The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Graduate Student Grant Writing Program Information

CRF Graduate Student Scholars Grant Writing Program

Intensive support to develop NSF and NIH pre-doctoral fellowship applications

Applying for fellowships can be an intimidating, stressful and isolating process. Students can benefit greatly from working in a structured group with faculty, peers and reviewers who will help you develop and submit a strong and compelling proposal.

The Center for Research on Families has developed a program to facilitate and support graduate students who are conducting family research in the development of successful graduate fellowship applications.  Applicants must be in the first three years of a graduate PhD program; preference will be given to students in their first two years. This program is a 9-month program designed specifically for NSF and NIH pre-doctoral fellowship proposals. Selected scholars will receive mentoring and support throughout the grant development process, including: developing, refining and communicating their ideas, approach, and methodology. Scholars will meet bi-weekly from April to December with a timeline and objectives for each meeting and intensive writing over the summer.  Scholars will receive training on topics related to the grant writing process, ongoing feedback from faculty, mentors and peers as well as feedback from a pre-review panel. The program can help Scholars with formatting their proposals and assist with the submission process.  

The support of the scholars’ faculty mentors is critical.  Mentors will participate in some of the regular meetings and support the student by providing feedback on the scientific components. They will also serve as reviewers for other scholars.

Benefits of applying for NIH and NSF Fellowships: Graduate student fellowships offered by NIH and NSF provide students the opportunity to pursue their graduate research goals without the burden of teaching assistantships. The process of applying for these fellowships is also rewarding as students learn to defend their research design and communicate their research to a broader audience, while developing critical grant writing skills.  As such, graduate student fellowship applications are an important way to facilitate graduate student development and, as a whole, will advance research on this campus.


Application Deadline Spring 2021
Notification Late April
Bi-Weekly Program Meetings Begin Late April, Early May
NSF GFRP Deadline October
NIH F31 Deadline December


Responsibilities of Scholars

  • Scholars agree to attend and come prepared to bi-weekly scholar meetings from March to October (including during the summer.)
  • Scholars agree to present their work on a regular basis and read and comment on the materials and presentations of their peers.
  • Scholars agree to submit at least one application by the October or December deadline (in most cases, scholars will apply to both).
  • Scholars may be asked to assist in mentoring future scholars.

Responsibilities of Faculty Mentors of Scholars

  • Mentors must allow the scholar the necessary time to prepare the proposal and attend the meetings.
  • Mentors must be expected to provide edits and feedback on proposals, particularly with respect to the science in a timely manner.
  • Mentors will be expected to attend an initial meeting in the spring and one in the early fall.
  • Mentors will be expected to serve as reviewers on a pre-review panel for all scholars in the program. 


  • To be eligible, students must be in the first three years of a graduate PhD program (with a preference given to students in their first two years)
  • Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and/or NIHF31 Specifically, applicants:
    • must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residence
    • not have previously applied for the NSF GFRP as a graduate student
  • We seek representation across disciplines. 
  • Applicants should not have previously applied for the NSF GFRP as a graduate student
  • We seek representation across disciplines.   
  • Applicants must have research interests relevant to families. 
  • Preference will be given to those who attended the Graduate Student Specific Aims Workshops

Apply here