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

Eligibility vs. Competitiveness: Understanding the Difference and Why It Matters

Eligibility is one of the most important factors an applicant should look into as they are searching for funding options. After all, if they don't fit within the criteria specified by the funder, applicants will be disqualified from the competition even if they submit...
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Finding Funding for International Research: A Beginner’s Guidepost

There are myriad awards, some of which are open to both domestic and international students, that allow an applicant to conduct up to a year of research abroad. At Rutgers, our students generally look into these opportunities to conduct a portion of or their entire...
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Applying for History Research and Travel Grants

At GradFund, we offer graduate students and post-doc scholars alike, guidance and advice for applying to different types of external funding. Most students know about the Fulbright-Hays fellowships, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, and...
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So You’ve Decided to Apply for Funding: Tips on Planning Your Next Step

As a fellowship advisor, one of the questions that I most frequently encounter at the end of my meetings with students is, "What do I do next?" By asking this question, students are right on point in identifying a crucial piece of knowledge in their interaction with...
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Is Archival Research Right for Me? (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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Asserting Your Narratives – A Defense of Narcissus

We've discussed how the personal statements matter as much as the research statements for STEM applicants. But we haven't really discuss what to include or how to approach your various narratives. From a content perspective, narratives are an exercise in...
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Writing Grant Proposals When Your Research Project Has Changed

Suggestions on writing strong funding applications often emphasize the significance of starting out early. This, in general, is great advice. By making a head start on your applications, you will not only have time to develop your project, but also to get feedback...
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Revise and Resubmit: Demonstrating Intellectual Growth in Funding Applications

Making a second attempt at a funding competition can seem daunting, especially if you have recently learned that your application was unsuccessful. In my first post on revising and submitting an unsuccessful grant or fellowship application, I addressed the steps...
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STEM Proposals: Is the Science Sufficient?

As engineers, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, or computer scientists, we have a propensity to get caught up in our work. Because Science! When our work is rejected or criticized, we ask questions about how we can improve it. I write from experience as I type...
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Applying for Fellowships and Grants as an International Student – Part Two (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...
Read More

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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