reasons to limit jargon in your proposal, and two strategies to help you minimize your use of jargon. Part Two offers more specific advice for addressing jargon in your writing. Define for yourself each term you or your readers...
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Unpacking Jargon—Part One

Jargon serves important functions in any field of activity. It lends accuracy and efficiency to communication within a subfield, and terms that begin as jargon may eventually enter into common use: consider the current popularization of specialized terms like...
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A Visit from the SSRC- Part II

Looking to apply for the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship (SSRC IDRF)? Recently, GradFund hosted an information session on the IDRF presented by its Program Director Daniella Sarnoff. The presentation provided a wealth...
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A Visit from the SSRC-Part I

At Rutgers, we recently had a visit from the program officer of one of the most prestigious fellowship awards for which we help graduate students apply: the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship. The IDRF supports 9-12 months...
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Alternative grants for STEM graduate students

Although the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) F31 grants are two of the most well-known research fellowships for STEM graduate students, they are not the only sources of substantial...
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“But What If It’s Just a Waste of Time?”: How the Process of Grant Writing Can Advance Your Career—Part Two

Part One of this post described ways to use the application process to expand and strengthen your professional network. Part Two describes how attention to detail in the grant writing process offers benefits beyond increasing your application’s chance of success....
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Applying to the NSF-GRFP: Advice from a Student in Neuroscience

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP) provides three years of graduate support to students pursuing doctorate degrees in STEM fields. Students in their first and second years of graduate education are eligible to apply. Many...
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Featured Fellowship: National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program

By: Marian Ahn Thorpe Writing a dissertation about education? If you are in the final data analysis and/or write-up stage of your dissertation, consider applying to the NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program. The fellowship provides $27,500 to doctoral students...
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Developing your Specific Aims for an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA (F30/F31/F32)

The NIH NRSA fellowship is a training award for pre- and post-doctoral fellows to supplement biomedical research training. One of the most important sections of this award is the Specific Aims section, in which the applicant must outline 2-3 research objectives for...
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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!
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Meet with Us!

Introducing A New Booking System!

We look forward to meeting with you!  Effective May 2017, we are using a new meeting booking system to manage GradFund appointments.

Whether you are a new or returning user, if you have not yet used our new meeting platform WCOnline, please click on the first time user link to set up an account so you can log into the system.

First visit? Click here to register. Returning? Log in below to book a meeting.

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Home Forums National Institutes of Health Individual Fellowships

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