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NIH NRSA F31 and F31 Diversity Proposal Preparation 


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests nearly $32.3 billion annually in medical research, making it the world's largest public funder of biomedical research.

The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, is one of the many funding opportunities offered by NIH. This fellowship provides predoctoral students the opportunity to pursue individualized, mentored research training. 

F31 Parent and Diversity at a Glance

  • Students may apply for up to five years of funding
  • Award includes stipend ($24,324 a year) and institutional allowance
  • If awarded, NIH will pay for up to 60 percent of the requested institutional tuition and fees


Determining Which On-Campus Office To Apply Through

An application will be processed through Graduate Division if the applicant is a single-degree seeking student enrolled in a graduate program. However, students enrolled in a professional degree program (i.e. PharmD, PharmD/PhD, or MD/PhD program) will need to contact Health Sciences Sponsored Project Pre-Award Office (HSSPPO). 

If an applicant meets the above criteria and the submission requires an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to approve, sign, or submit an application on the applicant’s behalf, please route the application to

Important: New FOA Numbers Issued as of February 16, 2018!

  • PA-18-671Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31)
  • PA-18-666: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31)

Before You Begin

eRA Commons User ID

An eRA Commons User ID with the PD/PI role assigned is required for student applicants. E-mail with the following details to request a user ID or verify that your account has the PD/PI role.

  • First name
  • Middle initial
  • Last name
  • User name - Must be unique within the Commons, containing 6-20 characters, and can only contain letters, numbers, or the following special characters: - (hyphen), _ (underscore), . (period), or @ (at sign).
  • E-mail address
  • Role = PI/PD

The sponsor/mentor must have an eRA Commons account with the Sponsor role assigned.

Submitting Conflict of Interest Forms

Do not submit financial conflict of interest (COI) without a UCSD proposal number, which can be obtained my e-mailing a cover sheet to

Federal policies mandate financial COI disclosure for all NIH Senior/Key Personnel. Prior to submitting the F31 application, each individual listed as Senior/Key Personnel must submit the Financial Interest Disclosure for PHS-Funded Research form to UCSD's COI office.

Please CC on all COI form submissions.

(Senior/Key Personnel at institutions other than UCSD may follow their institutions’ COI disclosure procedures. Senior/Key Personnel at other institutions without a PHS-approved COI disclosure procedure must follow UCSD's procedure and submit the appropriate forms to the UCSD COI office.)


US citizens, nationals, and permanent residents enrolled in a PhD program or equivalent research degree are eligible to apply. For more information, see Section III of the F31 program announcement.

Your sponsor must also meet UCSD’s Principal Investigator eligibility requirement. Work with your department staff to determine whether your sponsor holds one of the appropriate title codes.

Internal Deadlines

Applications must be submitted to the Graduate Division no later than 12 calendar days before the NIH deadline. At that time, all application sheets must be filled in, the Specific Aims, Research Strategy, and Bibliography must be in good draft form, and all other attachments must be in final form.

The complete application, including the Specific Aims, Research Strategy, and Bibliography in final form, must be submitted to the Graduate Division no later than 5 business days before the NIH deadline.

The Graduate Division cannot guarantee on-time submission or thorough review of applications submitted after these deadlines.

Graduate Division Submission Deadlines for the August 2018 NIH F31 Application Cycle:

How to Apply

Please download this UCSD NIH F31 Application Guide to help fill out the application. Use this guide as a reference when filling out the SF424 portion of the application, as it contains UCSD institutional information. All attachments should follow the NIH Table of Page Limits.

  • Use the online application site ASSIST, set up a login through eRA Commons (referenced in Preliminary Requirements above), and follow the step by step instructions to submit.
  • On the days of the internal deadline please create a PDF of your application from ASSIST and email to A reply will follow suggesting revisions and edits that can be made before the national deadline. 

If you have any questions concerning the application, refer to the NIH Fellowship Application Guide.

Items to be Submitted to Graduate Division

 Five items are required for submission to the Graduate Division:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Fellowship Assurance Form
  3. Checklist
  4. Budget Guide
  5. Application (PDF copy of ASSIST application)

The application form is downloaded from All application components except for letters of reference will be attached to this application form. Letters of recommendation should be sent via eRA Commons.

Email your completed application form or ASSIST identifier, budget workbook, application checklist, and fellowship cover sheet to the Graduate Fellowship Advisor by the internal deadline.

The Fellowship Assurance Form must be submitted in hard copy, either in person at the Graduate Division or via campus mail (MC 0003).

Once the application form, the budget workbook, the application checklist and the fellowship cover sheet have been received, the Graduate Division will review the application and notify you of changes that need to be made. When the application is in final form and the fellowship assurance form has been received, the Graduate Division will submit the application on your behalf.

For Diversity Applicants Only

Certification Letter for Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity (F31 Diversity only)

  • Diversity applicants will need to attach their Certification Letter for Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity as part of section 12.
  • This letter may not be written by your sponsor. Applications with diversity certifications written by the student’s sponsor may not be reviewed by the NIH. The letter may be written by your department chair as long as the chair does not directly supervise or mentor you. If your department chair supervises or mentors you and you need help finding someone who can write this letter, please contact the Graduate Fellowship Advisor.
  • The letter must clearly state why you are eligible for the diversity award. This can be established by
    1. referring to the groups that qualify under the NSF’s diversity requirement
    2. certifying that you have a disability
    3. showing you come from a disadvantaged background; the third option is easier to establish if you can show that you have received previous awards reserved for those with disadvantaged backgrounds.

Helpful Links

Important Information

The Graduate Division does not assume responsibility for errors or omissions in the applicant's submission. We will do our best to review the format of the proposal; however final responsibility for format, content, and completeness always rests with the applicant. Please proofread the application fully and connect with both the graduate fellowship advisor and departmental fund manager for additional guidance prior to submission.