Video Transcript: How to Apply to the STEM Graduate Research Fellowship

Greg Dutton, Ph.D., Physical Scientist, National Institute of Justice

Every year, the National Institute of Justice opens a call for graduate research fellows in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In this video, I’m going to answer the most common questions that I get from students and universities about how to apply.

First question: What is the Graduate Research Fellowship? The Graduate Research Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or GRF STEM, sponsors promising doctoral students whose research is relevant to policy and practice of criminal justice in the United States.

Who can apply for the Graduate Research Fellowship? Students from Ph.D. programs in all STEM fields are encouraged to apply, including but not limited to the physical sciences, life sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering, mathematics and statistics. You can apply for and be awarded a fellowship as long as you’re currently enrolled in a qualifying Ph.D. program, but your thesis committee must have approved your research topic before fellowship funds will become available.

What kind of support is covered under the fellowship? Fellows receive a student stipend of $35,000 each year, plus up to $15,000 to cover tuition and fees, research expenses, travel and conference expenses and other costs. With proof of enrollment and satisfactory research progress, fellows can receive up to 3 years of support.

What are the fellowship requirements? In addition to being a Ph.D. student at an accredited U.S. university, a key requirement is that the research must have implications for improving policy and practice of criminal justice in the United States. It should seek to solve problems faced by criminal justice practitioners. Former fellows have focused their research on a variety of topics, including using isotope analysis to identify an individual’s region of origin and travel history, developing computational methods to analyze complex DNA mixtures, applying statistical methods to fingerprint comparisons and developing a simulator for police deployment strategies.

How do I apply? Your university submits the application on your behalf, as your sponsor. So it’s important that you contact your Office of Sponsored Research or similar office early so that you can work together to assemble a complete application package by the deadline.

Can international students apply? Yes, international students can apply, because the application is submitted on their behalf by a U.S. university.

How many fellowships are awarded? Currently, the program is selecting up to 20 new fellows each year. Our former fellows have gone on to become faculty and department chairs in universities across the U.S., as well as research scientists in public and private institutions. Kevin Legg, a 2011 fellow, credits his GRF with creating opportunities and collaborations that otherwise would not have been possible.

The bottom line for the GRF STEM Program is to help young scientists start productive careers that contribute to the advancement of science in support of criminal justice. So look for the next open call for applications. I hope you apply.

Date Created: November 23, 2015