Graduate Fellowships



The Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) offers 3-month summer fellowships to graduate students working on topics with relevance (broadly construed) to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (refer to the IBACS mission statement). Priority will be given to students working across traditional disciplinary boundaries. IBACS Graduate Fellows will attend a short grant-writing workshop aimed at writing NRSA pre- or post-doctoral fellowship applications, NSF GRFP or SBE applications, and equivalent. A writing mentor will be provided, who has experience of such applications. Fellows will also attend a mock review panel, styled after NIH review panels, at which they will review each other’s draft applications.  Non-US citizens ARE eligible to apply for an IBACS Graduate Fellowship (see below).


The Summer 2024 application period will open December 1, 2023 and close January 30, 2024.


  • Graduate Students at UConn working on topics related to the IBACS mission are eligible to apply, with priority given to students working across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who either have no other source of summer funding or are in receipt of summer funding that amounts to less than $5,000 from UConn or external funds (such as an NSF or NIH fellowship, teaching contract, departmental stipend etc.).
  • If you have fewer than 10 hours per week to dedicate to the fellowship,  you are not eligible to apply for an IBACS Graduate Fellowship. If in doubt, please contact us (see contact details below).
  • Initial awards are funded at $2,000 and are issued on the first Thursday of May. It is a condition of your award that you submit an application for external funding either as PI or with your PI, and we shall give you an additional $3,000 once the external grant application is in submittable form (to be signed off by the advisor, in principle during the summer, but by no later than March 1st of the following year).  Non-U.S Citizens will be required to apply for external funding through their advisor.
  • To be eligible to receive the additional $3,000, the external grant applied for must be for at least the amount needed to fund a student fully for an entire academic year (e.g. 20 hours a week at a GA rate, or whatever the applicable rate given the funding mechanism).
  • If you were in past receipt of an IBACS Graduate Fellowship but you did not subsequently submit an external fellowship application (or for non-US citizens, your advisor did not subsequently submit an external grant application), you are not eligible for another fellowship unless there were mitigating circumstances.
  • Graduate students intending to apply who are not already IBACS affiliates should also fill out the affiliate membership form available here.
  • Fellows must commit to attending a grant-writing workshop aimed at writing NRSA pre- or post-doctoral fellowship applications, or NSF GRFP/SBE applications. The workshop typically starts the second week of May and meets live for 3 days, although there are assignments due throughout the 3-months. In addition, they will attend the Institute at least one-half day each week (details to be determined) during which time they will work on their applications. A writing mentor will be provided, who has experience of such applications.
  • Non-US citizens who are not eligible for federal funding (and cannot therefore apply for an NIH or NSF fellowship) can apply for an IBACS Graduate Fellowship, but their primary advisor will be expected to develop a grant proposal related to the Fellow’s research (typically, related to the student’s research, and naming that student as a collaborator).
  • Fellowships are appropriate for proposals initiated by a graduate student, or by eligible faculty wishing to nominate a graduate student. In each case, a statement will be required by both the student and the primary advisor.
  • Graduate Fellowships do not cover tuition fees (they are exempt) or other expenses.
  • As a condition of this award, the faculty advisors of recipients will be asked to serve for a year on the IBACS review panel in the future. This panel will review our seed grant, graduate fellowship, and undergraduate award applications. They may defer to a future time due to sabbatical or other appropriate reasons. 


Fellowship payments are subject to federal and state income taxes unless the payment is used to pay for qualified tuition and required enrollment fees.  You will be personally responsible for any income taxes resulting from the receipt of this fellowship payment.  You should be advised that fellowship payments used to pay for travel, supplies or equipment used in your independent research are not exempt from taxation.  Fellowship payments, although taxable, are not subject to income tax withholding if paid to a U.S. citizen or resident alien.  It is the sole responsibility of the student to report and pay taxes on the taxable portion of any fellowship, stipend, award or grant that he/she receives. Consistent with IRS guidance, the University does not withhold taxes on the taxable portion of fellowships, stipends, awards or grants except in limited circumstances involving nonresident aliens.  If you are a nonresident alien, federal income taxes may be required to be withheld from your payment unless you qualify for exemption by way of an income tax treaty between the United States and your country of tax residence.  Fellowship recipients may wish to consider making estimated federal and state income tax payments.

Additional details, and answers to many frequently asked questions, may be found on the following websites:



All applicants must submit a completed application, by any deadlines described above in the Key Dates section. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their primary supervisor submit a supporting statement (see below):

  • The application form is to be filled in by the student here.
  • Applicants will be asked for
    • A tentative title for their research
    • A summary of prior work (1/2 page max)
    • A summary plan of current work (1/2 page max)
    • A summary of the proposed topic for the externally funded (e.g. NRSA, NSF, etc) fellowship application on which the applicant will work during the fellowship (1 page max). For applicants ineligible for US federal funding, this summary should propose the topic for which the primary advisor intends to seek external funding.
    • An up-to-date CV
  • A copy of the application will be sent automatically to the applicant’s primary advisor for approval. The advisor will need to write a letter of support to complete the application process. Details will be provided once the application has been submitted.


Reviewers of full proposals will be asked to consider the following review criteria, as well as the advisor’s separate statement:

  • Does the topic of the proposed external fellowship application fall within the remit of the Institute’s mission and/or strategic priorities?
  • Is the applicant’s progress, achievements, and potential likely to meet the criteria for externally funded pre- or post-doctoral fellowships?
  • What is the intellectual merit of the proposal?


If you have trouble with any part of the application process, or you are unsure about eligibility or have questions about budgeting, you can contact or call our Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills, at 860-486-4937.