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Media Advisory 12-028

NSF Marks 60th Anniversary of Graduate Research Fellowship Program With New Direction for Program

At Dec. 5th event, NSF director to announce new opportunities for Fellows to collaborate with researchers outside U.S.

Photo of grad students and assistant professor working on nanometer-scale patterns on a computer

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program is NSF's flagship program in graduate education.

November 28, 2012

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) celebrates its 60th year on Dec. 5, 2012. GRFP is NSF's flagship program for graduate students in the science and engineering fields within NSF's mission.  It has been in operation almost as long as NSF itself, making an investment in students with demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.

The investments have paid off well: Among more than 200 Nobel laureates who have had NSF support, 40 were selected as Graduate Research Fellows. GRFs are also well-represented among government leaders, business executives, writers, and members of the National Academy of Sciences - from Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, to Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt. Currently, about 12,000 students apply annually for Graduate Research Fellowships; 2,000 receive awards, which they take to U.S. graduate institutions of their choice.

On Dec. 5 from 12:30 p.m.- 2:00 p.m., NSF will recognize the accomplishments of current and past GRFs, and speakers will discuss the impact of the support they received as a GRF on their later work. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will be a featured speaker. NSF Director Subra Suresh will make a major announcement regarding a new effort to increase opportunities for Fellows to undertake research collaborations beyond our borders.

The event will include awarding prizes to student winners of a video contest, which challenged active GRFs to create videos showing how their research could help shape the future. Winners of the 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place prizes and the People's Choice Award have been invited to NSF to accept their awards and show their videos.


NSF Director Subra Suresh, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and current and former Graduate Research Fellows


A celebration of the 60th anniversary of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program


Wednesday, Dec. 5, 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. EST


NSF headquarters, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA  22230

Media interested in attending should contact Maria Zacharias. Space is limited.

There will be a live webcast of this event starting on Dec. 5 at 12:30 p.m. EST.


Media Contacts
Maria C. Zacharias, NSF, (703) 292-8454, email:

Program Contacts
Gisele T. Muller-Parker, NSF, (703) 292-7468, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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