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Scholarships and Top-up scholarships for internationals

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Hi Everyone,

So I have been accepted into a PhD program on scholarship, but was a bit curious to know if there are any external fellowships that are available to internationals in the biomedical area/ HIV research area. Particularly those that can be applied for in the first/second years of a program. Does anyone have any experience or insight into this? So far I have just been doing random google searches and haven't had much luck. HHMI was discontinued and several others have very specific requirements. Is it just a major scavenger hunt? Or am I going about it wrong?

Thanks in advance.

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These are very hard to find. In my field, there is only one national level fellowship available to international students, the NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship. However, it does not provide a top-up, it just replaces your stipend (your school may choose to top up in other ways if they want). You need to be at a US school already in a PhD program, so you can't get it in your first year, but you can apply in first year for 2nd year and beyond. 

Searching online is always something you should do, but such specific information is often hard to find. The best way to learn about these opportunities is to talk to other students and to talk to your advisor. Your advisor has a vested interest in you bringing in external money because it also often means less cost to them. 

Note: In almost all cases, when you win external awards, your internal funding is adjusted to consider the fact that you have external monies. So, only in very lucky cases will you be able to just keep all of the extra money. Some schools will adjust your funding so that you get a small top-up if you bring in outside money, while other schools will not change your stipend at all. It depends on the source of the outside money, the terms on the outside money and the amount of the outside money relative to your internal funding.

For example, the award in my field grants $35,000 per year towards stipend and $10,000 per year for other expenses. The stipend value is listed as "up to $35k for stipend, or the prevailing rate at the school". My school's standard stipend is just below this number, so the award is only made out to the same stipend as everyone else. However, the extra $10k per year goes towards defraying tuition expenses for the advisor ($6k) and for travel and health insurance for the student ($4k). What this means is that although you don't get a higher stipend, you get more money in your pocket because the award pays your share of the insurance premiums. And the extra money for travel (and money saved for your advisor) could mean more money spent on you in other ways.

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