Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides support to outstanding early graduate students in science (including social science), technology, engineering, and mathematics.  The NSF GRF is a prestigious fellowship that has been awarded since 1952 with the goal of supporting the next generation of “knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.”

Is NSF GRF the Right Fit for You?

What are they looking for?

The NSF GRF supports early graduate students who show the potential for outstanding STEM research careers.  Strong applicants will demonstrate both ‘intellectual merit’ and ‘broader impact’.

What does this fellowship include?

The NSF GRF provides three years of support and includes a stipend for living expenses and funds for tuition and fees. Fellows also have access to special opportunities for professional development and international research.

Who is eligible to apply?

The NSF GRF supports early graduate students who are US citizens, US nationals, or permanent residents in STEM fields (including the social sciences) who are pursuing a research-based master’s or Ph.D.


When should I apply?

You may apply only once as a graduate student, in either your first or second year of graduate study.  The deadlines for the 2018 competition can be found here.

Ready to apply? Scroll down for GradFund Resources.

GradFund Resources for your NSF GRF Application

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Step-By-Step Tutorial

The GradFund NSF GRF will take you step-by-step through the process of writing your application. From getting to know the NSF to completing the last piece of the application, this guide will help get you there.

Meet with Us

Meet with a GradFund Fellowship Advisor for a ‘Help with a Funder’ or ‘Application Essay Conference’ meeting. Learn more about our meeting types and other services here.

NSF GRF Proposal Writing Tutorial

We have developed the NSF GRF tutorial to assist you in the development of a NSF GRF application. Our tutorial is designed to teach you best practices in proposal development, to understand how to navigate the NSF GRF application process, and to help you with the task of writing a competitive application.

Proposal Writing 101

Articles & Advice

Make the Case That Your Project Will Contribute to Your Field

From a funder’s perspective, your passion for your project isn’t enough. Funders want to know that you have designed a project that does more than simply exercise your own intellectual curiosity. Even when it is not explicitly stated among the priorities listed in the...

Developing a Relationship with your NSF Program

*This blog is in preparation for GradFund’s upcoming Applying to the NSF workshop The National Science Foundation funds graduate students every year in a wide array of disciplines, from cultural anthropology to biomedical engineering. Awards are available for almost...

The NSF INTERN Program: Supplement Funding for Non-Academic Research Internships

On August 27, 2018, the National Science Foundation published a “Dear Colleagues” letter announcing a supplemental source of funding for principal investigators to help provide non-academic research experience to their graduate students.  The INTERN program, as it is...

Strategies for Revision Series (Part 2)

Have a draft of a research statement or personal narrative for your fellowship application? Feel like it’s in pretty good shape, but not sure how to give it that top-level shine? This post suggests a strategy of revision for seeing each part of your essay in a new...

Strategies for Revision Series (Part 1)

Have a draft of a research statement? Sometimes get a sneaking suspicion that it’s not quite hanging together? This post suggests a strategy for revision that’s quick, straightforward, and yet often effective in shedding light on structural problems. I can’t claim...

Procrastinating on your Proposal? Recover Your Motivation for Your Project (Post 3)

One thing reviewers look for in an application is your excitement for the project you’re proposing. But sometimes, it’s hard to access your own excitement. Grad school is a long haul, and even the most passionate researcher on the most interesting project will...

Procrastinating on your Proposal? Try These Tips To Jump-Start Your Writing Process (Post 2)

Some applications have so many different parts, each with its own guidelines, that the process can feel overwhelming. But remember: you only have to work on one piece at a time! Research statements and personal statements are required components in most grant...

Procrastinating on your Proposal? Try One of These Tips To Get Started (Post 1)

We all procrastinate from time to time. The high standards and minimal structure of many graduate programs can make procrastination especially likely for even the most capable students, and when we slip into feelings of guilt or shame, it can become even harder to...

How to Identify What Reviewers Want?

At GradFund we always say "you need to know the funder". But, why is this important? And how do you do it? Reviewers for graduate grants and fellowships are usually interested in both short-term deliverables (i.e. what training or research you will undertake for the...

Featured Funder: Point Foundation National LGBTQ Scholarship Fund

Today’s Featured Funder, Point Foundation, is a unique scholarship organization for “out” lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ) students. Awardees receive funding for up to five years of educational expenses and also participate in mentoring...

NSF GRF Proposal Writing Workbook

Once you’ve watched Proposal Writing 101, dive into our extended NSF GRF Proposal Writing Workbook. The workbook will take you step-by-step through the development of a NSF GRF application.

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