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UNCF●Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship


The United Negro College Fund and the Merck Company Foundation 

announce the availability of the

UNCFMerck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowships.

Apply Now for a Graduate Award!

These fellowships are a component of the

UNCFMerck Science Initiative, the goal of which is to

support the training and development of world-class

African American biomedical scientists.


At least 12

UNCFMerck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship

awards will be made per year. The competition is open

to all applicants who meet the eligibility criteria.

Award recipients are selected based on the applicants’

abilities and accomplishments.



The UNCF●Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowships are intended to support African American graduate students as they complete coursework, conduct research, and prepare the dissertation required for the doctoral degree in the biomedically relevant life or physical sciences and engineering.


Awards up to $53,500.

At least 12 Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship awards will be made in 2014. Each award is up to a maximum of $53,500 and consists of a Fellowship Stipend of up to $43,500 for the award recipient and a Research Grant of up to $10,000. For administrative purposes, the awards will be made to the institution with which each award recipient is affiliated. Only institutions in the United States are eligible. As the awards are intended to be used to support graduate student stipends and research, no part of the awards may be used for indirect costs. Awards begin no earlier than September 1, 2015.

Fellowship Stipend

The Fellowship Stipend of up to $43,500 is intended to cover a minimum of 12 months up to a maximum of 24 months of fellowship tenure. A maximum of $30,000 may be received per 12 month period. Applicants must been gaged in dissertation research and within one to three years of receiving the degree. All qualifying exams for candidacy for the degree must have been successfully completed by September 1, 2015, before an award can be disbursed. Award recipients will be known as UNCFMerck Graduate Fellows. Each Fellow will be mentored by a  scientist or engineer. As part of the award, each Fellow will be expected to make regular contact with his/her mentor. Each Fellow is also expected to present a progress report of his/her research results in the last half of their fellowship tenure at a Merck facility. A two-page summary of research results and an updated Curriculum Vitae must be submitted to UNCF at the end of the fellowship tenure. Each Fellow is expected to notify UNCF upon receipt of his/her doctorate degree.

Research Grant

A Research Grant of $10,000 will be awarded to the Fellow in the 2015-2016 academic year. This grant is intended to support the research of the Fellow. The Research Grant may only be used to cover direct expenses incurred by the Fellow in the execution of the proposed research and training during the fellowship tenure.  Costs that are considered allowable are travel to present research findings at scientific meetings and conferences, purchase of equipment and supplies,  and publication costs.  Any funds remaining at the end of the fellowship tenure must be returned to United Negro College Fund. This grant may not be used to support faculty and administrative salaries, faculty travel, tuition, or indirect costs.


To be considered for the UNCF●Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship awards, an applicant must be:

  • African American (Black)
  • Enrolled in a full-time Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree program majoring in a life or physical science, or engineering. M.D./Ph.D. degree candidates are eligible
  • Engaged in and within 1-3 years of completing dissertation research, having successfully completed all qualifying exams by September 1, 2015.
  • A citizen or permanent resident of the United States.


A UNCF●Merck Selection Committee consisting of educators, scientists and engineers will select the awardees. The academic ability and record of accomplishment of the applicant and the soundness of the proposed doctoral research plan are the criteria for selection. Since selection is partially based on the research proposal, the award may not be transferable to another project, laboratory, department or institution.


 Online applications must be submitted by December 2, 2014, at

All required information (marked with an *) must be entered or submission will not be allowed. Save each page as you fill in the requested information before going to the next page. Failure to do so may result in your being required to reenter information. When you submit your completed application, an email will be automatically sent to the institutional officials listed in your application notifying them that you have applied for the fellowship.


Recommendations from three individuals are required for a complete application:

 - One Graduate Advisor Recommendation, and 

 - Two Other Educator Recommendations

 All three Recommendation Forms must be submitted by or before December 2, 2014.

In order to give recommenders the maximum amount of time to submit their recommendations, you should enter all information for your recommenders as early as possible. To invite references, please save current application and return to your landing page. Under the landing page, scroll to the very bottom of your page to, "Your Scholarship Applications." Click on the Programs's details link. The details page will display the UNCF/Merck Postdoctoral Application Status--scroll to the bottom of the page and click on, "Invite References". This generates an email to each recommender notifying them of your application and request for their recommendation. They should log on to the website and register as a reference using the invitation code and information contained in the email, then cut and paste a letter of recommendation for you into the text box. 


The following item must be cut and pasted or uploaded from your computer

         -Career Interest and Goals Statement (1000 words) 


         -Dissertation Research Proposal ( 6 pages inclusive of charts, graphs & references)

         -Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (copy of birth certificate, U.S. passport, Resident Alien    


         -Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions

Up to two reprints of published papers and/or up to two published abstracts may also be submitted with your application under document upload section, "supplemental documents". An uploaded digital file must be done by December 2, 2014

Please complete the online application and submit it, along with the other items required, by 11:59 PM December 2, 2012 *EST. All items must be entered online including proof of citizenship and transcripts.


Please complete the online application and submit it, along with the other items required, by midnight December 2, 2014. All items must be entered online including proof of citizenship and transcripts. Nothing will be accepted by postal mail. Other information may be requested from: Carita Marrow., Relationship Manager, UNCF●Merck Science Initiative,, (202) 810-0331.


Apply Now for a Graduate Award