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NSF GRFP workshop

Hello Vandy biomed grad students! Use this website as a guide and starting point for preparing your NSF GRFP proposal. While we will mostly discuss the NSF proposal, we also have a tiny bit of info on a few others. We look forward to seeing you at our workshop sessions (schedule below).


Fellowship Deadlines for fall 2021 applications


2021/22 Workshop Schedule:

We will be having 3 sessions to the NSF workshop, an introduction, a Q&A & review session, and an individualized one-on-one proposal review

  1. August 19th, 4:00-5:30, MOVED TO ZOOM: Introduction session
    1. Register here:
    2. Recording
    3. Slides
  2. September 7th, 7:30 pm, ZOOM: Grant writing guidance, Q&A
    1. Register here:
    2. Recording
    3. Slides
  3. September 13th, 7:30-9:00, ZOOM: Roundtable
    1. Register here:
    2. To accomplish before:
      1. Draft of Personal Statement and Outline for Research Proposal
      2. Thoroughly read program solicitation
  4. Deadline: October 1st, individual proposal reviews
    • To accomplish before:
      1. Polished drafts of Personal Statement and Research Proposal, emailed to Beth Bowman


General Resources:

  • Beth’s blog post with info on the generals of the NSF GRFP
  • Alex Lang’s blog post
  • August 24th 2016 Webinar from the NSF
  • Read me first; a general Fellowship review – A great informational guide with additional resources if you’re the type of person who needs to read a ton before getting started. If you want to just write, read the overview no matter what.
  • Preparation timeline checklist – print this out and absolutely follow this timeline. It fits well with our workshop timeline too! Be sure to follow this thorough checklist closely!
  • Research Plan Guide –  need help brainstorming about your proposal? Have an idea in mind but don’t know what needs to be addressed? Follow this guide to get an idea of the information you should include

Scoring resources:

  • NSF Scoring Rubric – use this to get an idea of what you should cover in your essays in general
  • Example Scoring Comments – use this to make sure you know what sorts of things reviewers will comment on and notice


Our Example Proposals:

Highlighted Essays:

  • Not awarded:
  • Honorable Mention
    • Personal Statement
    • Research Proposal
    • Reviews
      • Beth’s take away’s
        • Letters from mentors who will emphasize experience at different institutes
        • Balance broad descriptions with some details to showcase deep understanding
  • Winner–Computational
    • Personal-Statement
    • Research-Proposal
    • Reviews
      • Sierra’s take away’s
        • Research plan’s broader impacts were tied into personal statement, making them feel connected and the future plans realistic.
        • Specific Goals rather than Aims
        • Got involved with multiple outreach opportunities at Vanderbilt (more than just VSVS) and has plans to connect with FISK.
        • Computational project building off his previous experiences
        • Highlights how NSF provides opportunities other than just funding (clustering resources)
  •  Winner
    • Personal Statement
    • Research Proposal
    • Reviews
      • Beth’s take away’s
        • Briefly describe stats
        • Emphasize experience in labs and independence of work
        • Become involved in outreach quickly at your new institution and describe how this fits into your plan moving forward

Others (don’t overwhelm yourself reading all of these)