The first section of the workshop provides participants with early guidance on their writing statements and an overview of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

Those interested in this workshop should begin by learning all there is to know about the GFRP and their anticipated research topic. Once you complete part 1 you will receive writing advice from The Writing Center in part 2, and meet with faculty-led small groups in part 3.

What is expected?

The Prepare section allows you to become better acquainted with the GRFP guidelines and your research interests. NSF Fellows are expected “to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering,” therefore it’s important to take some time to review the following:

  • What is the GRFP and its expectations for applicants?
  • What are your research interests and how do they will fit well within the GRFP mission?

To help answer these questions, see the timeline below. There are tasks that are required be to completed before advancing to the next set of assignments, and others that are highly recommended in order to be prepared for the mentored sessions in part 3 and submission of your application in October. 


Applicants are expected to self-certify their eligibility to receive the Fellowship.

If you are unsure of your eligibility, then you must reach out to the NSF with your questions. Eligibility is determined by the NSF, not WashU faculty or staff. You can reach the NSF GRFP program at or (866) 673-4737.




  • Potential applicants will gather as much information as possible about the GRFP.
    • Visit the NSF GRFP website.
    • Read the program solicitation in its entirety at least twice (available in July). The program solicitation contains pertinent information in regard eligibility, due dates, application preparation, submission instructions, and more.
    • Explore other helpful information by browsing through resources.
  • Reach out to potential advisors if you are an undergraduate student.
    • If you are a graduate student, meet with your current advisor to discuss prospective topics for your proposal.
  • Begin to read literature for any “knowledge gaps.”
    • Within your area of interest, comb through discussion and conclusion sections for any knowledge gaps that you believe you can “fill in.” Reading through the literature will ensure that you choose a primary field of study that best suits your interests.
      • Make sure that you keep track of all your sources and begin to construct an outline.
    • You will use these sources later on when you draft your Graduate Research Plan Statement, which will be revised in part 3. When browsing through this research, think about the following questions:
      • What issue(s) do you care about in STEM?
      • How would your research add to, or transform, your specific field of study if you were to receive this fellowship?


Complete Part 1

GRFP Overview and Grant Writing Workshop for Early Graduate Students
Joseph Jez, PhD
Spencer T Olin Professor & HHMI Professor in the Department of Biology
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
1 – 3 p.m.
Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC)
Seminar Room B (2nd Floor)

You may attend the in-person session on June 19, or you can watch a recording of the session (please allow 3 business days for the recording to be uploaded in Learn@Work).

How do I advance?

You must complete part 1 to be able to advance to the next section of the workshop. Other tasks in the “Prepare” section, such as gathering information on the GRFP, filling in knowledge gaps, and reaching out to potential advisors are not required, but are highly recommended.

Advance to “Write” →