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Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards
(NRSA) for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31)

Purpose of the Award

  • Provides support for promising predoctoral candidates who will be performing dissertation research and training in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating NIH Institutes during the tenure of the award
  • Provides up to five years of support for research training which leads to the PhD or equivalent research degree, the combined MD/PhD degree, or another formally combined professional degree and research doctoral degree in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences


  • Must propose a dissertation research project and training program that fall in a research area within the scientific mission of the participating NIH Institutes
  • Must propose training that offers an opportunity to enhance the fellow's understanding of the health- related sciences and extend his/her potential for a productive, independent research career
  • Should document the need for the proposed research training and the expected value of the proposed fellowship experience as it relates to the individual’s goals for a career as an independent researcher The application should not be a reiteration of the sponsor’s research program but rather should demonstrate the candidate’s contribution to the originality of the project idea, approach and/or hypotheses, as appropriate for their career stage
  • Proposed training should provide the applicant with:
    • experience conducting research using appropriate, state-of-the-art methods, as well as presenting and publishing the research findings as first author;
    • the opportunity to interact with members of the scientific community at appropriate scientific meetings and workshops (including NIH-sponsored meetings, where available); and
    • a strong foundation in research design, methods, and analytic techniques appropriate to the proposed dissertation research.


  • Must have a baccalaureate degree, or equivalent
  • Must be currently enrolled in a PhD or equivalent research degree program, a formally combined MD/PhD program, or other combined professional/clinical and research doctoral in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences at an accredited domestic or foreign institution
  • Must not be pursuing an MD, DDS, or other clinical, health-professional degree and/or training (with the exception of a combined degree program as mentioned above)
  • Typically may receive up to 5 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the predoctoral level, including any combination of support from an institutional training grant (e.g., T32 or T90) and an individual fellowship award (F31)
  • Each full-time predoctoral or postdoctoral NRSA fellow is eligible to receive $2,500 per budget period for childcare costs provided by a licensed childcare provider. Childcare costs are permitted for dependent children living in the eligible fellow’s home ages 12 and below, or children who are disabled and under age 18.  Please see NOT-OD-21-074 for additional information.

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