Other Important Fellowship Information

Other Important Information

Funding Announcements always supersede a general parent announcement.

Common Application Pitfalls

  1. Missing Letters and Attachments
    Don’t count a letter from your sponsor or a collaborator as a reference letter. Letters from collaborators are also required to show their commitment. Diversity F31s require a letter from the institution saying the applicant is qualified as a diversity applicant.
  2. Failing to Appreciate Submission Is a Multistep Process
  3. Submitting Your Application at the Last Minute
  4. Not Using the Right Application Form
  5. Not Giving the Instructions Enough Attention
  6. Producing an Incomplete Application
  7. Overstuffing Your Application
  8. Submitting a New Application but Referring to Previous Review Outcomes or Criticism
  9. Using a Too Small Font


Know What Reviewers Are Looking for

  • Impact
  • Exciting ideas
  • Clarity of the research and training plans in context of your career goals
  • Realistic aims and timelines — Don’t be overly ambitious
  • Brevity with things that everybody knows
  • Noted limitations of the study
  • A clean, well-written application


Main Review Criteria

Overall Impact

Assessment of the likelihood that the proposed training will enhance the candidate’s potential for a productive, independent scientific career.

Core Review Criteria

  1. Fellowship Applicant
    – Scholastic performance
    – Productivity commensurate with career stage
    – Aptitude and enthusiasm
    – Clarity of stated career goals
    – Letters of reference
  2. Sponsors, Collaborators, and Consultants
    – Documented mentoring successes
    – Expertise in the field
    – Present productivity
    – Funds available to cover research expenses
    – Co-mentor to cover weaknesses
    – Clearly defined roles for mentors and collaborators
  3. Research Training Plan
    – Significance and impact of the proposed research
    – Logical hypothesis or approach
    – Clarity, feasibility, and alternative strategies
    – Stats, vertebrate animals, human subjects
    – Sophisticated technologies and approaches
    – Likelihood training will lead to publications and degree
    – Appropriate for the applicant fellow’s stage of research development
  4. Training Potential
    – Is there individualized training that addresses weaknesses and career development needs?
    – Will participants learn new technical skills, new design approaches?
    – Do training activities match career goals?
    – Will training confer an advantage to be competitive?
    – Will the applicant fellow receive requisite individualized and supervised experiences?
  5. Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training
    – Scientific environment
    – Opportunities for collaborations within and outside institution if needed
    – Resources available


Your sponsor needs to be an active/dynamic participant in your training.

Your grant should not just be a way of funding your sponsor’s research

Your efforts should show some uniqueness or individualized component to them

But your research should be related to your sponsor’s research.

Don’t just say what you’ve done. Say how it fits into the bigger picture.

Emphasize how you’re going to fill gaps in your expertise, add to your tool set, and explore different approaches or different problems.

Be upfront about any flaws and how you’re going to address them.