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  • Writer's pictureResearch Impact Enterprises [RIE]

Outline for Students Writing NSF GRFP Personal and Research Statements


The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is the nation's oldest and most established fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in various Social Sciences and 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).

If awarded this fellowship provides $34,000 dollars per-year for three years. This fellowship also provides 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.

Provided below is a resource for undergraduate and graduate students who plan to write their Personal, Relevant Background, and Future Goals (PRF) and Graduate Research Plan Statements (RS). The PRF and RS are required when students apply for a NSF GRFP award.

The PRF and RS Outline

NSF has two criteria called Intellectual Merit (IM) and Broader Impacts (BI). For the GRFP, reviewers will be asked to rate “Your Entire Application Packet” according to these two criteria. Make sure to be well acquainted with both IM and BI.

Written by:

Dr. Michael Thompson aka “The Broader Impacts Guy”

Michael Thompson is currently the Head of Research Impact Enterprises or RIE: A Research Impact Accelerator for Academic Institutions, Individuals, and Faculty. RIE is the first hybrid non-profit like and academically-based business ecosystem entity that functions as a conduit and facilitator between the Academy and the Rest of Society. RIE achieves this by working in collaboration with others to provide initiatives, services, and products that help individuals, faculty, businesses, institutions, and other organized units manage, maximize, and accelerate their impact. Click here to be provided with an overview of how RIE works.

Before serving as Head of RIE, Michael was the Founding Director of the Broader Impacts in Research (BIR) organization, on the Senior Staff of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), member of the Center for Research Program Development and Enrichment (CRPDE), and Affiliate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma (OU). He also served on the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI) Working Group, which developed the Broader Impacts Guiding Principles and Questions for National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals.

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