Predoctoral Fellowships FAQs

Does the fellowship support all academic fields?

Fellowship awards support training in fields within the NIGMS mission. We encourage applications from students at institutions not already funded by NIGMS T32 training grants.

​How can I get a predoctoral fellowship to help pay for my Ph.D. study?

Predoctoral applicants must have identified a research sponsor and propose a dissertation research project that clearly enhances the applicant's potential to develop into a productive contributor to the biomedical research enterprise. The dissertation project needs to be related to the sponsor's research area and should describe research training activities that will serve as a strong foundation for the candidate to develop into a productive researcher.

I am a member of an underrepresented group. Where can I get support for my biomedical Ph.D.?

F30, F31, Diversity Supplement Program, Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (G-RISE) (T32) and Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD)(T32). We encourage potential applications to learn more about NIH’s interest in diversity by reading the Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity.

I am the first Ph.D. student in my research sponsor's lab. How can I demonstrate a strong training environment?

Research training and career development are important objectives for the fellowship. The applicant and research sponsor may wish to review available institutional programs and/or experienced trainers and describe how these will contribute to the proposed fellowship.

How do I demonstrate that my project is my own idea?

Doctoral students are likely to begin graduate research under close supervision and direction from the research sponsor, while acquiring skills, knowledge and often, pilot observations necessary to propose next steps in research. The research training potential of a proposed project may incorporate aims, collaborators, technical approaches new to the sponsor's research program, with a description of how the fellow will achieve them. The proposed research project and training is intended to provide the candidate with an individualized mentored experience that takes advantage of the candidate’s strengths and address training gaps.

My sponsor does not have current NIGMS funding. Is this a problem?

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 lab has sufficient research funds to support the proposed research.

I had (or currently have) a fellowship sponsored by another organization. Is this a problem?

NIGMS will give priority for funding to applicants who have not already held a fellowship award. 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.

Since NIGMS no longer funds F30 applications from trainees at an institution with an NIH funded Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), how do I determine whether I am eligible?

NIGMS provides a listing of the current funded programs.

I am an M.D.–Ph.D. student interested in an F30 at an eligible institution. However, I want to complete my dissertation research at an institution other than the institution where I am enrolled. Is this allowed?

No. NIGMS expects the dissertation research to be completed at the sponsoring institution or, under extenuating circumstances, at another U.S. institution that does not have an NIGMS-supported MSTP.

Can I request additional funds for childcare costs?​

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.

Is the Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research a component of the NRSA F30 and Diversity F31 application?

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.