AHRQ National Research Service Award (NRSA) Program

Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Research Training

AHRQ provides support for predoctoral and postdoctoral research education of scholars through the National Research Service Award (NRSA) grant program. These grants are administered through institutional and individual funding mechanisms.

Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32)

AHRQ supports individual students pursuing postdoctoral research training through the NRSA postdoctoral fellowship grant. The purpose of this training fellowship is to provide support to promising fellows with the potential to become productive, independent investigators in health services research, with a research interest in areas and priorities relevant to the mission of AHRQ. NRSA awards provide stipends, funds toward tuition and fees, and an Institutional Allowance to help defray fellowship expenses such as health insurance, research supplies, equipment, books, and travel to scientific meetings.

Eligibility and Requirements*

Applicants must:

  • Be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents by the time of the grant award.
  • Have received a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.C., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M., Sc.D., Eng.D., Dr.P.H., D.NSc., N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy), Pharm.D., D.S.W., Psy.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution prior to activation of the award.
  • Institution is any of the following: public or non-profit privant institution (such as a university, college, faith-based or community-based organization), units of local or State government, eligible agencies of the Federal Government, and Indian/Native Americal Tribal Government or Designated Organizations. Awards may only be made to U.S. domestic institutions.


Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant fellow must identify the following:

  • Sponsor (also called mentor) who will supervise the training and research experience.
  • Sponsoring institution with appropriate staff and facilities available on site to provide a suitable environment for performing high-quality research training and be demonstrably committed to research training in the particular program proposed by the applicant.

Award Project Period*

Aggregate NRSA postdoctoral support normally may not exceed 3 years.

*Please visit the funding opportunity announcement for complete details.

Application receipt dates are April 8, August 8, and December 8, annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

What areas of research does AHRQ support?

Applications for postdoctoral fellowships must be responsive to AHRQ's mission, which is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work with HHS and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used. Within the mission, AHRQ's specific priority areas of focus are as follows:

  • Research to improve health care patient safety.
  • Harnessing data and technology to improve health care quality and patient outcomes and to provide a 360-degree view of the patient.
  • Research to increase accessibility and affordability of health care by examining innovative market approaches to care delivery and financing.

Please review the Research Training Objectives discussion (Section 1. Funding Opportunity Description) of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to note additional guidance. After reviewing this information, you can contact the AHRQ program officer listed below for further consultation.

Where can I find more information on current funding levels for stipends, tuition/fees, and institutional allowance for fellowships and training grants?

NIH provides more information on current stipend levels, tuition/fees, and institutional allowance.

What is the maximum amount of NRSA support an individual may receive?

An individual may not receive more than 3 years of aggregate NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of NRSA support from institutional research training grants and individual fellowships, inclusive of NRSA support from another agency. Applicants must consider any prior NRSA postdoctoral research training in determining the duration of the fellowship support requested.

Can a fellowship applicant have more than one sponsor?

Yes. A second sponsor is allowable, especially if the project involves or requires special expertise.

Do recipients of Kirchstein-NRSA awards incur any obligation?

Yes. Postdoctoral fellows incur a service obligation for their initial 12 months of NRSA postdoctoral support. The 13th and subsequent months of NRSA support are acceptable postdoctoral payback service, and fellows who continue under the award for 2 years will have paid off their first year obligation by the end of the second year. Fellows carry out the service obligation by engaging in health-related biomedical, behavioral, and/or clinical research; research training; teaching; or any combination of these activities. NIH provides further information on service obligations related to this award.

Previously Funded F32 Awards

The AHRQ Project Research Online Database (PROD) provides a listing of previous recipients of F32 fellowship awards.

Institutional Training Programs (T32)

AHRQ provides support to U.S. academic institutions through the National Research Service Award (NRSA) grant program that offers advanced training to students with a strong interest in careers in health services research. These institutions in turn provide stipends and partial tuition coverage for predoctoral and postdoctoral students for periods of 1 to 5 years. Curriculum requirements, educational approaches, content specialization, and length of support may vary by institution. All programs combine a mix of coursework with topical and career-development seminars, mentoring, and hands-on research experience. Applicants for NRSA fellowships must, at the time of award, be citizens of the United States, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents. A current list of AHRQ NRSA T32 programs can be found here.

Specific institutional requirements vary, but minimal requirements include the following:

Predoctoral Students Educational Requirement

  • Must have earned a baccalaureate degree.

Postdoctoral Students Educational Requirement

  • Must possess a Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., Sc.D., Dr.P.H., D.Pharm., or equivalent doctoral degree.
  • Support is not provided for education leading to an M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., or equivalent health professional degree for residency training.

Annual AHRQ NRSA Conference

Each year AHRQ sponsors a conference that provides an opportunity for the NRSA trainees/fellows to present their research, obtain valuable methodological assistance, and network with other trainees and faculty. In addition, the John M. Eisenberg Excellence in Mentorship award is presented to an AHRQ NRSA institutional program faculty member who has been nominated by the AHRQ trainees/fellows.

Program Contact

Shelley M. Benjamin, M.S.W.
Division of Research Education
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Phone: (301) 427-1528
Email: Shelley.Benjamin@ahrq.hhs.gov


Page last reviewed August 2018
Page originally created September 2015
Internet Citation: AHRQ National Research Service Award (NRSA) Program. Content last reviewed August 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://www.ahrq.gov/funding/training-grants/nrsa.html
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