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Tips for Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32) Applications

Review additional funding opportunities for Postdoctoral Fellowships and plan to revise your proposal so you may submit your request to several fellowship opportunities. While we provide details for NIH proposals, note that most fellowships ask for similar information from applicants.

  • Obtain an eRA Commons account by completing this form and submitting to GW.
  • Complete and update an Individual Development Plan, described here. A useful approach is to use MyIDP.
  • Clinician investigators should also inventory their skills and prepare a clinical research IDP.

General Tips

Always read and respond to the most recent Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (Parent F32)

The Postdoctoral Fellowships Video describes the process for developing an NIH F32 or AHA postdoctoral fellowship (PowerPoint provided Mar 28, 2018).

  • Download A Practical Guide to Writing a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Grant (2014) by Andrew Hollenbach here, especially:
    • Chapter 3: Who Are You? The Fellowship Applicant. Prompts you to consider your 1) Biosketch, including personal statement, publications, scholastic performance; 2) Goals for Fellowship Training and Career; 3) Selection of Sponsor and Institute; 4) Previous Research Experience; 5) Letters of Recommendation 6) Respective Contributions, and 7) Activities under the award.
  • NIAID Fellowship Grants Useful compendium of tips
  • F31 Quick Start Guide

Review sample fellowship applications and summary statements. Additional samples can be found at the University of Alabama Grant Library.


Before you begin

Document Tips and Resources Completed?
Individual Development Plan (IDP) My IDP, AAAS Science Careers  
Clinician IDP CTSI-CN Mentoring Toolkit   
eRA Commons account GW form  

NIH F32 Checklist

Document Length Tips and Resources Completed?
Title of Project 1-2 lines    
Project Summary/Abstract  1 paragraph     
Project Narrative 2 or 3 sentences     
Respective Contributions  1 page    
Cover Letter with Ref. List  1 page Chapter 7, Hollenbach  
Specific Aims  1 page

Specific Aims;

Chapter 5, Hollenbach

Research Strategy  6 pages Chapter 5, Hollenbach  
Bibliography/Ref. Cited  No limit    
Background and Goals for Fellowship Training  Up to 6 pages  The Training and Career Development Plan (F31) updated  
Biosketch  Up to 5 pages   NIH Biosketch  
Selection of Sponsor and Institution  1 page Chapter 3, Hollenbach  
Facilities & Other Resources  From PI – up to 1 page  Cores, Facilities, and Other Resources 2018  
Resource Sharing Plan  From PI – up to 1 page     
Equipment From PI – up to 1 page     
Sponsor Biosketch  From PI – up to 5 page  Chapter 3, Hollenbach  
Sponsor/Co-Sponsor Info  From PI-up to 6 pages Chapter 3, Hollenbach  
Description of Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training  From DGS/ PI – Up to 2 pages  Contact Dr. Alison Hall (  
Responsible Conduct of Research  From DGS/PI – up to 1 pages  OVPR Responsible Conduct of Research  
Vertebrate Animals (if necessary)  From DGS/PI - up to 1 page  GW Office of Animal Research