Individual Predoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowships Practices and Guidance

NIGMS provides predoctoral fellowships to eligible individuals who seek advanced predoctoral research training in basic biomedical sciences through the National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD or Other Dual-Doctoral Degree Fellowships for Students at Institutions without NIH-Funded Institutional Predoctoral Dual-Degree Training Programs (F30) and the NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (F31).

The following guidance is offered to prospective applicants for NRSA programs (F30 and Diversity F31) supported by NIGMS. NIGMS is most enthusiastic about applications that are aligned with NIGM’s scientific priorities as outlined in our Strategic Plan [PDF] and that are consistent with the following practices.

  • The candidate has identified a research sponsor and a dissertation project that falls within the NIGMS mission, and the candidate shows strong training potential. That is, do the training activities proposed build and enhance the candidate’s likelihood to develop into a productive researcher?
  • The research training is individualized and tailored to the candidate’s strengths and opportunity points.
  • The application includes plans for the development and continued refinement of Individual Development Plans through the course of the research training.
  • There is a clear description of how the proposed fellowship will make a significant impact on the candidate’s research training and development as a biomedical scientist.

  • ​We encourage applicants to:

    • Visit the​ NIH F Kiosk for fellowship parent announcements, instructions, stipend levels and deadlines.
    • Contact the appropriate Program Officer before preparing an NRSA application to determine if their application is aligned with the Institute’s priorities.

    NOTE: NIGMS does not support the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31).


    Applicants should keep the following eligibility information in mind:

    • At the time of the award, the candidate must be:
      • a United States citizen,
      • or a non-citizen national,
      • or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possess an Alien Registration Receipt Card (1-151 or 1-551) or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident.
    • The candidate should have a mentor who is committed to the successful transition of the applicant to a subsequent appropriate position, have a strong track record in training, and have an active, funded research program in the area of the applicant's proposed research.
    • NRSA F30 applicants must:
      • Have matriculated into a dual-degree program no more than 48 months prior to the due date of the initial (-01) application.
      • Typically, at the time of application students are expected to be in their third or fourth year of dual-degree training and to have progressed to Ph.D. candidacy by the time of award.
      • Not seek funding beyond the 8th year in a dual-degree program. NIGMS will hold strictly to the requirement that at least 50 percent of the funding support research leading to the research doctorate.
      • Be at an institution without an Institutional Predoctoral Dual-Degree Training Programs (F30).
    • NRSA Diversity F31 applicants must:
      • Include a letter from the Institute certifying the candidate would be contributing to diversity in biomedical research. Applications that do not contain this letter may be withdrawn before review.
      • Be an advanced Ph.D. student. NRSA Diversity F31 is intended to support “late-stage” training only. That is, this program supports individuals conducting dissertation research who have matriculated to PhD candidacy (typically after completing a “qualifying exam” or some other program-specific threshold). Students are expected to have progressed to Ph.D. candidacy by the time of award.
      • Generally, request 2-3 years of individual NRSA support to complete their dissertation research training and related activities.

    Information for Applicants

    Review and Funding

    Applications are evaluated for scientific and technical merit by scientific peer review at fellowship study sections organized by the NIH Center for Scientific Review. Applications for each fellowship program announcement are reviewed as groups, and percentiled within each group. Following review, applicants can retrieve the critique (summary statement) of their proposal and priority score from the NIH Commons.

    The following factors are considered in making funding decisions:

    • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
    • Contributions to portfolio breadth and diversity as outlined in the NIGMS Strategic Plan [PDF].
    • Availability of funds and alignment with NIGMS Funding Policies.