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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 ($24,816 a year) and institutional allowance
  • If awarded, NIH will pay for up to 60 percent of the requested institutional tuition and fees


Important: New FOA Numbers Issued as of February 22, 2019!

  • PA-19-195Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31)
  • PA-19-196: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Diversity F31)

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

Internal Deadlines

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

  • On the day 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 should be made before the final internal deadline.

Deadlines for NIH F31 April Cycle

Type of Deadline What's Due
March 7, 2019 Intent to apply Email coversheet to 
March 25, 2019 1st Internal Deadline Send an email to with the ASSIST Identifier, stating your application is ready for review. Attachments should be in good draft form.
April 1, 2019 Final Internal Deadline

Submit application on ASSIST, this will trigger an email notification. Completed COI forms emailed to 

April 8, 2019: Agency Deadline 5:00 p.m. PST

Before You Begin

NIH uses an online application portal called ASSIST. You will only be able to access ASSIST with an eRA Commons account. Please follow the instructions below to request an eRA Commons username.

eRA Commons User ID

An eRA Commons User ID with the PD/PI role assigned is required for student applicants.

Fill out an eRA Commons Account Request Form to create an eRA Commons username or to update and change an existing account.

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


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.

How to Apply

Submitting an NIH F31 proposal is a multifaceted process. Below you will information of the different pieces of the process.

  • The Application:
    • Use the online portal ASSIST (you will need an eRA Commons account to do this, see above) 
  • Letters of Reference:
    • Three to five reference letters are required for this application.
    • These letters will be submitted through eRA Commons, seperate from your ASSIST application. Please see the UCSD NIH Application Guide for details. 
  • Campus Requirements:
    • ePD Number
      • This number helps with the internal administration of the award.
      • You can obtain this number by contacting or your mentor's fund manager.
    • Conflict of Interest Forms (COI)
      • COI forms should not be submitted without an ePD number.
      • Federal policies require COI forms for individuals listed as a Senior/Key Personnel (sponsor and co-sponsors) on the application before submission.
      • These forms should be sent to by the final internal deadline. Please CC on ALL COI submissions.
    • Fellowship Assurance Form


Downloadable Forms

  1. Application Guide UCSD NIH F31
    • Guide to filling out the ASSIST application online, for your reference.
  2. Biosketch
  3. Budget Guide
    • Provides budget numbers for ASSIST application, for your reference.
  4. Checklist
    • Provides a step by step guide for the entire NIH F31 campus process, for your reference.
  5. Conflict of Interest Foms
  6. Cover Page
  7. Fellowship Assurance Form
    • Submit a hard copy, in person at the Graduate Division or via campus mail (MC 0003).


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.
  • Letters should be sent to graduate division prior to submission to obtain the Dean’s signature.
  • Letter should be titled “Diversity_Eligibility_Ltr."
  • 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.