Fellowship Grants SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: PurposeProcedureContacts, and Links.

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To provide research experience to students and scientists at various stages of their careers.


NIAID supports the following fellowship grants:

Investigators must be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or permanent residents with a valid Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) at the time of the award. People on temporary or student visas are not eligible.

Signatures are not required on fellowship applications, progress reports, or prior approval requests. Instead, institutions must keep a signature assurance on file for all fellows and their sponsors.

Fellowship awards do not:

  • Receive facilities and administrative (F&A) costs
  • Have carryover authority
  • Have no-cost extensions
  • Have pre-award spending

Special activation, health insurance, and other requirements apply for foreign institutions or federal government agencies. Grants management specialists will request additional information as necessary. For details, go to the NIH Research Training and Career Development FAQs and the fellowship notice of funding opportunity links above.

Go to Fellowship Grants (F) for basic information on fellowships, such as who can apply and award length.


  • Apply electronically.
    • Use either the NIH Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) or one of the other Submission Options. Check with your business office to learn which approach it uses.
    • For instructions, read the relevant notice of funding opportunity and the supplemental instructions for individual fellowship applications in the SF 424 Application Guide.
    • Applicants must have an ORCID iD (Open Research and Contributor Identifier) and associate it with their eRA Commons Personal Profile. For instructions on how to create an ORCID iD, see eRA’s The ORCID ID instructions.
    • Request at least three (but no more than five) reference letters, and list the names of the people submitting them on your behalf in your required cover letter.
      • The people you ask must submit letters by your application's due date.
      • Read the Reference Letter Instructions in the Application Guide for detailed instructions, including information you should give to people writing your letters.
      • Note: those who write letters for you will submit them directly through the eRA Commons at Submit Reference Letter.
      • Track the status of submitted reference letters by logging in to your Commons account, clicking the Personal Profile tab then the Reference Letters tab. You can also track the status of reference letters submitted to a specific application by clicking on the application ID number (once a number has been assigned) in the Commons.
  • Follow NIH's public access policy. For more information, see our Public Access of Publications SOP.
  • Include a plan for instruction in responsible research conduct. Read the Responsible Conduct of Research—Training SOP for more information.
  • Learn how applicants should address Rigor and Reproducibility in Grant Applications.
  • For the F31 Diversity opportunity, make sure your institution includes a letter certifying that you are a member of an underrepresented group. The certification letter must be:
    • Titled "Description of Candidate's Contribution to Program Goals."
    • Attached under Item 12 Other Attachments in Section 4.4 Other Project Information Component.
    • On institutional letterhead and scanned so that an institutional official signature is visible.
  • Each NRSA fellow may request $2,500 per budget period to defray the cost of childcare from a licensed provider. Learn more in the Frequently Asked Questions on Childcare Costs.

Grantees and Fellows

  • Each NRSA fellow may request $2,500 per budget period to defray the cost of childcare from a licensed provider. Learn more in the Frequently Asked Questions on Childcare Costs.
  • Noncompeting fellowship applications are due two months before the anniversary start date.
  • Submit your NRSA forms for activation, payback, and termination as follows:
    • If your institution has an eRA Commons account, use xTrain to submit termination forms. Keep in mind that you must still mail in activation notices and payback agreements (see below).
      • If you don't have an eRA Commons account, learn how to get one at Track Application Using eRA Commons in After You Submit an Application.
      • To avoid errors in processing terminations, make sure of the following:
        • Your sponsor has been assigned the sponsor role in the eRA Commons.
        • Your sponsor's name in xTrain matches the one on the fellowship application.
          • If you need to change sponsors post-award, get prior approval from your grants management specialist.
          • If approved, he or she will update the information in the eRA Commons so the correct sponsor's name appears.
  • Activation Notices (PHS 416-5)—required for initial activation of all fellowships.
  • Payback Agreements (PHS 6031)—for the initial year only of F32 support.
    • After the initial year, you don't need a payback agreement even if you have support from a different NRSA (for example, you had 12 months of T32 support before you got an F32).
    • If you are required to fill out a payback agreement, be sure to mail it in with the original activation notice (required by NIH legal office). Mail both forms to
      • Trevor Alford
        BG 5601FL, Room 4E39, MSC 9833
        5601 Fishers Lane
        Rockville, MD 20892-9833 (use Rockville, MD 20852 for overnight and courier deliveries)

Program Officers

  • Document whether any requested postdoctoral fellowship courses are required for the research training funded by the F32. Courses must meet that requirement for us to award tuition and fees.
  • Work with grants management specialists on prior approval requests, such as change of sponsor or mentor, scope, and institution.

More Advice and Contacts

For general grants management questions about fellowships, contact Trevor Alford, trevor.alford@nih.gov.

For all other questions, contact the appropriate staff member below:


F31 (non-diversity)

F31 - Diversity


Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov.


Fellowship Grants

Funding Policy and Process SOP

Training and Career Development Grant Programs

NIH Individual Fellowships

NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education

Quick Facts on Fellowship Grants

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