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Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships Application and Eligibility

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, SIGFs

Applications for 2020 SIGFs are now open.

The Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship is a competitive, university-wide program that awards three-year fellowships to outstanding doctoral students engaged in interdisciplinary research. Three independent institutes, Bio-X, Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, and ChEM-H, in conjunction with the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, together award these graduate fellowships in the biosciences. Applications received will be considered for SIGFs affiliated with the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Bio-X-Bowes Fellowships, Bio-X SIGFs, and SIGFs affiliated with ChEM-H.

Graduate students should apply through the Bio-X application processGraduate students including neuroscience-themed research proposals in their application and interested in being sponsored by the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute should select "Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Fellowship" on their application to be considered for the SIGF affiliated with the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute as well as for Bio-X Fellowships.

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is grateful to Bio-X and the Bio-X Leadership Council for incorporating the SIGFs affiliated with the Institute into this year’s round of their long-standing and successful program.

Questions? Contact Ramy Abbady at

Key Dates for 2020 Scholars Awards
Application Deadline February 24, 2020, at 5:00 pm PST
(including recommendation letters and mailed materials)
Notification of Awards May 15, 2020
Award Start Date Fall Quarter 2020
Funding Period Fall 2020 through Summer 2023
To Apply Applications for 2020 are now open

Eligibility Criteria

Graduate students must read the full eligibility requirements from VPGE and Bio-X before applying. 

It is extremely important that your proposal is interdisciplinary (bringing together two or more separate fields of study) with at least two faculty members involved in your proposed project as mentors. The interdisciplinary nature of the proposal must be clearly defined and evident in the research plan submitted as part of the application. Preference will be given to students who are jointly mentored by at least two faculty members who are expert in distinctly separate areas of science and technology.

Stanford graduate students must fulfill specific criteria to be eligible to apply for an SIGF. SIGF requirements and eligibility

Eligibility requirements for the SIGFs affiliated with Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Bio-X SIGFs, Stanford Bio-X Bowes Fellowships, as well as SIGFs affiliated with Stanford ChEM-H, are found in the 2020 Bio-X Fellowship Announcement as well as on the Bio-X 2020 Fellowship website.

Ideally, applicants will be in the second or third year and have demonstrated academic excellence and evidence of the potential for innovative research in an interdisciplinary area. Ability to link intellectual innovation with solving societal problems, interest in communicating research to a broader audience, and a capacity for future leadership will also be considered positive qualifications.

Additional Application Guidelines:

  • Your faculty advisor (not postdocs, consulting faculty, etc.) is a Stanford Bio-X affiliate. Visit: to confirm.
  • You must identify at least one faculty co-advisor (or co-mentor) for your work. For the purposes of the application, a faculty co-advisor does not have to be an officially recognized departmental co-advisor; instead, this is a second faculty mentor who is integral to your proposed project. Both of your faculty mentors must be Stanford Bio-X affiliated faculty.
  • You are active in a PhD program by Winter 2020. This must be reflected in your Stanford transcript.

Application Materials

  1. Introductory page

    • This includes your name, the title of your research proposal, a 100-word (maximum) abstract of your research, and a 50-word (maximum) explicit explanation of how your project is interdisciplinary and includes the involvement of the two faculty mentors.
    • We require you to list your advisor, co-advisor, and any additional faculty collaborator(s) on the proposed project. (Your reference letters must be from your advisor and co-advisor on the project.)
    • We require the description of any sources of present forms of tuition or stipend funding (please let us know if you are applying for any other fellowship simultaneously).
  2. Interdisciplinary research plan

    • The plan, including all text, figures, references, etc., must be no more than four pages in length, and in Times New Roman, size 12 font.
    • 100-word abstract of research description
    • 50-word explicit explanation of how the project is interdisciplinary and includes the involvement of the two faculty mentors
    • At least two faculty mentors must be involved in the proposed project.
  3. Curriculum vitae

    • This must be no more than two pages in length
  4. Two recommendation letters, one from your faculty advisor and one from your co-advisor

    • Letters must include a statement regarding the interdisciplinary nature of the proposal.
    • Give the faculty a few weeks' advance notice and check with them several times to ensure that your letter is done on time. Late reference letters will not be accepted.Asking faculty for references should be the first thing you do for your application - we recommend giving your faculty a deadline of Friday, February 21st to ensure you receive your letters on time.
  5. Transcripts from other institutions

    • We require PDF scans of official copies of transcripts from all higher education institutions attended. These scans must also include a grading legend (i.e. explanation of the grading system of the institution). The grading legend is typically found on the reverse page of a transcript.

  6. Stanford transcript

    • We require an unofficial copy of your Stanford transcript including Winter 2020.
    • The transcript must show that you are active in a PhD program by Winter 2020.
  7. Education information

    • Include your educational information along with education level, institution name, department, degree, date, and current GPA at Stanford.