Funding Sources

There is no centralized database of potential funding sources for the research phase of MSTP training, so it is difficult to maintain a complete and accurate list. If you uncover any omissions or errors in the information below, please notify the MSTP office.

Here we list internal (Rackham) and external funding sources that support Ph.D. training and that do not exclude M.D./Ph.D. trainees. This list includes very important potential sources of funding from the NIH, the F30 and F31 National Research Service Awards (NRSAs). Please visit the websites for deadlines, qualifications, and funding applications.

List A (Internal Rackham funding)

Rackham offers several different funding and fellowship opportunities. Of note are the Rackham Conference Travel Grants, Rackham Graduate Student Emergency Fund, Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant, and the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship.

However, all Rackham funding is worth looking at and can be found on the Rackham website.

The M-Train Training Grant Database lists essentially all NIH training grants within the Medical School, many of which have predoctoral positions.

List B (Federal sources: F30, F31-Diversity)

Please read this entire section carefully!

You must have matriculated into the MSTP no more than 48 months prior to the submission due date of your initial NIH F30 (or F31) National Research Service Award (NRSA) application (this rule does not apply if you are resubmitting an application). The training plan is as important as the specific research plan, and the training plan should be individualized and not simply be identical to the generic plan for all MSTP fellows or all graduate students in your department. It is advantageous to read at least two recently funded NRSAs from your peers to get a sense of what is expected.

Recently funded F30/F31's can be found in this M-Box folder to which you have access: MSTP Information for Fellows>F30 F31 Funding Information.  Each F30/F31 is named according to Year funding began_NIH Institute_Fellow's name

Please note that Rackham will provide "cost sharing" on these grants, which helps cover the differential between the student's tuition, Gradcare and dental costs and the amount funded by the NIH.

You should apply for cost sharing, and the process is explained in this document (PDF).

F30 and F31-Diversity applications require an attachment called Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training and another called Additional Educational Information.

As of August 2016, these have been combined and have a total limit of 2 pages. Previously there was no page limit to the Additional Educational Information and the NIH asked for a lot of detail that cannot possibly fit within the new combined page limit. On 7/29/2016, the NIH emailed the following guidance to MSTP Directors:

  • Description of Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training: Standard requirement for all fellowship applications. Here, the institution documents its overall research program (faculty, facilities, etc.) and how it is relevant to the candidate's research.
  • Additional Educational Information (same attachment): Here the institution needs to describe the specific PhD, or MD/PhD program structure, any milestones for trainees (e.g., courses, qualifying exams, etc.), expected time-to-degree over the past 10 years. Other obvious useful information would include for example, sequence of graduate research and medical school years; any clinical activities during the graduate research to ease transition from PhD to MD years; conversely, any research activities during the MD years to integrate the MD + PhD training; any formal monitoring and evaluating the student’s progress, etc.

The MSTP Director will provide much of the information needed for Additional Educational Information upon your request, and your PhD program should be able to provide the information for Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training. However, you will need to combine these into the single attachment and figure out what to include so as to fit within two pages.

Please note that you are only allowed 6 total years of NIH training grant support (72 months) and you may have been on our MSTP grant for up to 36 months (the MSTP office knows exactly how many). You should ask for the most number of months allowed, and I would recommend not asking for less than two years of research funding.

The MSTP Director also will be pleased to provide a letter of recommendation, if you would like one. You need to provide the Director with your eRA Commons name, the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) # (usually PA-16-305), and a draft of your specific aims. Please provide this to the Director at least 3 weeks prior to the due date.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellows (F30). The F30 individual NRSA Program Announcement (PA-16-305) supports both the PhD phase as well as (at the discretion of the institute and review panel) the final years of medical school. Please see the above PA-16-305 link for detailed information including the list of participating NIH institutes. Note that the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) does NOT support the F30 mechanism; instead, they expect MSTP students to apply for F31 grants. Read more on the NIH site.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (F31-Diversity). All NIH institutes currently participate in this F31, the Individual NRSA Diversity Award program (PA-16-308). This F31 supports the Ph.D. phase and may also support the final years of medical school. Diversity is considered to encompass individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities. The NIH considers the following racial and ethnic groups to be underrepresented: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (F31). Although confusing, the NIH has two distinct F31 individual NRSA mechanisms. This particular F31 (PA-16-309) is available to both PhD students and MD/PhD students, and for the latter it supports the PhD phase only. In general MSTP students apply for F30 or, if eligible, F31-Diversity Awards rather than this F31 mechanism.

List C (Private, non-federal funds)