The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

Welcome to our new page that we have recently developed to increase the understanding of and provided the relevant resources to those at OU that will help to increase their competitiveness in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The NSF GRFP is the nation's oldest and most established fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in various Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Since 1952, NSF has provided funding for over 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships. To date, forty-two Fellows have gone on to become Nobel laureates and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Applicants who can apply must be a United States (US) citizen, US national, or a permanent US resident by the application deadline. First or second year graduate students can apply. Undergraduate students are also encouraged to apply with some restrictions. If awarded this fellowship provides $34,000 dollars per-year for three years and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 dollars to the graduate degree-granting institution for each Fellow who uses the fellowship support in a fellowship year. This fellowship offered by NSF is very prestigious. So the earlier you start to prepare for this the better! Best practice suggest that anyone who plans to submit a GRFP application should start at least Ten (10) months before the GRFP due date. In order to begin to prepare and to apply for the GRFP award please follow steps 1-11 provided below at your own pace:

1. Watch the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Video. It provides an overview from NSF about the GRFP.


2. Read the NSF GRFP solicitation in its entirety. Click here to read the solicitation. The solicitation is also provided on the left hand side of this webpage in the NSF GRFP Resources and Items section.

3. Go through and review the NSF GRFP website. The link to this website is provided here,, as well as provided on the left hand side of this webpage in the NSF GRFP Resources and Items section.

4. Watch the four videos or audio broadcast that provide a general overview of NSF Broader Impacts (BI). Broader impacts is one of the two NSF criterion you will need to consider in order to submit a competitive GRFP application packet. The other NSF criterion you will have to consider is called Intellectual Merit (IM). Once you have watched and listened to these videos it will be easier to contexctualize how BI should be thought about, written, developed, and implemented for a NSF proposal. The NSF GRFP proposal and its BI requirements are different from full faculty research proposals. However having a basic understanding about BI is critical for any proposal submitted to NSF. Click here and once the page has opened up, read the paragraph provided and then watch the introduction to the first video only and then watch the second, third, and fourth videos or audio broadcasts. This link is also provided on the left hand side of this webpage in the NSF GRFP Resources and Items section.

5. Talk with your mentor, PI, or advisor for your undergraduate research experience about applying to the NSF GRFP. If you are an undergraduate and unsure of where to start looking for research experiences contact the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). Also contact Dr. Michael Thompson after making the decision to submit to the NSF GRFP by signing up for the list serve located at the bottom left of this webpage in order to recieve some additional resources.

6. Begin to think about what has been, is, and what will be your broader impact and broader impact activity/ies in reference to your research and in general. Use this link to get to the excel spread sheet that will help you more specifically think about what you have done or will do to achieve a broader impact. For each row list the respective inputs, activities, outputs, that build up to, correspond, apply, and that will allow you to reach your specific future desired outcome. The same applies to your past desired outcomes that have already been achieved. This link is also provided on the left hand side of this webpage in the NSF GRFP Resources and Items section.

7. Fill out the Graduate Individual Identity Strategic Assessment Profile (GII-SAP). The GII-SAP is provided here. The link to the GII-SAP is also provided on the left hand side of this webpage in the NSF GRFP Resources and Items section. It will allow you and those who will be helping you to prepare for the GRFP to acquire a better understanding to who you are and what you are doing and planning to do. If you are an undergraduate or just entered graduate school email Dr. Thompson about going through a workshop or obtaining information to help develop your nascent BI identity.

8. Go to the left hand side of this webpage and go through and review all of the items that have been provided in the NSF GRFP Resources and Items section that you have not yet reviewed.

9. Contact your local Writing Center, for those at OU-Norman contact the OU Writing Center, to let them know that you will be needing someone to review what you have written for the NSF GRFP and begin to schedule review dates well in advance.

10. Contact the people who you would want to write a letter of reference (at least three) and touch base with your your advisor or the person you are doing a research project for to discuss submitting a GRFP application.

11. Email Dr. Michael Thompson,, Director of the Broader Impacts in Research (BIR) organization with questions, getting a GRFP packet, setting up GRFP informational sessions, GRFP help sessions, GRFP workshops, GRFP seminar or talks, and/or about NSF broader impacts (BI) or broader impacts in general. Email J. Quyen Wickham,, Strategic Research Coordinator for the Center for Research Program Development and Enrichment (CRPDE) concerning help with the GRFP, GRFP informational sessions, and intellectual merit (IM).

Note - the asterick* used in the NSF GRFP Awardees section to the left designates the awardee as a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Paricipation (LSAMP) program partcipant.