Featured Fellowship: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is the country’s oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. In March 1951, Alan T. Waterman, the chief scientist at the Office of Naval Research, was appointed by President Truman to become the first Director of the National Science Foundation. Waterman defined the Foundation’s policy role as “one of advocating a research support program, improving government-university relations, and compiling reliable information on scientific research and manpower.” In 1951, Congress appropriated only $151,000 for the agency to start administrative operations. Very early on, the Foundation created the Division of Graduate Education (DGE) to be responsible for fellowships and scholarships for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. The GRFP was established early in the foundation's history, to encourage the best basic research and ensure a comprehensive research program. Since 1952, NSF has funded over 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants. Currently, 42 Fellows have gone on to become Nobel laureates, and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program has a high rate of doctorate degree completion, with more than 70 percent of students completing their doctorates within 11 years. Learn more about the history of the National Science Foundation.