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FAQ

Click on any of the questions below to read the answer. If you have a question that isn't answered on this page, you'll find our contact form at the bottom of this page.

About GradFund

What is GradFund?

GradFund is a service of the Graduate School-New Brunswick. We assist graduate students with identifying and applying for merit-based research grants and fellowships to support graduate study and research.

What types of services does GradFund provide?

GradFund offers individual meetings to discuss funding opportunities with graduate students, as well as workshops, presentations and mentoring programs throughout the year. We administer submissions of Fulbright applications for matriculated Rutgers graduate students and recent alumni.

How can I learn about upcoming GradFund events?

To stay current with GradFund announcements, join our sakai site. You can also connect with GradFund through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

I am a Rutgers undergraduate. Can I work with GradFund?

We hope that you find the information and resources on our website to be useful. GradFund is only able to work with currently matriculated Rutgers graduate students.

I am applying to a Rutgers graduate program. Can GradFund help me to apply for funding to support my graduate work?

We hope that you find the information and resources on our website to be useful, particularly our guide to thinking about funding as you apply to graduate school. GradFund is only able to work with currently matriculated Rutgers graduate students.

What are other GradFund web resources?

  • GradFund Virtual Office on Sakai - Our platform for announcements, online office hours and virtual workshops and meetings
  • GradFund Knowledgebase - Our curated library of tools and information designed to help Rutgers Graduate scholars develop more competitive grant and fellowship applications
  • GradFund Conversations - Our blog is a source of information about GradFund events, upcoming funder deadlines and advice and guidance on applying for merit-based funding as a graduate student.

Meeting with GradFund

What type of meeting should I schedule?

We offer Pre-Application meetings to help you identify potential funders and develop a plan to apply for external, merit-based funding. We also offer Application Review meetings to provide you with feedback on the clarity, organization, tone, level of detail, and fit with the goals of the funder of your draft funding application. For more information, see our meetings page.

How do I schedule a meeting?

Use our schedule a meeting form to request a pre-application or application review meeting. Once you have submitted the form, you will hear from us within several business days with a notice that we have scheduled your meeting. That message will contain further instructions for submitting your meeting materials. Please note that you will need to submit your meeting materials by 9am on the Friday before your meeting, or your meeting will be cancelled.

How should I prepare for an Application Review meeting?

In order to confirm your meeting, you will need to submit your meeting materials by 9am the Friday morning before your scheduled appointment. In preparation for your meeting, re-read your application draft. To get the most out of your meeting, come prepared with a list of questions or concerns you would like to address during the meeting. Be sure to bring a copy of your application and materials for note-taking to your meeting.

How should I prepare for a Pre-Application meeting?

In order to confirm your meeting, you will need to submit your meeting materials by the Friday before your meeting at 9am. To make the best use of your appointment, be sure to review the resources available on our website, including the GradFund Database and Pivot.To get the most out of your meeting, come prepared with a list of questions or concerns you would like to address during the meeting. Be sure to bring a copy of your application and materials for note-taking to your meeting.

Graduate Funding Mentoring Programs

What are the Graduate Funding Mentoring Programs (GFMPs)?

GFMPs are structured, self-directed, fully online programs designed to facilitate the development, review, and critique of fellowship and grant applications to support graduate and postdoctoral study. These programs are designed to help Rutgers graduate students at any stage of study and at every level of grant writing skill, from novice to expert.

What types of activities are included in GFMPs?

GFMPs consist of a series of elements designed to immerse graduate students in the proposal writing process and contribute to the development of competitive external grant and fellowship applications. Components include structured writing activities, cohort-driven engagement through weekly forum posts, small group peer review sessions, and optional individual appointments. While learning to apply for external research support effectively, GradFund GFMP participants will also gain valuable experience presenting their work to their peers and engaging in peer review. GFMPs are hosted on GradFund’s Mentoring Program Sakai site.

How often do the GFMPs run?

GFMPs run several times a year, and can range in duration from a few weeks long to a two-month long proposal writing program.

How do I sign up for a GFMP?

Watch for announcements of upcoming GFMP sessions, or contact us for more information.

Fulbright Competitions

What are the Fulbright fellowships?

The Fulbright fellowships encompass two separate programs and are available to students who wish to go abroad as a part of their graduate studies. They are the Fulbright U.S. Student Grants and the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program.

How do I apply for a Fulbright fellowship?

Contact Assistant Dean Teresa Delcorso Ellmann using our contact form for more information about the Fulbright programs for Rutgers graduate students, well in advance of the on-campus deadlines. You can also visit our announcements page and calendar for a schedule of Fulbright information sessions.

External Funding

What is merit-based external funding?

Merit-based external funding awards for graduate students fall into several categories of funds that come from outside of the university to provide support for graduate student living expenses, tuition, training, and research activities.

How do I get started with my search for funding opportunities?

Begin by learning about different kinds of funding and the different stages of graduate study at which awards are available.Schedule a pre-application meeting with GradFund to discuss your options for applying for external funding.

Where do I go to search for funding opportunities online?

GradFund maintains a database of awards and funders who support graduate study which contains nearly 4000 awards and over 1800 funders. Search the database using broad keyword terms or the names of awards or funders. If you use highly-specific keywords to describe your research, you may not find all of the relevant results.

You should also search the COS Pivot funding opportunities database. Rutgers University subscribes to the Pivot Database to allow students, faculty, and staff to find external awards to support all types of activities. For more information about using Pivot, setting up your Pivot account, and navigating your search results, visit our pivot guide.

Schedule a pre-application meeting with GradFund to discover funding options and to develop a plan for applying for external, merit-based awards.

I am an international student. Are there funding opportunities available for me?

Some U.S.-based funders, particularly the U.S. government, restrict eligibility for fellowships to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Funding opportunities do exist for international students, however. You can limit your award search results in the GradFund database and the Pivot database to awards for which international students are eligible. Always confirm your eligibility to apply by carefully reading the funder's website and the call for applications, and contact the Program Officer if you have any questions about your eligibility to apply.

Proposal Writing 101

I want to apply for an award. When should I start writing the essays?

GradFund suggests starting on proposals 4-6 months before the due date, which is plenty of time to go through all of the steps to submit a proposal. This includes time early on in proposal planning to review eligibility criteria, gather instruction materials, and understand the goals of your funder. Constructing your essay drafts also involves a considerable time investment. You can then solicit feedback from your advisor and GradFund while going through multiple iterations of drafting your application. The last step is finalizing your materials and submitting the application. Because it is such an involved process, it’s best not to leave proposal writing as a last minute endeavor.

How do I understand my funder?

Most funders fall into two categories: government and private organizations. Each funder has a specific set of goals that it sets out to achieve, and it’s important to do preliminary research on these goals. As you research, gather information on the funder’s motivation for offering the award, what criteria they use to evaluate applicants, and the components of the application. Call the program officer with any questions.

What does a research proposal consist of?

In general, your research proposal will have to provide a clear picture of all the details of your research project, from the big picture questions, such as “What are you researching? Why are you researching it? How does it address the funder’s goals?” to the specific details, such as relevant literature citations, methodologies, and expected outcomes. Typical sections of the research proposal are: introduction, literature review, methods, and contribution to the field. However, review specific proposal guidelines in the funding application for more information.

What makes a strong proposal?

A strong proposal is one that is clear, concise, and compelling. It should be easy for the funder to see the importance of your work, the promise you have as a researcher, and the connection you have to the funder’s goals. This includes eliminating jargon and concretely defining your project.

Who should I consult with when writing my proposal?

It is best to solicit feedback from multiple sources. It is important to be in contact with your research advisor or faculty mentor from the start of the proposal writing process because they are the experts in your field, can provide guidance on the content of the proposal, and may have past experiences with applying for a particular funder. We also suggest scheduling multiple application review meetings with GradFund, who can provide proposal advice on organization, clarity, and appealing to a particular funder’s goals. During the proposal writing process, it’s also a good idea to get feedback from peers, mentors, and friends within and outside your field to gain multiple perspectives.

Rutgers Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP)

What is the Rutgers ORSP?

ORSP manages and oversees the submission of grant applications that require an institutional endorsement process. ORSP conducts negotiations for a wide variety of grant-related agreements, and provides regulatory expertise to the faculty committees governing the protection of human subjects as well as the use and care of animals. Consult the ORSP website for advice and guidance on completing the university endorsement process in advance of submitting grant applications that require an institutional endorsement.

When would I need to contact ORSP?

If you are applying for a research grant or fellowship that requires an institutional endorsement or authorized signature, you will need to process your application through ORSP. Be sure to contact your grant specialist early in the application process.

How do I find my grant specialist?

Each department has an assigned grant specialist who can be found through the ORSP website


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We hope that you have found the information on GradFund Central helpful. We welcome all visitors to our site. We regret that we are able to offer individual appointments only to individuals currently matriculated in a Rutgers graduate program.