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NIH NRSA F31 and F31 Diversity Fellowship Program 

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. 

Please note that each applicant is responsible for determining their own individual eligibility for any fellowship. This includes but is not limited to reviewing which agencies are participating in a funding opportunity announcement. Each applicant should also be aware of the provisions of the award and the requirements of the opportunity, which can be seen and reviewed throughout this page and the hyperlinked websites. 

At a Glance

  • Students may apply for up to five years of funding. Learn more here
  • 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 

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

New PA Numbers

  • PA-20-246Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31)
  • PA-20-251: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31-Diversity)


US citizens, nationals, and permanent residents enrolled in a PhD program or equivalent research degree are eligible to apply.

The applicant must be at the dissertation research stage of training at the time of award and must show evidence of high academic performance in the sciences, and commitment to a career as an independent research scientist.

Students matriculated in a dual-degree program (e.g. MD/PhD, DO/PhD, DDS/PhD, or DVM/PhD) who seek support for both dissertation research training and clinical training are not eligible. These students should look at the NIH F30 program announcement as a potential funding opportunity. 

For more information, see Section III of the F31 program announcement (see links above).

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

The Graduate Division cannot guarantee on-time submission or a 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.

NIH F31 April Cycle



Type of Deadline What's Due
July 10 Intent to apply Email intake form to 
July 28 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.
August 4 Final Internal Deadline

Update the Submission Status on ASSIST to "Ready for Submission." This will trigger an email notification.

Agency Deadline: August 10, 2020, 5:00 p.m. PST

Check here for specific deadlines for 2021

NIH Deadlines are standard, when the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is moved to the following business day.


NOTE: If these deadlines are not met we do not guarantee a full review or on-time submission; your proposal may be submitted without review which may lead to errors and/or late submission.

How to Apply

Application Process

Submitting an NIH F31 proposal is a multifaceted process. Below you will find information about the different pieces of the process along with the UCSD NIH Application Guide.

The Application

NIH uses an online application portal called ASSIST, from which you will prepare, submit, and track your application.

To access ASSIST, you will need an eRA Commons account. You will also need to create an ORCID iD and connect this to your eRA Commons account. 

Search for PA-20-246 if applying for NIH F31 Parent and PA-20-251 for NIH F31 Diversity. Follow the step by step instructions to submit.

  •  eRA Commons User ID
    • To request an account or update an existing account fill out an eRA Commons Account Request Form. 
      • NOTE: Both the student and the sponsor/mentor both need an account. A student should request that a PD/PI role be assigned to their profile. The sponsor/mentor should request their eRA Commons account with the Sponsor role assigned.
  • ORCID iD
  • Letters of Reference
    • Three to five reference letters from anyone who is NOT directly involved in the application but who are familiar with the applicant’s qualifications, training, and interests.
    • Your Sponsor/Co-Sponsors cannot write your reference letters (these are your mentors, co-mentors). If your advisors are directly involved in the application, they cannot serve as a reference either. 
      • NOTE: 'Letters of Support' are not the same as 'Reference Letters'.
        • Sponsors/co-sponsors CAN write “LETTERS OF SUPPORT.” Letters of Support are visible to the students and they can be uploaded by the student to their application in the section of “Letters of Support”.
        • 'Reference Letters' are private and can only be uploaded by the writer via eRA Commons.
    • These letters will be submitted through eRA Commons, separate from your ASSIST application.
    • Make sure to provide the correct PA numbers (see above).
Campus Requirements to Process NIH Application
  • Kuali Record Number
    • This number will be assigned to you once the mentor's fund manager has created a Kuali PD record for your application. The Kuali Record number is used for the internal administration of the proposal.
  • Kuali Conflict of Interest (COI)
    • Kuali COI forms should be submitted prior to submission 
    • The student, the mentor, and any co-mentors should submit COI forms
    • COI forms are submitted through Kuali COI, for more information, click the link above. A fund manager should assist in this process. 
  • Fellowship Assurance Form

To see an example of a funded application, see the Helpful Links dropdown menu. 

Downloadable Forms

  1. Application Guide UCSD NIH F31
    • Guide to filling out the ASSIST application online, for your reference.
  2. Biosketch - Predoctoral Fellowship Biosketch 
  3. Budget Guide
    • Provides budget numbers for ASSIST application, for your reference.
  4. Checklist
    • Coming soon
    • Provides a step by step guide for the entire NIH F31 campus process, for your reference.
  5. Intake Form
    • Submit to by the internal deadline. Note - Formerly known as Cover Page. 
  6. Fellowship Assurance Form
    • Submit to
    • Or submit a hard copy, in person at the Graduate Division or via campus mail (MC 0003).

For Diversity Applicants Only

Description of Candidates Contribution to Program Goals

  • The sponsoring institution must provide a document on institutional letterhead that explains how the candidate’s participation will further the goals of the fellowship program to promote diversity in health-related research.
  • For NIH’s Interest in Diversity, see the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity.
  • The student's department Chair should sign the letter, afterward route to for the Dean’s signature.

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.