Predoctoral Fellowships FAQs

See also the F Kiosk FAQs.

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, independent scientist. The dissertation project needs to be related to the sponsor's research area and should include a promising approach to the problem, with a strong training potential.

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.

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.

I plan to get a master's degree. Am I eligible for an NIGMS fellowship?

No. NIGMS offers predoctoral fellowships for students who are in a Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D. or other combined professional-Ph.D. degree program in the biomedical sciences.

I just want to go to medical school. Am I eligible for an NIGMS fellowship?

No. NIGMS predoctoral F30 fellowships support medical training only as part of the combined M.D.-Ph.D. degree at institutions that are not currently supported by the NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program. The purpose of this F30 fellowship is to prepare students for careers in biomedical research.

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

NIH and NIGMS provide several forms of support for students from underrepresented groups, including the F30, F31 and the Diversity Supplement Program.

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 and various foundations or others. 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.