Predoctoral Fellowships FAQs

Fellowship awards support training in fields within the NIGMS mission. We encourage applications from candidates earning their Ph.D degree at a broad range of organizations across the nation and U.S. territories.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents seeking NIH support for biomedical research training must have identified a research sponsor and progressed to the Ph.D. dissertation research stage of their training. The research training project proposed in the application is typically related to the sponsor's research area and should be within the NIGMS mission. The candidate should describe training activities that will build skills and serve as a strong foundation for developing into a productive biomedical researcher. Applications to the Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research must include a letter from the applicant organization certifying that the candidate will contribute to diversity in the biomedical research workforce.

Skills development and career advancement are important objectives for the fellowship. The applicant and research sponsor should work together to develop a specific and effective training plan that will promote these objectives. The application should describe how the training environment is well suited for the development of the candidate. Including additional co-sponsors and mentors can contribute to a strong research training plan, regardless of the career stage of the research sponsor.

There is not an expectation that the fellowship application contains the candidate's original ideas, although the wording of the research training plan must be the candidates. Doctoral students typically begin graduate research under close supervision and direction while working on a project that is part of the research program of the sponsor. During the training, the candidate will acquire skills and knowledge and often will propose next steps in the research with increasing self-direction. Occasionally, the research training project will propose aims, collaborators, technical approaches new to the sponsor's research program. In these cases, the fellowship application should describe how the fellow will achieve them given the research training environment and resources.

NIGMS supports basic biomedical research areas that might also be of interest to the National Science Foundation, various foundations, and other funders. It is important to demonstrate that the sponsor's research training environment has sufficient funds to support the proposed research.

NIGMS will not fund a predoctoral applicant who currently holds another fellowship award that essentially duplicates the support that would be received under the NRSA application.

In accordance with ongoing efforts to support family-friendly work environments for the NIH-supported workforce, NRSA fellowship awardees are now eligible to request additional funds for costs for childcare provided by a licensed provider. Requests may be made at the time of the competing application, as a "just in time" submission prior to receiving the award notice, in the annual progress report, or mid-budget period as an administrative supplement (see NOT-OD-21-070 and the associated notices, including NOT-OD-21-075). Eligible fellows are encouraged to consult the FAQs and the Grants Management Specialist on the Notice of Award.

Yes. Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research is an integral component of any training program. Successful completion of such instruction is required during Year 01 of a fellowship award. Instructional details must be reported in the Year 02 Progress Report. Full details about this policy requirement can be found in the NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-10-019. This requirement is fulfilled if the fellow provides documentation that acceptable instruction has been completed within the last four years and during the current career stage.