Overview

The overall goal of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program is to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.  More information about NRSA programs may be found at the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA)  website.  The primary purpose of the NRSA is to ensure the TRAINING of independent research scientists.

 Structure of NIH
  • Organization of institutes
    • NIH is one of eight agencies that make up the Department of Health and Human Services.  NIH awards, by far, the most grant money to U.S. universities to support biomedical research.
    • There are 25 Institutes and Centers under the umbrella of NIH.  Each has its own mission.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fellowship

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fellowship

Award Info

  • Predoctoral Applicants will receive a stipend of $23,376.
  • Postdoctoral Applicants will receive a stipend amount based on years of experience.
  • The NIH will provide funds for tuition, fees, health insurance, and training related expenses.  Refer to the NIH notice: NOT-OD-16-047 for further information.
  • Award budgets are composed of stipends, tuition and fees, and institutional allowance
  • NRSA support is limited to 5 years for predoctoral trainees, and 3 years for postdoctoral fellows.

Eligibility

Eligibility Criteria

  • To be eligible for a Kirschstein-NRSA Individual Fellowship (F30, F31, F32), the fellowship applicant must be a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national, or have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence before the award is issued. U.S. non-citizen nationals are persons born in lands that are not States but are under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration, e.g., American Samoa. Individuals on temporary student visas are not eligible for NRSA support.   More for information, visit page I-97 of the Individual Fellowship Application Guide for NIH and AHRQ.

Application Criteria

  • All NIH applications submitted in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system according to the following criteria:

Overall Impact/Merit

Reviewers will provide an overall impact/priority score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood that the fellowship will enhance the candidate’s potential for, and commitment to, a productive independent scientific research career in a health-related field, in consideration of the scored and additional review criteria.

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact.

Fellowship Applicant

  • Are the applicant fellow’s academic record and research experience of high quality?
  • Does the applicant fellow have the potential to develop as an independent and productive researcher in biomedical, behavioral or clinical science?

Sponsors, Collaborators, and Consultants

  • Are the sponsor(s) research qualifications (including successful competition for research support) and track record of mentoring appropriate for the proposed fellowship?
  • Are there (1) evidence of a match between the research interests of the applicant fellow and the sponsor (including an understanding of the applicant’s research training needs) and (2) a demonstrated ability and commitment of the sponsor to assist in meeting these needs?
  • Are the qualifications of any collaborator(s) and/or consultant(s), including their complementary expertise and previous experience in fostering the training of fellows, appropriate for the proposed research project?

Research Training Plan

  • Is the proposed research plan of high scientific quality, and does it relate to the applicant fellow’s training plan?
  • Is the training plan consistent with the applicant fellow’s stage of research development?
  • Will the research training plan provide the applicant fellow with individualized and supervised experiences that will develop research skills needed for his/her independent and productive research career?

Training Potential

  • Does the proposed research training plan have the potential to provide the applicant fellow with the requisite individualized and supervised experiences that will develop his/her research skills?
  • Does the proposed research training have the potential to serve as a sound foundation that will lead the applicant fellow to an independent and productive career?

Institutional Environment & Commitment to Training

  • Are the research facilities, resources (e.g. equipment, laboratory space, computer time, subject populations), and training opportunities adequate and appropriate?
  • Is the institutional environment for the scientific development of the applicant fellow of high quality, and is there appropriate institutional commitment to fostering the applicant fellow’s training as an independent and productive researcher?

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact/priority score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children

When the proposed project involves clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for inclusion of minorities and members of both genders, as well as the inclusion of children. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Human Subjects Protection and Inclusion Guidelines

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Application Process

Application Overview

  • F30 (dual doctoral degree fellowships, e.g., M.D.-Ph.D, D.D.S.-Ph.D) 
  • F31 (predoctoral fellowships)
  • F31 (predoctoral fellowships – diversity)  
  • F32 (postdoctoral fellowships)
  • For a complete listing of Fellowship Program Announcements (PAs), see the F-kiosk.
  • Postdoctoral (F32) – Must have Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent.  All NIH institutes accept postdoctoral NRSA applications.  Receipt dates: April 8, August 8 and December 8.
  • Predoctoral (F31) – Must have baccalaureate degree and be enrolled in a Ph.D. program.
  • All NIH institutes will accept applications from minority and disabled students (see Program Announcement).  Receipt dates: April 13, August 13 and December 13.

 Application Process

  • Notify your academic program that you plan to submit a NIH NRSA application
  • Applicants should work with their faculty advisor as early as possible to identify which NIH institute is most relevant to support their research and project, and to establish a strong training plan.
  • First time applicants are highly encouraged to give ample time to submit.  Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.
  • Start your application by creating an eRA Commons account.  All applicants must have an NIH eRA Commons User with “PI” as the designated role to apply for a NRSA Fellowship. 
  • To create an eRA Commons account, contact the Office of Research Administration at 949-824-0018.
  • Fellows will need to prepare a SF424 (R&R) Form. 
  • Refer to SF424 (R&R) Individual Fellowship Application Guide for NIH and AHRQ to search for specific topics by keyword or to find answers to your questions. 
  • All NIH NRSA applications are due to the Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) office at least 5 to 10 business days prior to the NIH deadline. 

Contact Info

For more information about the NIH and resources available for UCIrvine applicants, please contact:

Celina Mojica

Director of Diversity, Extramural Funding, and Postdoctoral Affairs

cmojica@uci.edu

949-824-5409

Resources at UCIrvine

Writing consultants at the Graduate Resource Center (GRC) are available to help students to polish their writing by providing comments and suggestions on grammar and clarity.

  • Due to high demand, students are strongly encouraged to make an appointment by calling 949-824-3849. 

Resources