Common Fellowship Questions

What is considered an externally funded fellowship?

This is funding received from an external source (e.g. government entity, private foundation, industry sponsor, etc.) to support a student or postdoctoral scholar in the pursuit of a degree or to support research. Usually, a fellow does not have an employee relationship with the University.

Fellowships can be used to support a variety of expenses depending on the purpose and terms of the award, including but not limited to tuition remission, travel expenses, stipends, research supplies, etc. Externally funded fellowships are sometimes awarded directly to the fellow, and in other cases they can be awarded to the University.

Who can help me to apply for a fellowship?

The Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG) can assist you with most fellowship applications. The contacts for fellowships are as follows:

NSF GRFP fellowship proposals:  Contact Gretchen O'Connell from the Graduate School

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad proposals:  Details for the appropriate point of contact are detailed under the Proposal Essentials by Sponsor page's Fulbright-Hays section. 

All other fellowship proposals - Contact the Proposal Analyst assigned to work with your department. Your assigned Proposal Analyst can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory

Which fellowships do I qualify for?

The qualification requirements for fellowship awards vary greatly by sponsor and by opportunity announcement. It is up to the fellow to read the fellowship application materials thoroughly to ensure that they qualify for the fellowship that they are applying for.

How do I receive my fellowship funding?

Some sponsors award their fellowship directly to the fellow. In these cases, the fellow should ensure that the sponsor has the correct contact details and should contact the sponsor directly if they have not received the funding in a timely manner. Fellowships that are awarded directly to the fellow are often sent via check or money order.

Other sponsors award fellowships to the University, rather than directly to the fellow. If the University will be receiving the fellowship funds, please contact the Grant Officer assigned to your department. Your assigned Grant Officer can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.  

Finally, some sponsors allow the fellow to choose whether the funds will be awarded directly to the fellow or to the University. In these cases, we recommend submitting through the University for tax and insurance reasons and the support OCG and SPA (Sponsored Projects Accounting) can provide for sponsor award and financial requirements.

Do I need to work with OCG on my fellowship application?

Fellowships that require an official budget, the signature of or submission by an authorized organizational official, or any type of institutional certification should be submitted through the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG). Some submission systems, such as, will also require that the application go through OCG in order to be submitted.

If the University will receive the award, then you will need to work with your Proposal Analyst and go through the normal process for submitting an application. Please follow the process for proposals as described here on the OCG website for preparing and submitting proposals

If the fellow will receive the funding directly from the sponsor, the applicant can probably submit on his/her own without notifying OCG of the submission.  If you are not sure, notify your Proposal Analyst and ask for clarification.

Proposal Analyst contacts can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.

What is the OCG process for submitting a fellowship application?

The first step is to read the "Get Started Now" information on the OCG website, so that you can familiarize yourself with the proposal submission process.

The next step is to contact your assigned Proposal Analyst to let them know that you intend to apply. Your assigned Proposal Analyst can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory

Your Proposal Analyst can assist with the next steps and guide you through the proposal process.

When should I contact OCG about a fellowship opportunity?

It is never too early to contact OCG when you have found a fellowship opportunity that you wish to apply for. Depending on the level of complexity, OCG may need to complete forms on behalf of the fellow, gather institutional approvals, create a budget, etc. As with other externally funded proposals, OCG must be notified at least 5 business days prior to the application deadline.

Most federally funded fellowships, with the exception of the NSF GFRP, musts be submitted through OCG. We have the authority to submit them as well as take care of required institutional registrations such as with, Dunn & Bradstreet Number (DUNS), and the System for Award Management (SAM).

If you are unsure of whether or not OCG needs to be involved in submitting a proposal, your Proposal Analyst can assist with answering this question. 

I have already submitted my fellowship application, when can I expect to hear a decision?

The response time for fellowship applications can vary greatly by sponsor. Many federal fellowship programs can take 6-9 months before a decision is made. It is important to read the application instruction because some sponsors include an expected funding timeline in their call for applications.

Can I have more than one fellowship at a time?

Some sponsors do not allow a fellow to hold more than one fellowship at a time. It is important to disclose all of your fellowships to OCG so the University can ensure that you do not violate the terms and conditions of your fellowship(s). Please email your assigned Grant Officer with a list of all of your current fellowships at the time of award. Your assigned Grant Officer can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.

I am applying for an NIH fellowship, how do I begin?

For detailed information on applying for NIH fellowships, including resources for completing your proposal, see the Fellowships page on the OCG website

I have received an NIH fellowship, what do I do now?

If you are receiving an NIH fellowship, you should have worked with your assigned Proposal Analyst at the time of the application. Some additional steps you may need to take:

  • A member of the OCG staff will contact you or your mentor to complete NIH forms, which may include payback and activation notice forms, and to obtain any missing information, including protocol approvals for animal or human subjects research and/or toxins, chemicals, lasers, or materials needing review.
  • If your project includes animal research or human subjects and you do not yet have protocol approval, contact IACUC or IRB
  • if your project includes any toxins, chemicals, lasers or materials needing review and you do not have an approved protocol, contact EH&S.
  • Read through your award document and contact your mentor and/or your assigned OCG Grant Officer with any questions. Your assigned Grant officer can be found on the OCG website Unit Directory.

If this is the first NIH award that you have been involved with, you will need to complete the educational training and conflict of interest disclosure that is required by all Public Health Service (PHS) agencies. Here is a link to the RIO's webpage detailing these requirements.