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For general guidance visit the How to Apply - Application Guide.

General Questions

What types of predoctoral support are available through NHGRI?

NHGRI supports a variety of Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowships with three awards specifically for predoctoral students.

  • The F30 Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral M.D./Ph.D. Fellows are for individuals working on a dual M.D./Ph.D. degree.
  • The F31 Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity are for students from groups underrepresented in the sciences, such as individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, or individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • The F31 Individual Predoctoral Fellowships F31 Individual Predoctoral Fellowships are for individuals working towards a Ph.D. or equivalent research degree; the combined M.D./Ph.D. degree; or other combined professional degree and research doctoral degree in the biomedical, behavioral, health services, or clinical sciences.

Are there other options for predoctoral training besides the F30 and F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (Kirschstein-NRSA) Individual Fellowship Awards available through?

Yes, in fact most predoctoral training is offered through institutional training grants where a person is part of a graduate school program that has a NHGRI T32 training grant. Through the T32 program, a student can receive a stipend and tuition support (the length of time depends on the specific program). Information can be found on NHGRI Funding for Research Training webpage including a map displaying the locations of current T32 training programs.

How can I tell if my research area is within the mission of NHGRI?

NHGRI supports the development of resources, approaches, and technologies that accelerate and support studies focused on the structure and biology of genomes; the genomics of disease; the implementation and effectiveness of genomic medicine; genomic data science and bioinformatics; training, developing, and expanding the diversity of the genomics workforce; and ethical, legal, and social issues related to genomic advances. More details about the institute’s vision and priority areas can be found in the 2020 NHGRI Strategic Vision.

To get a better understanding of the types of research programs supported by NHGRI, please see NIH RePORTER, a database of research funded by NIH. You can search for current NHGRI grants by topic, state, or with keywords.

Also, it is highly encouraged that you send a proposed Specific Aims page to the contact program officer and request feedback.

Do I need to have an advisor chosen before I apply for a predoctoral fellowship?

Yes, to apply for one of the predoctoral fellowships (F30 or F31), you need to be accepted or enrolled into a Ph.D. program. Once in the program, you will identify a research mentor. In the application, you will describe your proposed Ph.D. research project and your mentor’s training plan.

What types of fellowships are available for M.D./Ph.D. students?

The Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual National Research Service Award Fellowships for M.D./Ph.D. (F30) students provides an annual stipend, an offset of a portion of the tuition and fees, and a research allowance for up to six years.

Who do I contact to find out more about fellowships and if I should apply?

You can e-mail the contact program officer for the specific fellowship.

How do I best reference my application when communicating with NIH/NHGRI?

The best number for referencing your application is the grant number that looks like this: 1F31HG012345-01.

Eligibility Questions

What applications are considered?

NHGRI will consider only applications that propose research training directly relevant to the mission of NHGRI. Prospective applicants are encouraged to read the NHGRI Strategic Plan to familiarize themselves with the research areas of interest to the Institute.  For this fellowship program, NHGRI will give funding priority to: (a) applications that focus on genomic sciences and genomic medicine approaches with an emphasis on the quantitative sciences, bioinformatics or technology development, or (b) applications that focus on high priority ELSI issues and provide multidisciplinary conceptual and methodological training, and (c) applicants with a mentor funded by NHGRI.  NHGRI does not support disease-specific research.

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a Scientific Program Contact before preparing an application to discuss the relevance of the proposed research to the Institute's research priorities.

How many years of support can I expect from a F31 fellowship?

Individuals may receive up to 5 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the predoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants (e.g., T32) and the individual fellowship award.

How many years of F32 postdoctoral support can one receive?

Individuals may receive up to 3 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants (e.g., T32) and an individual fellowship award.

If I am currently on a NHGRI Institutional Training Grant, am I eligible to apply for the Kirschstein Individual Fellowship?

Yes, you can receive a total number of 5 years support as a predoctoral fellow. If you have 2 years on a training grant already, you can receive 3 additional years on an individual fellowship.

Is a U.S. citizen working on an M.D./Ph.D. degree in a foreign country eligible for the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral M.D./Ph.D. Fellows (F30)?

According to the F30 fellowship announcement, the sponsoring institution must be a U.S. institution.

Do you need to be a U.S. citizen to receive a Kirschstein–NRSA Fellowship?

Yes, at the time of the award, you must be either a citizen or non-citizen national of the United States or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for Permanent Residence. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible to apply for Kirschstein-NRSA individual fellowships.

Application Questions

I am re-applying for the individual fellowship. Will I need to get new letters of reference for my resubmission?

Yes, you will need to get new reference letters for your resubmission. You can use the same individuals for references, but resubmitted reference letters must be included in the fellowship resubmission.

Could you tell me if the number of publications per applicant is a strict criterion for a successful application?

There is no requirement for an applicant to have a certain number of publications before applying for the fellowship. However, reviewers will look at an applicant’s publication record to determine productivity in their previous training.

Financial Issues

What are the current stipend rates?

Stipend levels may vary or increase from year to year. Check the latest Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Stipends, Tuition/Fees and Other Budgetary Levels Notice.

Who owns computers purchased with institutional allowance funds?

The NRSA fellow is not entitled to keep computers purchased with the Institutional Allowance (IA). IA is under the direct administrative control of the sponsoring institution, which has sole spending authority on behalf of the fellow and in accordance with its policies. However, you may negotiate with the institution if you wish to keep supplies and equipment. NIH is not involved in those decisions.

Current Grantee Issues

Can a fellowship have a no-cost extension?

A “no cost extension” on a fellowship can be requested (and granted), but the extension must be justified based on a need for further training and not the fact that there is money left in the account.

An “extension with cost” can be requested, but it too must be justified by a need for additional training. It is subject to programmatic approval and available funding. The request(s) for extension should be submitted by your Sponsored Programs Office to the Grants Management Specialist for the fellowship.

What is the process for changing mentors?

Transitioning to a new mentor is a straightforward process as long as the research project stays within the scope of the original, peer-reviewed proposal.  An official request should be emailed from the university Sponsored Programs Office to the Grants Management Specialist and the Program Officer assigned to the fellowship.

The request should include the change in mentor, an assurance that the research project will continue to meet the original peer-reviewed proposal, and a current biosketch for the new mentor. This information forms the basis for NHGRI’ decision about the request.

Last updated: May 9, 2021