Awards, Funding and Fellowship Opportunities

Internal Award Opportunities

GPS Office Research Grant

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Graduate Research Grant is intended to help predoctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in the biomedical sciences at the Medical School meet expenses related to scholarly research activities and career development. To apply for the GPS Office Research Grant, students and scholars must submit a proposal that clearly identifies the activities that they will participate in and why these activities will have a significant impact on their professional development. 

Open to ALL masters students, predoctoral students, and postdoctoral scholars in the Medical School biomedical sciences. International students are eligible to apply. 


  • Spring Cycle: April 15 by 11:59 pm central time

  • Fall Cycle: November 15 by 11:59 pm central time



  • Master’s students, predoctoral students and postdoctoral scholars in the UM Medical School biomedical sciences.

  • Master’s and predoctoral students must be in good academic standing.

  • Postdoctoral scholars must have at least a one-year appointment at the UMN Medical School. Postdoctoral scholars must be on the 9546 or 9560 job code in the Medical School. 

  • A student or scholar may only receive one grant at any education level under this program at any time. For example, a predoctoral student can receive an early predoctoral level grant AND a late predoctoral level grant but cannot receive two early predoctoral level grants. Applicants who have applied before but have not received an award are encouraged to apply again. 

Award Information

Award Information: 

The maximum award for students is as follows: 

  • Master’s Students – 5 awards each cycle:  $1,000 each award

  • Early Predoctoral Students (1st/2nd year) – 5 awards each cycle: $2,000 each award

  • Late Predoctoral Students (3rd year and later) – 5 awards each cycle: $4,000 each award

  • Postdoctoral Scholars – 5 awards each cycle: $2,000 each award

Awards are for a 12-month period from when the funds are awarded. Unused funds will be returned to the GPS Office Grant Funds. 
Awards will not be applied retroactively for any activities before the grant funding period. GPS Office Award money will not be applied to any funds already utilized including travel paid for before the award date, conference registration paid for before the award date, or equipment purchased before the award date. Funds cannot be used to pay one’s lab for equipment or travel purchased through the lab chartstring or p-card. 
Awards may only be used while the student is an active student or the postdoctoral scholar is on an active appointment with the UMN Medical School. Should a student or postdoctoral scholar depart the University prior to completion of the project and/or expenditure of the funds, the funds will no longer be available for use. All remaining funds will be returned to the GPS Office Grant Funds. 

Funds can be used for: 

  • Travel to conferences and related conference registration/expenses

  • Licenses and subscriptions

  • Memberships and professional organizations

  • Professional development seminars/tools

Funds cannot be used for: 

  • Stipends

  • Living expenses

  • Fringe benefits

  • Lab equipment and resources

Application Process


The application materials described below must be submitted via the GPS Office online application.
Cover Page (filled in on Google Forms, not a separate pdf): 

  • Includes personal details and demographics, academic information, project title, faculty mentor, and project abstract

Application Components uploaded as a pdf document; file name format: Last Name_FirstName_GPSResearchGrant): 

  • Project Narrative - two page maximum not including references;  
    Should include a brief description of the research project that the student will be working on during the 12-month grant period. This description should include the research purpose and hypotheses, and real brief description of methods. If results are known, provide a brief summary of the results. 
    This section should also describe the activity for which the funding is being requested for, such as conference registration and travel. In addition to a description of the activity, the applicant should describe in detail the significance of this activity within your scientific discipline and overall training. Additionally, please expand on how you will leverage this activity to further your training and career. Finally, please include a brief description of why the funds are needed to complete this activity. Please include a reference page as needed. 

  • Budget and Timeline  - no page limit
    Each application must include an itemized budget listing the expected expenses using the budget worksheet template. Budgets do not need to be for the full amount of the award; do not feel the need to add unnecessary items to the budget to meet the full award amount. Similarly, if the award amount will not cover the entire cost of the proposed activity, please provide an explanation of how the additional funding will be acquired. 

    Items allowed include: 

    • Travel costs including appropriate airfare, ground transportation, lodging, and meals while traveling.

    • Conference registration and related expenses including poster printing. 

    • Access to licenses or subscriptions related to research training or career development

    • Memberships and professional organization dues and other related expenses  

    • Fees related to professional development, workshops, seminars, and other training related to research training and career development. 

    Items not allowed include: 

    • Stipends or living expenses for any persons related to the research project. 

    • Travel expenses not directly related to the project or the applicant’s research training

    • Costs of preparing one’s dissertation

    • Retroactive charges for expenditures incurred before the funding period

    • Lab equipment, supplies, or other research equipment. 

    Budget should include a timeline for the completion of the proposed activities within the application. This timeline is not for the research project itself, rather the timeline should be for when the activities that the requested funding is for will be completed (e.g. conference and travel, enrollment in educational course, etc.).  Justification for each requested expense should be included in the worksheet. Budgets with items included but with no justification may receive poor scores. 

  • Biosketch – five page limit
    Using the NIH Biosketch template format, Include your current biosketch. 

  • Letter of Support – No page limit
    Provide a letter of support for the requested project from your mentor. The letter of support should reference your specific application components, budget areas, and how these will be supported by their lab. 

Review Process

Grant recipients are determined by an Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Research Grant committee that consists of faculty members and students or postdocs within the UM Medical School Graduate Programs. Decisions are based on the Committee’s review of applications and availability of funds. This is a competitive award; therefore, more applications will be received than can be funded in a single cycle. 

Applications will be evaluated based on the criteria found in the scoring rubric

Post Award Information
  • Grant funds will remain in the GPS Office and not awarded directly to the student or postdoctoral scholar. 

  • To utilize grant funds, an awardee should follow the guidelines found in the GPS Office Funding Request Document

  • Use of grant funds will not be approved without written approval from the project’s faculty mentor. To request funds, the awardee must submit a written request for use of funds to the GPS Office via email to and cc their faculty mentor on the email. . 

Final Report:

A final report on the project must be submitted using this template to the GPS Office by the deadline identified in your award letter. 

Contact information: 

Email the GPS Office at if you have any questions. 

External Award Opportunities

Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award

The purpose of this National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein-National Research Service Award (NRSA) program is to enable promising predoctoral students with potential to develop into a productive, independent research scientists, to obtain mentored research training while conducting dissertation research. The F31 is also used to enhance workforce diversity though a separate program.

Eligibility:  U.S. citizen or permanent resident, enrolled in a research doctoral degree program.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. GRFP seeks to broaden participation in science and engineering of underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans. The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000.

Other Award Opportunities

Council of Graduate Student Advancement Awards

The Medical School Council of Graduate Students offers Career Development and Advancement Awards. These awards are designed to support your professional development by providing financial assistance for activities that will enhance your career prospects. Total of $15,000 award is available this application cycle with $5,000 reserved for under-represented, minoritized students. (Up to $1,000 award per successful applicant)  

Please contact for more information on awards.

3 Minute Thesis®

The 3-Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition that challenges PhD students to communicate the significance of their projects without the use of props or industry jargon, in just three minutes. The exercise develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to quickly explain their research in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience leaving them wanting to know more. 3MT competitions at the Medical School level are held yearly at Research Recognition Day in April/May.

Beatrice Z. Milne and Theodore Brandenburg Award

The Beatrice Z. Milne and Theodore Brandenburg Award recognizes exceptional thesis research by graduate students in the basic biomedical sciences.  The award reflects the thoughtfulness and generosity of Ms. Beatrice Z. Milne and serves as a lasting expression of her commitment to improving the health of the people of Minnesota, the nation, and the world.  The award is given annually to up to six currently enrolled graduate students in one of the following graduate programs: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics (BMBB), Integrative Biology and Physiology (IBP), Microbiology, Immunology & Cancer Biology (MICaB), Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics (MCDB&G), Neuroscience, and Pharmacology.
The Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Graduate Programs Council in the Medical School will coordinate the selection process. The award is presented in the spring at the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs Research Recognition Day and each award will include a $6,000 award.

Award and Funding

The Medical School provides graduate students internal awards and supports external fellowship award opportunities. 

Internal awards exist at the level of the University, Medical School and the graduate programs. The Associate Dean of Graduate Education oversees and distributes funding from the University and the Medical School to individual graduate programs or directly to graduate students. 

External awards are available through institutions or organizations outside the University of Minnesota. The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies have workshops and seminars to assist with the application process for many of the available extramural awards opportunities.