One of the hardest things to navigate at an institution are the convoluted layers of policies and administration. It’s still hard for me now as faculty, and must be exponentially harder as a trainee.

For any CWRU students in School of Medicine labs / departments planning to submit an NSF GRFP application, please know that you can apply for the fellowship directly, and don’t need to have to go through the grants administration associated with your department (reporting to the central grants administration team at the SOM level). You likely won’t be in the internal grants management system yet, adding additional (inexplicable) delays and hurdles, that may put your application past the internal deadline for grant submissions. Once past the internal deadline (and thus being locked out of being able to submit the application), you may have to write a petition to yet another group / committee, who may not see the forest through the trees and deny your request to no longer be locked out, effectively ruining all chances of submitting the application, even if you’ve already completely written it many days prior and the actual deadline for NSF is still a couple of days away. Only to have your PI eventually contact the School of Graduate Studies, which sets the entire SOM grants infrastructure straight by pointing out to them that the student applies for the fellowship directly, and all of those previous hurdles were inflicted on you solely by the school for no reason / by mistake.

If anyone seems unsure about this, I can always provide the receipts. If any of that is unclear, feel free to reach to schedule a time to chat. After I regale you with the full tale, I can also give my thoughts on the NSF GRFP, and the fact that even if chances of getting it are low, it could certainly still be worth trying to apply for the experience, and answer any other questions you may have about it.