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Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31)

The NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31) Award supports promising doctoral candidates who will perform dissertation research and training for a PhD degree in a scientific health-related field relevant to the mission of the NCI during the tenure of the award. NCI encourages applicants to submit applications during the first three years of doctoral training to ensure that at least one year of dissertation-stage research training will remain at the time of award.

NCI requires a clear cancer focus in graduate research training. The primary sponsor must be the Principal Investigator (PI) of an R01, or R01-like, peer-reviewed cancer-related research grant at the time of application. For the NCI F31 Award, R01-like research funding includes peer-reviewed research grants from other federal sources and private foundations with a duration of at least 3 years with a minimum of $150,000 direct costs per year. The primary sponsor is expected to maintain such grant support during the project period. Grants under a no-cost extension do not qualify.

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Applicant Eligibility


At the time of the award, the candidate must be:

  • a United States citizen,
  • or a non-citizen national,
  • or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possess an Alien Registration Receipt Card (1-151 or 1-551) or some other verification of legal admission as a permanent resident.

The candidate does not need citizenship or a green card to apply. Citizenship or green card is needed at the time of award issuance.

Foreign Nationals with Student VisasNot eligible for this award
Degree/Academic AppointmentPredoctoral Fellows
Geographic LocationF31 Fellows may request support for training abroad; clear scientific justification is required, including the reasons why the facilities, the sponsor, and/or other aspects of the proposed experience are more appropriate than training in a domestic setting.
Effort Level/ CommitmentAt least 40 hours per week, full-time effort, to the training program
Duration of the AwardUp to 5 years; individual fellowship awards are generally not renewable; consult NIH staff to obtain advice regarding submission of a renewal application for additional fellowship support


Financial Support

Tuition, Fees, Training-Related Expenses and Health Insurance
Tuition and FeesNCI will pay 60% of the combined amount requested for tuition and fees up to $16,000 per year.
Training-Related Expenses and Health Insurance

NCI will pay up to $4,200 annually to help defray other research training expenses, such as: 

  • Health insurance (self-only or family, as applicable)
  • Research supplies
  • Equipment
  • Travel to scientific meetings

How to Apply

Required Application Instructions

For assistance with application submission, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions and/or contact eRA Commons Help Desk/ Contact Center.

Application Receipt Dates and Review Schedule

Receipt Cycle Receipt Date: New, ResubmissionInitial Review DateCouncil Review DateEarliest Possible Start Date*
1April 8June/JulySeptember/OctoberDecember
2August 8October/NovemberJanuary/FebruaryApril
3December 8February/MarchMay/JuneJuly

*Start dates are determined by the availability of NCI funds and may not occur until well after the earliest possible start date.

Applications are due by 5 pm local time.

When a standard submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

Review and Selection Process

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) review applications for completeness and for conformance to all eligibility requirements and special provisions and requirements. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

For review criteria for the F31 grant mechanism, see the Section V. Review Information of the Program Announcement.

Find an overview of the grant process


NCI Staff Contacts

For additional information regarding policies and/or guidance in preparing an application, contact:

  • Branch Phone: 240-276-5630

For information regarding fiscal and/or budget issues, contact:

For information regarding referral and review issues, contact:

  • Referral Officer
    Division of Extramural Activities
    Phone: 240-276-6390

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  • Updated: January 12, 2015