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The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, is one of the many funding opportunities offered by the National Institutes of Health. This fellowship provides predoctoral students the opportunity to pursue individualized, mentored research training. The fellowship is funded by the NIH, the world's largest public funder of biomedical research.

Please note that each applicant is responsible for determining their own individual eligibility for any fellowship. This includes but is not limited to reviewing which agencies are participating in a funding opportunity announcement. Each applicant should also be aware of the provisions of the award and the requirements of the opportunity, which can be seen and reviewed throughout this page and the hyperlinked websites. 

Determining Which On-Campus Office To Apply Through

An application will be processed through Graduate Division if the applicant is a single-degree seeking student enrolled in a graduate program. However, students enrolled in a professional degree program (i.e. PharmD, PharmD/PhD, or MD/PhD program) will need to contact Health Sciences Sponsored Project Pre-Award Office (HSSPPO). 

If an applicant meets the above criteria and the submission requires an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to approve, sign, or submit an application on the applicant’s behalf, please submit a ticket to the UC San Diego's Services & Support Portal

route the application to The Dean of Graduate Division, James Antony will be the signing official/AOR for this proposal. More information

New PA Numbers

  • PA-21-051:  Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31)
  • PA-21-052: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31-Diversity)

Award Provisions 

  • Students may apply for up to five years of funding. Learn more here

  • Award includes stipend ($25,320 a year) and institutional allowance

  • If awarded, NIH will pay for up to 60 percent of the requested institutional tuition and fees 

  • NIH F31 Visual Guide

Application Process - How Does the Student Apply?

Submitting an NIH F31 proposal is a multifaceted process. Below you will find information about the different pieces of the process along with the UCSD NIH Application Guide.

When students apply for this solicitation, they  are not applying to a specific NIH institute. They can request that their application be considered by a specific institute in their application, but NIH's Division of Receipt and Referral will assign the proposal to the participating organizations they feel best suits the proposal. 

The Application 

NIH uses the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) system from which students can prepare, submit, and track their applications electronically.  (In ASSIST, if you're applying for a NIH F31 Parent, search for 'PA-21-051' and 'PA-21-052' for a NIH F31 Diversity) 

To access ASSIST, you must have:

To request or change an eRA Commons Account, fill out an eRA Commons Account Request or Change Form.

    • Student's UCSD log on credentials may be used.
    • Student and Sponsor/mentor both need eRA Accounts; Students should request a "PD/PI (Principal Investigator)" role assignment, Sponsors/mentor should request a "Sponsor' role assignment.   


To register for an ORCID iD Account, click here.

Once your ORCID iD Account has been created, you must link it to your eRA Commons Personal Profile (Instructions on how to link accounts, watch this eRA video) 

    • If your ORCID iD Account is not linked to your eRA Commons account, an error will be generated preventing the application from moving forward to NIH for consideration.
    •  Important Notice from the NIH 

NOTE: Users of eRA Commons, ASSIST, Internet Assisted Review (IAR) and Commons Mobile will be required to use for two-factor authentication (2FA) in 2021. This requirement has started being phased in for reviewers starting Dec. 14, 2020 for meetings on Feb. 1, 2021 and beyond. Other users are encouraged to make the switch now before the mandatory deadline of Sept. 15, 2021. 

Questions or need to contact UCSD's Graduate Fellowship Advisor? 

Go to UC San Diego Student Support portal and Submit a Ticket! 

'How-To' Submit a Ticket for:


There is no “budget section” for the application, at least not how you might be familiar with when applying for a T32 or another type of grant. There are two parts of the application that address the budget.

The only allowable costs for this solicitation is stipend, institutional allowance, and tuition and fees. The stipend and institutional allowance are set by NIH. The tuition and fees exclude health insurance because NIH does not allow for the tuition and fees request to include health insurance. Health insurance can be paid out of the institutional allowance, but this decision is up to the department. The tuition and fees are then escalated 10 percent every year. For more information about the budget, please see the budget book below.


Please note the allowable and unallowable costs for this award, found on the NIH website

Letters of Reference

Three to five reference letters from anyone who is NOT directly involved in the application but who are familiar with the applicant’s qualifications, training, and interests. The mentors and or co-mentors cannot write reference letters. Directions for how to submit these reference letters can be found on the NIH website

  • NOTE: 'Letters of Support' are not the same as 'Reference Letters'.
Letters of SupportLetters of Reference
  • Sponsors/co-sponsors CAN write “LETTERS OF SUPPORT.”
  • Letters of Support are visible to the students and they can be uploaded by the student to their application in the section of “Letters of Support”
  • 'Reference Letters' are private and can only be uploaded by the writer via eRA Commons.
  • These letters will be submitted through eRA Commons, separate from your ASSIST application.

For Diversity Applicants

  • Students applying for the NIH F31 Diversity opportunity must upload an additional letter to their application under the Description of Candidates Contribution to Program Goals

    • The sponsoring institution must provide a document on institutional letterhead that explains how the candidate’s participation will further the goals of the fellowship program to promote diversity in health-related research.
    • For NIH’s Interest in Diversity, see the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity.
    • The student's department Chair should sign the letter, afterward route to for the Dean’s signature.


Graduate Division does not house compliance processes. For the most up-to-date information on each compliance requirement or if you have additional questions, reach out to the respective office.

  • Human Subjects (IRB)

    • If your student's application will be using human subjects, they do not have to have approval at the time of application, but they will need to have approval at the time of award. 
    • HRPP Contact:
    • Human Subjects Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) Federal-Wide Assurance Number: FWA00004495 (Expiration Date: September 23, 2024)
  • Animal Subjects (IACUC)

    • If your student's application will be using animal subjects, they do not have to have approval at the time of application, but they will need to have approval at the time of award. 
    • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Office Contact:
    • Animal Welfare Assurance Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) Number: A3033-01 (Expiration Date: June 30, 2021)
  • Conflict of Interest (COI)

    • COI forms are required prior to submission of the proposal.
    • COI forms are required for the student, the mentor, and any co-mentors
    • COI forms can be triggered to send from the Kuali system.
  • Assurance Form

This form must be signed and submitted prior to submission.

What is the Department's Role in the Application?

Creating the Kuali Record

Every NIH F31 application must have a Kuali record. The student's mentor's fund manager should serve as the fiscal contact for the proposal and is tasked with creating the KR record. When creating the KR record, fill out the fellowship questionnaire and indicate that the application is for a single degree-seeking graduate student, this will allow the record to route to Graduate Division for processing. 

For additional assistance on how to create a KR record, download the attachment below:

Kuali Record Number: The Kuali Record number is used for the internal administration of the proposal. The student's mentor's fund manager must create the Kuali record. At some point, the student will need to certify and fill out COI forms through Kuali.

Application Support

F31 applications require additional documentation and information about the student's program. Students may ask for assistance in putting together the requested information for the application. For more information about each required attachment for the application, see the UCSD NIH F31 Application guide located under the resources section of this page. 

If your student is applying for an NIH F31 Diversity award, the student may need additional assistance in securing the required signatures, see the UCSD NIH F31 Application guide located under the resources section of this page.

Submitting the Proposal

For single-degree seeking graduate students, Graduate Division will function as the SPO office for NIH F31 application and is responsible for submission to the agency. 

Students need to follow the Graduate Division Internal Deadlines (found on the Graduate Divison NIH F31 Submission web page) and communicate with the Graduate Fellowship Advisor to coordinate the submission. If these deadlines are not met we cannot guarantee a full review or on-time submission; the proposal may be submitted without review which may lead to errors and/or late submission.

Awarded Applications

Graduate Division will function as the SPO office for NIH F31 application. This includes post-award actions as well, such as coordinating initial award setup, submitting progress reports, and termination notices. If your student is awarded, contact

Note: Allowable and unallowable costs can be found on the NIH website.


  1. Application Guide UCSD NIH F31
    • Guide to filling out the ASSIST application online, for your reference.
  2. Biosketch - Predoctoral Fellowship Biosketch 
  3. Budget Guide
  4. Checklist
    • Provides a step by step guide for the entire NIH F31 campus process, for your reference.
  5. Intake Form
  6. Fellowship Assurance Form
    • Submit to
    • Or submit a hard copy, in person at the Graduate Division or via campus mail (MC 0003).

Helpful Links