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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. Applicants for the F31 must be candidates for the PhD degree and must be at the dissertation research stage of training at the time of award.

NCI requires a clear cancer focus in graduate research training and gives funding priority to applications whose primary sponsor has cancer-related R01, or R01-like, peer-reviewed research grants at the time of application and the time of the award. 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.

Reminder to NCI Fellowship grantees: Changes in the Project

Individual fellowship awards are made for training at a specific institution under the guidance of a particular sponsor. Prior approval by NCI is required for a transfer of the award to another institution, a change in sponsor, or a significant project change. If the primary sponsor plans to be absent for a continuous period of more than 3 months, an interim sponsor must be named by the institution and approved in writing by NCI.

For more complete information, please refer to the Program Announcement PA-20-246 (F31 Individual Predoctoral Fellowship) and/or contact the program staff.

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 Visas Not eligible for this award
Degree/Academic Appointment Predoctoral Fellows
Geographic Location F31 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/ Commitment At least 40 hours per week, full-time effort, to the training program
Duration of the Award Up 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 Fees NCI 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

  • Applications must be submitted electronically
  • It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Fellowship Application Guide, as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. of the Program Announcement.
  • When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.
  • Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not be accepted for review.

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, Resubmission Initial Review Date Council Review Date Earliest Possible Start Date*
1 April 8 June/July September/October December
2 August 8 October/November January/February April
3 December 8 February/March May/June July

*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.


NCI Staff Contacts

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

For assistance with xTrain, contact:

For technical issues with xTrain, contact the eRA Service Desk

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

Form Correction Made for All NIH Fellowship Opportunities

  • Updated: