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Office of Graduate Student External Grants and Fellowships | GradFund

The National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (NSF DDRIG) is a type of funding offered by many programs within the National Science Foundation. These awards are designed to extend the reach of dissertation research, allowing graduate students to obtain better training and make a greater contribution to their fields. Details of this grant competition will vary depending on which NSF program you apply through. Learn more here.

Is NSF DDRIG the Right Fit for You?


What are they looking for?

The NSF DDRIG is designed to improve the conduct of dissertation research in many STEM fields (including many social sciences) in order to enhance doctoral training and advance knowledge.

What does this fellowship include?

While exact amounts and allowable expenses vary from program to program, the DDRIG provides several thousand dollars to support the conduct of research, such as travel for field work and experimental equipment.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must be enrolled in a Ph.D. in a STEM field at a university in the USA (international students are eligible). Additional requirements vary by DDRIG program.


When should I apply?

Plan to apply at least six months in advance of when you will need these funds, should you win. Many students apply just they begin their dissertation research, or when they have already begun their research and need support for an further work.

Ready to apply? Scroll down for GradFund Resources.

GradFund Resources for your NSF DDRIG Application

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Step-By-Step Tutorial

The GradFund NSF DDRIG 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.

Forums & Chat

Use our forums to exchange ideas with your peers and GradFund staff about applying to the NSF DDRIG.  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. Learn more about our meeting types and other services here.

NSF DDRIG Proposal Writing Tutorial

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

Proposal Writing 101

Articles & 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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NSF DDRIG Proposal Writing Workbook

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

Login for Access!

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

GradFund Forums

Use our forums to ask questions about the NSF DDRIG and exchange application tips!

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Our newsletter will keep you informed about new funding opportunities and upcoming deadlines, as well as information about GradFund services and other resources that will help you search for and apply to funding opportunities.

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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.

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