The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of the premier graduate fellowship programs in the United States (US). In support of its federal mandate to advance science and engineering in US, NSF created GRFP with a goal of nurturing and growing a dynamic and diverse talent pool for the US scientific and engineering community. NSF conducts an annual competition to identify, select, and support exceptional students in supported disciplines, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), for GRFP awards. The GRFP supports students early in their graduate careers, including those seeking to or already pursuing, research-oriented masters’ or doctoral degree programs at US universities. It additionally seeks to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM graduate studies.

The GRFP is a pioneering and pre-eminent graduate fellowship program in US. For over half a century of its storied history, GRFP has supported and mentored students who go on to grow into exceptional academic leaders, government professionals, and industry captains, among others. Past GRFP recipients have contributed to their fields through numerous pioneering scientific advances, engineering breakthroughs, and educational innovations. Prior GRFP recipients have been awarded numerous Nobel Prizes (over 30), become highly regarded researchers and academics (over 400 members of the National Academies), corporate titans and book authors, and NASA scientists, among others, and include Steven Chu (United States Secretary of Energy) and Sergey Brin (Founder of Google).

The GRFP is considered one of the most prestigious graduate Fellowship awards. The Fellows are selected through a competitive review process. The GRFP award bestows a mark of distinction on the recipient. It not only recognizes the Fellows’ superior academic achievement but also their exceptional future potential for research prominence.

Each selected Fellow receives an annual stipend of $34,000 for three years, disbursed in monthly installments of $2,833. The award also includes an additional annual allowance of $12,000 for tuition and fees. It is directly paid to the Fellow’s graduate institution. The Fellows undertake their graduate studies in STEM disciplines under research-oriented masters’ or doctoral degree programs. Thus, under the mentorship of their graduate advisor, Fellows conduct cutting-edge research in their field of study. Moreover, during their GRFP tenure, the Fellows receive opportunities for career development like international research, federal and non-academic internships, etc. A small subset of applicants, who are unsuccessful in securing a GRFP award, receive an Honorable Mention from NSF that is considered a noteworthy achievement.

NSF Fellows are an essential resource for retaining and strengthening the US leadership in scientific discovery and technical innovation, for enhancing national security, and for ensuring the financial prosperity of the society well into the future. With the goal of ensuring the American leadership in the emerging innovation economy, which requires equipping the nation with innovative and high quality technical infrastructure and human resources, NSF welcomes GRFP applications from every qualified person. Women, underrepresented minorities, differently abled individuals, and veterans are specially encouraged to apply.

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