Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) for postdoctoral researchers (F32) supports promising applicants during their mentored postdoctoral training for up to 3 years. The fellowship is expected to enhance the individual’s potential to develop into a productive, independent researcher by providing strong mentorship, appropriate training and career development opportunities, and strong institutional support and commitment.
Notice of funding opportunity
- PA-23-262, parent F32: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
- New applications and resubmissions: April 8, August 8, December 8
- AIDS applications: May 7, September 7, January 7
Program director/principal investigator (PD/PI) eligibility
Before a Kirschstein-NRSA postdoctoral fellowship award can be activated, the individual must have received a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.C., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., Eng.D., Dr.PH., D.N.Sc., N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy), Pharm.D., D.S.W., Psy.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution.
By the time of award, the individual must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status).
- U.S. domestic institutions
- Non-domestic (non-U.S.) entities (foreign institutions)
- Foreign components allowed
Individuals may receive up to 3 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants (e.g., T32) and an individual fellowship award.
The F32 program is designed to support research training experiences in new settings to maximize the acquisition of new skills and knowledge. In most cases, the sponsoring institution should be a site other than where the applicant trained as a graduate student. However, if the applicant is proposing postdoctoral training at the applicant’s doctoral institution, the application must carefully document the opportunities for new research training experiences specifically designed to broaden the applicant’s scientific background and describe new knowledge and/or technical skills that will enhance the applicant’s potential to become a productive, independent investigator.
A Kirschstein-NRSA fellowship award may not be used to support the clinical years of residency training. However, these awards are appropriate for the research fellowship years of a residency program. Clinician researchers must devote full-time to their proposed research training and confine clinical duties to those activities that are part of the research training program.
This funding opportunity is designed specifically for applicants proposing research that does not involve leading an independent clinical trial, a clinical trial feasibility study, or an ancillary clinical trial, but does allow applicants to propose research experience in a clinical trial led by a sponsor or co-sponsor.
Salary and research support
The F32 budget provides a stipend (salary support), tuition and fees, and an institutional allowance to help defray the cost of fellowship expenses such as health insurance, research supplies, equipment, books, and travel to scientific meetings.
Postdoctoral stipends vary based on the number of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience when the award is issued. Current stipends can be found on the NRSA fellowship webpage .
Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to review the notice of funding opportunity and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below prior to contacting the appropriate NIMH Research Training and Career Development representative for additional information.
Q: Do I need to identify a sponsor prior to preparing my application for submission?
A: Yes. Before submitting the application, the applicant must identify a sponsor(s) who will supervise the proposed mentored training experience.
Q: How important is it to contact NIMH prior to submission? How early should I do this?
A: It is very important to have pre-submission correspondence with the NIMH Research Training and Career Development representative overseeing the relevant individual NRSA fellowship program. Applicants are encouraged to email them several months in advance of the submission deadline to provide information regarding their proposed application, including their NIH biosketch, specific aims page, and their sponsor's name.
Q: How can I tell if my research area is within the mission of NIMH?
A: Program priorities at NIMH are diverse but meet the institute’s guiding mission to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. NIMH is also interested in research to reduce the incidence of HIV worldwide and to decrease the burden of living with HIV. The research proposed should be well-aligned with NIMH’s Strategic Plan. Before preparing an individual NRSA fellowship application potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate NIMH Research Training and Career Development Program representative for feedback on the project’s fit with current NIMH or the Division of AIDS Research priorities. We recommend contacting NIMH at least a few months before the deadline.
For a complete list of funded awards and grants please visit NIH RePORTER .
Q: How many years of F32 postdoctoral support can I receive?
A. Individuals may receive up to 3 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from institutional training grants (e.g., T32) and an individual fellowship award.
Q: I just completed my second year as a postdoc. Am I eligible to apply for an F32 at NIMH?
A. Yes. However, individuals who have been in their postdoctoral fellowship for multiple years should contact the appropriate program officer to discuss whether the F32 is the most appropriate mechanism for you.
Q: Can I apply for an F32 fellowship if I stay at the same institution where I completed my Ph.D.?
A: Yes. However, please reach out to the appropriate NIMH Research Training and Career Development representative to discuss your specific situation and training needs. If the applicant is proposing postdoctoral training at their doctoral institution, they must carefully document the opportunities for new research training experiences specifically designed to broaden their scientific background.
Q: What are the differences in eligibility between the F32 and the Parent K99/R00?
A: There are several eligibility and mechanistic differences to consider between the F32 and K99/R00:
- The NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00) program is a two-phase award to facilitate a timely transition of outstanding postdoctoral researchers with a research and/or clinical doctorate degree from mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. The program will provide independent NIH research support during this transition to help awardees launch competitive, independent research careers.
- The eligibility criteria for time spent in postdoctoral research experience differs between funding opportunities. At the time of initial submissions and subsequent resubmissions, the parent K99/R00 requires that applicants have less than 4 years of postdoctoral research experience. While the F32 does not have an official eligibility window, NIMH recommends applying within the first 3 years of a postdoctoral fellowship.
- For the parent K99/R00, the applicant does not have to be a U.S. citizen to apply but must be at the postdoctoral level of training at a U.S. domestic institution. For the F32, the applicant must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551, or other legal verification of such status) at the time of the award.
- The F32 follows annually released NRSA stipend levels (see the NIH Individual Fellowships page for the most recent stipend levels) The Parent K99/R00 provides salary support of up to $75,000 plus fringe benefits per year and up to $20,000 per year of research support during the K99 phase of the award. During the R00 phase of the award the total costs may not exceed $249,000. This amount includes salary, fringe benefits, research costs, and applicable indirect costs. The requested salary must be consistent both with the established salary structure at the institution and with salaries provided by the institution from its own funds to other staff members with equivalent qualifications, rank, and responsibilities in the department concerned.
This list is not exhaustive. See the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) for more information on the Parent K99/R00 award.
Q: Can a postdoctoral fellow be supported on an F32 receive training in a foreign country?
A: Yes. The applicant may propose training in a foreign country if there is no laboratory doing comparable research in the United States or if there are resources in the foreign laboratory that are not available in comparable laboratories in the United States. In the application, the applicant must provide a rationale for doing postdoctoral research in a foreign country, which reviewers and program staff will evaluate. Be aware that if an award is made, the process will take extra time, since special arrangements must be made for paying the stipend and institutional allowance.