SUNY GREAT (Graduate Research Empowering and Accelerating Talent) Award program will provide $5,000 in flexible funding to incentivize SUNY students (both graduate and undergraduate) to submit competitive applications for prestigious, highly competitive graduate fellowships and enroll in SUNY's graduate programs. The funds are provided not only to those who win the fellowship awards, but also to those recognized with NSF Honorable Mention, a significant national honor. Click here for more information. The goal of this program is to incentivize more SUNY students (both graduate and undergraduate) to apply for prestigious, competitive federal graduate fellowships, by providing both awardees and honorable mention recipients with $5K of flexible funding.

Nominations, Selection & Notification
NSF GRFP At-a-Glance
Webinar Series

2021 SUNY GREAT Award Recipients

Twenty-two students have received the first-ever SUNY Graduate Research Empowering and Accelerating Talent (GREAT) award. These recipients of the SUNY GREAT Award have received national recognition from the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program or the National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Awards.

Award Winners

Graduate fellowship programs eligible for SUNY GREAT

The fellowship programs eligible at this time are NSF GRFP, NDSEG (Defense), NASA, NIH NRSA (F30 and F31), DoE SCGF (Energy), and the Canadian fellowships (SSHRC and NSERC, which are similar to GRFP awards but are usable at U.S. institutions).

Eligible Federal fellowships have the following characteristics:

  • Are awarded by the funder to support a specific student (as opposed to training grants, where trainees are chosen by the institution).
  • Will be deployed within a SUNY graduate program for multiple years (typically, 3-5 years, longer than a dissertation award).
  • Carry stipends that are higher than state TA lines, and publicly announce their awardees after a national competition.

Nominations, Selection and Notification

Nomination, Selection, and Notification of Awardees. Students do not apply for SUNY GREAT; the award is made based on public announcements by the Federal agencies. (Those who apply to NSF GRFP should check the box on the application that allows NSF to announce their names if they win Honorable Mention.) Based on the public announcements made by NSF (around early April each year) and by the other fellowship agencies, all potentially eligible SUNY GREAT awardees will be placed on a nomination list. The nomination list will be reviewed by SUNY’s Office of Research and Economic Development on a continuing basis as Federal fellowship competition results are announced. Potential nominees will be confirmed with the relevant campuses. For students who are undergraduates on a SUNY campus and win a Federal graduate fellowship or GRFP Honorable Mention, they or their institutions will be contacted about the students' plans for graduate studies. Students will be informed that they are eligible to receive SUNY GREAT at the end of the coming academic year, provided they have been admitted to and are enrolled in a SUNY graduate program and remain in good standing. Toward the end of the spring semester the year after the competition announcement (between March and May), SUNY will confirm the continuing enrollment of each nominee by contacting the appropriate Offices of the Dean of the Graduate School. SUNY GREAT awardees will be notified.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are only federal fellowships included (as opposed to private fellowships or graduate funding from industry sources)?
The decision was made to incentivize applications to prestigious graduate fellowship programs with national competitions that announce awardees publicly. This means that awards can be made based on the public announcements, without students needing to apply to SUNY GREAT.

Can graduate students in non-STEM fields, or international students, be eligible for SUNY GREAT?
At this time, the fellowships that confer eligibility for SUNY GREAT awards are restricted to STEM students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, with one exception: the GRFP-like Canadian fellowships NSERC and SSHRC (which include STEM fields as well as some humanities fields). In the future, SUNY GREAT may be extended to be more inclusive, consistent with program goals and resources.

What social sciences are considered STEM fields?
I received a federal fellowship award in 2019 and am now enrolled in a SUNY graduate program. Am I eligible for SUNY GREAT funds? Unfortunately, no. The primary objective of SUNY GREAT is to incentivize more SUNY students to apply for prestigious federal fellowships. For this reason, the scholarship will be not be made retroactively to students who have already won their fellowships or honorable mention in previous competitions.

There are several yearly deadlines for predoctoral NIH NRSA (F30 and F31) awards, and these differ depending on the NIH institute. Which of these can be eligible for SUNY GREAT?
Applicants who submit (or resubmit) their NRSA applications to upcoming competitions after September 23, 2019 are eligible.

Can I take a SUNY GREAT award with me to a graduate program at a non-SUNY institution?
No. SUNY GREAT can be deployed only by students within the SUNY system.

NSF GRFP At-a-Glance

Every year since 1952, NSF has sought to recruit talented individuals to graduate study in STEM fields through the highly competitive Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Since 2010, a total of 2,000 awards (and nearly as many Honorable Mentions) have been made each year across all STEM fields, making this the largest graduate fellowship program in the U.S. As of 2020, GRFP stipends are $34,000 for each of 3 years, with a cost-of-education (COE) allowance of $12,000 in lieu of tuition and fees. The awards are portable.

Graduate fellowship awards not only bring in resources for students to pursue their graduate studies, but also increase the visibility of students and their home institutions. Prestigious graduate fellowships support talented individual students, freeing them to conduct creative and cutting-edge research. Many SUNY campuses already provide strong mentorship and guidance for fellowship writing, and SUNY is augmenting these efforts with webinars to encourage a culture of grant- and fellowship-writing.

Consider applying to the GRFP Program to fund your Master's or Ph.D. studies:

  • If you have been involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) research, including the Social Sciences
  • Or are considering applying to graduate school (for a research-based PhD or Master's)
  • Or are already enrolled in your first or second year of graduate training on a SUNY campus

SUNY sponsored GRFP and NSRA webinar series

SUNY has created a series of webinars to help to prepare SUNY undergraduates and graduate students in STEM fields to compete in the upcoming National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program competition. The deadlines are coming up in October. To access these webinars, contact Jacquie Spano at

Are You Ready for Graduate School? Finding Fellowship Funding(For undergraduates only)

Are you curious about or excited by the prospect of a career in research? Are you thinking about a career in a leadership role that involves science, technology, engineering, or mathematics? Are you wondering about the best time to apply to graduate school, and how to get someone else to pay for it? This webinar may help you decide.
Webinar Recording

Applying to NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program

This webinar will include all the basics about GRFP, such as the benefits, eligibility, parts of the application, the review process, and basic tips and strategies.
Webinar Recording

Winning Strategies for GRFP (and How to Get Started)

This webinar will include discussion of NSF’s review criteria (Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts), how to maximize the impact of your planned research, and other winning strategies.
Webinar Recording

Write! (As if Your Career Depends on it)

This webinar will cover how to write about your research in an interesting and lively way, tailored to your audience (recommended for all fellowship and grant writers).
Webinar Recording