Awards, Funding and Fellowship Opportunities

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.

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.

Internal Awards Opportunities

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.

Career Development Awards

Career Development Awards are available through the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for graduate students. The awards provide up to $5,000 in funds to engage in activities that will enhance education and/or training applicable to professional development.  Applications are accepted and awards granted throughout the year. 

For questions about the application process for these Career Development Awards, please contact

Research Awards

Research Awards are available through the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for graduate students. These awards can be used to procure research  materials and supplies, cover expenses for travels to scientific conferences and/or be used to pay for subscriptions to unique services to advance your research education and training. Awards provide up to $10,000 per student. Applications and awards are available throughout the year. 

For questions about the Research Award application process, please contact

Travel Awards

Travel Awards are available through the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for currently enrolled graduate students in year 3-5 of their research training. Award monies can be used to travel to any national or international scientific conference, contingent on approval from your faculty advisor and director of graduate studies. Funds cover registration, transportation, hotel and meals. Up-to $3,000 is awarded to graduate students. Any costs beyond the $3,000 will be covered by the home graduate program or faculty advisor. Applications and award distributions are provided throughout the year. 

For more information, please contact the GPS office for application process at

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.