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Student Grant Writing Program

Call for Proposals

New Pilot - 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 pilot 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 earlier in their training. This pilot 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 your ideas, your approach, and your methodology. Scholars will meet bi-weekly from March 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 with formatting your proposal 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.


  • February 23                   Application deadline
  • Mid-March                     Notification of Scholars Selected for Program
  • Week of March 19        Bi-weekly scholar meetings begin and continue through summer and fall
  • October                          NSF GFRP deadline
  • December                      NIH F31 deadline

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 willing to provide edits and feedback on proposals, particularly with respect to the science
  • Mentors will be asked to attend a few scholar meetings (the first meeting for introductions; later meetings when their student presents)
  • Mentors will be asked 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; preference will be given to students earlier in their training
  • Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Specifically, applicants:
    must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residence
  • Applicants should not have previously applied for the NSF GFRP as a graduate student
  • We seek representation across disciplines.  Preference is given to students from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Natural Sciences whose research fits NSF and NIH priorities. 
  • Applicants must have research interests relevant to families. 

What is Family Research?

At CRF, we think very broadly about what constitutes "family" research. Family researchers at CRF study the functioning and structure of families and individuals within families using both human and animal models. They look at the influence of biological, social, cultural, and environmental factors on families, and how they impact the health, well-being and functioning of families. 

Our Scholars have been economists, engineers, biologists, political scientists, anthropologists, nutritionists, environment scientists, lawyers, sociologists, psychologists, nurses and researchers in public health, and more. If you can make the case for your research having a direct or indirect impact on families, we encourage you to apply.