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National Science Foundation: Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. Three years of support is provided by the program for graduate study that is in a field within the NSF's mission and leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree. Each fellow has a total of five years in which to use these three years of support (as described in the NSF GRFP Guidelines)

At a glance

  • Deadlines to apply in October/November
  • Three years of support
  • Total of 5 years in which support can be used
  • Important applicant info can be found here

Important Deadlines

→ Late July/Early August - Program Solicitation Released

→ Early August - Application Opened

→ Late October/Early November - Application Deadlines (determined by discipline)

→ Early April - Awards Announced

→ Early May - Fellows Acceptance Deadline

Post-Award Administration of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

  • The America COMPETES Act mandates that all graduate students supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) must complete responsible conduct of research (RCR) training. This requirement may be fulfilled through the UCSD Research Ethics Center, a nationally recognized program for RCR instruction. Their schedule of workshops is available at For more information, please contact them at or (858) 822-2647
  • GRFP fellowships may not be concurrently accepted or combined with other federal fellowships, irrespective of the fellow's status. Note: Fellows awarded prior to 2011 may still accept both.
  • NSF graduate fellows must comply with their fellowship responsibilities (such as an annual declaration of their tenure status, annual reporting and other online administrative duties) as described starting on page 13 of the 2016 GRFP Program Guidelines
  • Graduate Division serves as the administering unit for NSF GRFP fellowships for fellows who attend UC San Diego

    Principal Investigator: Dean Jim Antony

    Coordinating Official: Florenz Torralba
    Graduate Fellowship Disbursement Coordinator
    9500 Gilman Drive, MC: 0003
    La Jolla, CA. 92093-0003

The Coordinating Official (CO) serves as the principal contact between the NSF, Graduate Research Fellows, and UC San Diego departments/programs. The CO distributes information to the fellows and certifies their continued eligibility to the NSF.  Contact your Coordinating Official by submitting a ticket to Services & Support Portal for Student Support

NSF fellows must inform the graduate school of their intended attendance at the time they declare their tenure status to the NSF. Changes in fellowship status or activity must also be endorsed/supported by the CO.


The GRFP encourages applications from underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans, in order to broaden and diversify those participating in science and engineering

More important applicant info listed here:

Benefits for Active NSF Fellows for the Academic Year

  • Stipend of $34,000 for a 12-month tenure (approximately $2,833.33/mo)
  • The Cost-of-Education (COE) Allowance will be applied toward the registration fees for all GRFP fellows on a quarterly basis. Any balance due must be covered by the fellow's graduate department/program or faculty mentor. NSF fellows are responsible for covering their summer tuition should they choose to enroll in a summer term. Summer enrollment is not required for NSF fellows.

Requesting Employment Exceptions During Tenure Status

Fellows in pursuit of employment while on active Tenure with the NSF need to work with their Academic Home Department to request an exception to policy.  The request should describe the nature of employment, its relevance to the graduate degree program, number of hours per week or months of employment, and level of compensation. The request should be endorsed by the Fellow's faculty advisor and signed by the graduate program chair. Requests will be reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Division.

FAQ's for NSF GFRP Fellows Terms and Conditions

More Funding Opportunities for GRFP Fellows

Both Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) and the Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) provide access to facilities, equipment, field sites, and opportunities for new collaborations. It allows recipients to expand their network as they grow in a professional environment, develop skills, and expose them to different cultures.

Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW)

*For more information read announcement letter or visit the NSF website*

Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP)

  • GRIP provides the opportunity to intern with Federal Agencies and National Labs
  • Awards $5,000 for a 2 to 12 month internship at a Federal Agency or a National Lab:

Office of Naval ResearchSmithsonian Institution, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of InvestigationEnvironmental Protection AgencyNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationUS Census BureauUS Geological SurveyUS Department of Agriculture

  • Additional support varies by agency.

How to apply

Apply for this opportunity via FastLane. Using the online portal include the items below. Upload each file separately. 
  • The name of the Fellow, Fellow ID, Project Title, Start Date of Graduate Program, Proposed Partner Agency, Host/Sponsoring Researcher(s), Proposed Dates and Duration of Internship.  The host researcher(s) and partner agency must be identified.
  • Project summary. (Limit: 1 page; single spaced).
  • Project Description (please include references).  (Limit: 2 pages; single spaced).
  • The Professional Development Plan (Limit: 1 page; single spaced)
  • Budget and Budget Justification:  (Limit: 2 pages).
  • Biographical sketch of the NSF Graduate Fellow: (Limit: 2 pages)
  • Letter of Endorsement from the Fellow’s Research Advisor: (Limit: 2 pages). 

*For more information read announcement letter or visit the NSF website*