The U.S. National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) announced last month that it will no longer fund a predoctoral fellowship program that supported select chemistry students. NIGMS decided instead to put all of its predoctoral funding toward training grants, which support departments to provide funding and mentorship to large groups of students. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, or F31, was one of few grants that chemistry students could apply for once they had already started their graduate research. Most other grants, including NSF predoctoral fellowships, go to students before they start their research. Marilyn Mackiewicz, now a research assistant professor at Portland State University, says she hadn’t known about the NSF fellowships when she applied to graduate school at Texas A&M University. “It’s kind of sad they are deciding to stop funding the grant,” she says. NIGMS started supporting F31 fellowships in 2015. It awarded around 85 fellowships since then; less than 20% went to chemists.
CORRECTION: This story was updated on April 5, 2018, to show that the number of fellowships funded is 85 since 2015, not per year. The NSF fellowships mentioned in the story are also available in the early years of graduate school, not just before students enter graduate school.