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NWRI Fellowship Program Questions & Answers


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Who May Apply

International Students & Research Topics

Transcripts & International Transcripts

Application Package

Application Deadline & Mailing Issues

Selection Process & Announcements

Financial Award

Terms and Conditions




Who May Apply


Who may apply for a fellowship from NWRI?

Students currently enrolled full-time in a master’s or doctoral program in the U.S. and who are conducting research in the U.S. pertaining to water (including water supply, resources, quality, policy, and treatment technologies) may apply for a fellowship from NWRI.


Can I be considered for more than one NWRI Fellowship in an application cycle?

NWRI administers several different awards through the Fellowship program (including the NWRI Fellowship, the NWRI-AMTA Fellowship, and the NWRI-SCSC Fellowship). Applicants may apply to be considered for multiple awards using one application, but are limited to receiving only one of these awards.

How many students apply each year for the fellowships?

The number of students who apply for fellowships varies each year. On average, we receive approximately 100 applications.


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Does it matter how far along I am in my program?  

No; all full-time graduate students are eligible to apply. NWRI will consider full-time students who are in their first, second, third, or fourth years of graduate study.


Do I need to be a full-time student to receive a fellowship?

Yes, only full-time students graduate students are eligible to receive an NWRI fellowship award. 


Can I still apply for a fellowship if I am not yet accepted or enrolled into a graduate program?

You must be enrolled fulltime at a university as a graduate student to apply for a fellowship from NWRI. We do not award fellowships to students who (a) have not been accepted or (b) are accepted (but not yet enrolled) in a graduate program. In fact, we encourage you wait until you have finished your first semester before applying for a fellowship so that you will have time to build a relationship with your advisor. The letter of support from your advisor is an essential component of your fellowship application.


Am I eligible to receive a fellowship from NWRI if I am already receiving other fellowship or award monies from outside sources?

Yes, students who are receiving other fellowships or awards are also eligible to receive a fellowship from NWRI. 


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Can I still apply for a fellowship if my research project does not have funding at this time?

Yes, you may apply for a fellowship from NWRI even if you do not have other sources of funding. Our goal is to help students receive the funding needed to complete their projects. If you are searching for other sources of funding in addition to the fellowship from NWRI, we encourage you and your advisor to mention these efforts in your letter of inquiry and in your advisor’s letter of support. These efforts are considered crucial elements to your research project and its budget.


Am I eligible for a fellowship if I am the student of an NWRI or SCSC Principal Investigator?

That depends on the extent of your involvement with the Principal Investigator's work. Graduate students currently working with a Principal Investigator on an NWRI- or SCSC-funded research project are not eligible to receive an NWRI Fellowship. However, students of NWRI or SCSC Principal Investigators who are working on research not related to the NWRI- or SCSC-funded project may apply. If this is the case, it would be in your best interest to clarify that your research is not related to an NWRI or SCSC project in both in your letter of inquiry and in your advisor's endorsement letter.


If I am a post-doctoral researcher, am I eligible to receive a fellowship from NWRI?

No, post-doctoral researchers are not eligible to receive a fellowship from NWRI. The NWRI Fellowship Program is meant to help support students currently earning their degrees.




International Students & Research Topics


Do I have to attend a U.S. university fulltime to receive a fellowship from NWRI?

Yes, to receive a fellowship, you must be enrolled full-time in a graduate program at a U.S. university, and the majority of your research must be conducted inside the U.S.  There are no exceptions to this rule. We do not award the fellowship to students at universities outside of the United States.


Can U.S. citizens who are studying abroad apply for a fellowship?

No, U.S. citizens who are currently enrolled at universities outside the U.S. may not apply for a fellowship. NWRI's fellowships are only awarded to students currently enrolled and studying at U.S. universities.


Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply for a fellowship?

No, you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to receive a fellowship from NWRI, but you must be enrolled full-time in a graduate program at a U.S. college or university, and the majority of your research must be conducted in the U.S. There are no exceptions to this rule.


Can my research topic be international in nature?

Yes, your research topic can be international in nature. In fact, we encourage projects that have global application. We also accept proposals in which the subject matter is located in another country. Our only requirement is that the majority of your research be conducted inside the U.S.




Transcripts & International Transcripts


Do I need to provide transcripts with my application package?

Transcripts are not required to apply. If you would like to provide a transcript, please include it in the PDF package that you e-mail to the Fellowship Coordinator. Applicants who are offered fellowships may be asked to submit official transcripts before award funds will be disbursed. 


What are the rules regarding international transcripts?

Students from universities outside the U.S. may have difficulties providing official school transcripts. If you attended an international university and you are awarded a fellowship, you may be required to submit an official transcript or certified copy along with an English translation. 


Do you accept transcripts that are not translated into English?

No, we will not accept transcripts provided in languages other than English. 


Will NWRI return transcripts to applicants?

NWRI will not return application documents to applicants. Please do not send any original documents.




Application Package


May I apply for more than one fellowship from NWRI in just one application?

Yes, you may apply for more than one fellowship in one application. So that we know which fellowships you are applying for, please be sure to fill out and include the cover sheet provided.


What factors can disqualify my application?

Applications may be disqualified for the following reasons:


What factors can help my application?

On average, the applications that are awarded a fellowship from NWRI share the following characteristics:


Where can I find the Fellowship Application Cover Sheet?

The fellowship application cover sheet is a 1-page Word document that can be downloaded from NWRI's website at www.nwri-usa.org/fellowship.htm.


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What does an "original" research proposal mean?

An original research proposal is a proposal written by you for this application process, and which proposes to complete a novel project that will add to the body of knowledge in the field of inquiry. Please do not submit a proposal that was written for another organization or by another author(s).


Do I need to provide GRE or other test scores?

No, you do not need to submit any test scores.


May I provide letters of recommendation in addition to the letter of endorsement from my advisor?

No, do not send additional recommendation letters. We ask for the letter of endorsement from your advisor because your advisor will be monitoring your progress on your research project. Your advisor’s support is critical, and that is what needs to be expressed in the letter of endorsement.


May I include copies of my publications and/or other publications to support my research?

No, please do not send us publications as part of your application. You may list publications in your resume or proposal's bibliography/references, but we will not accept (or return) additional reference materials or publications.


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Application Deadline & Mailing Issues


When is the next application deadline?

NWRI is currently not accepting applications.


What happens if my application and/or transcripts arrive after the application deadline?

If your application and/or transcripts arrive late, then your application will be disqualified.


What is the preferred way to submit the application?

We ask that you convert your the following items in your application to a PDF(s) and send them to us via email using this email address


The items to be emailed include:

  1. Application cover sheet
  2. Letter of inquiry decribing your research goals
  3. Current resume
  4. Short, original research proposal


The following additional items may e-mailed as a separate PDF.  NWRI prefers for all application materials to be submitted electronically, but if not is not possible, the following items may be mailed by postal service to NWRI:

  1. Letter from endorsement from faculty advisor
  2. Official verification of enrollment as a fulltime graduate student
  3. Official school transcripts  


What is NWRI’s mailing address?

    National Water Research Institute

    Attn: Fellowship Program

    18700 Ward Street

    Fountain Valley, CA 92708

    Phone: 714-378-3278


May I fax my fellowship application to NWRI?

Do not fax your application, as we will not accept it.


Will I receive notification that NWRI received my application?

Yes, NWRI will notify you AFTER THE DEADLINE that we received your application. If you require additional verification for items sent by mail, please request “proof of delivery” and/or use other tracking services offered by your post office or shipping provider.




Selection Process & Announcements


Who selects the fellowship recipients?

NWRI's Fellowship Selection Committee selects new fellowship recipients each year. The committee is made up of members of NWRI’s Research Advisory Board, which consists of water-science experts from across the nation.


May I contact the Fellowship Selection Committee?

No, please do not contact the Fellowship Selection Committee regarding any aspect of the fellowship application process. All questions from you or your advisor should be directed to the NWRI Fellowship Coordinator.


How many students receive fellowships each year?

The number of fellowships awarded each year varies, based on the quality of applications and available funding.


When are the new fellowships recipients announced?

NWRI announces the fellowship awardees every summer (July-September). That means the awardees are contacted either by phone or email (sometimes both) and their names are listed on our website. The awardees and their advisors will receive a letter from NWRI informing them of the fellowship award amount and describing the terms and conditions of the award.


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Will I be notified if I am not selected to receive a fellowship?

Yes, you will receive an email from NWRI informing you whether or not you received a fellowship.


If I am not selected to receive a fellowship, is it possible to find out why?

No, as we do not provide comments or feedback on any application sent to us.




Financial Award


What is the source of funding for the NWRI Fellowship program?

The NWRI Fellowship program is underwritten by the Joan Irvine Smith & Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, NWRI Corporate Associates, and NWRI Circle of Friends. NWRI is very greatful for the support provide by these partners.


How much is a fellowship award from NWRI?

The monies awarded with the fellowship vary. A typical fellowship award is $10,000 per academic school year, though the award can range from $2,000 to $15,000 a year, based on the student’s needs and the type of fellowship awarded.


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How many years will I receive fellowship funding?

The number varies with each student's needs, their year in school, and the type of fellowship awarded. With the NWRI Fellowship, many students receive a 2-year award, meaning they receive fellowship support for 2 consecutive years (for instance, if they receive a $5,000 fellowship from NWRI for 2 years, they will receive $5,000 each year for 2 years in a row, totalling $10,000). Support may be provided for up to 2 years only, with the expectation that students will graduate upon completion of the second year (or earlier). 


When will I receive the fellowship money?

A check will be sent to your university for the rewarded amount during September of each academic school year. Therefore, we recommend that you work with your university to set up an account available to you to draw from the fellowship award as needed to support your research. 


How can I use the fellowship money?

The fellowship award can be used in any way to support your research, including as a stipend, to pay for supplies and equipment, etc. We have no stipulations on how the money is spent, as long as it is related to your research.


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Will indirect costs (overhead) be charged to the fellowship Award?

No. NWRI has a longstanding policy that indirect costs (overhead charges) may not be charged against the fellowship award for student support. This policy is stated in the award letter sent to the student. Most universities accept the terms as stated in the award letter. However, there have been instances when a second letter must be sent directly to the Financial Manger and/or the student’s advisor to further clarify the policy. If additional documentation is needed, please contact NWRI.


Can a fellowship from NWRI be used in addition to another fellowship or award?

Yes, fellowship awards from NWRI can be used concurrently with other award monies. In fact, we consider the other award monies to be a part of your research budget.


Can the fellowship monies be used as needed during subsequent years, or is it limited to the school year it is awarded?

NWRI provides fellowship awards on a yearly basis with the expectation that the money will be used during that academic school year.


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How much money will I receive from my fellowship award if I graduate early or mid-year?

The fellowship award is based upon an academic years’ worth of study. If you graduate early, then your award will be pro-rated, meaning you will receive a portion of the total fellowship funding. For example, if you receive $5,000 in fellowship funding per year, and your school year runs from September to June, but you graduate in December, then you will only receive $2,500 for the time period of September through December. You will not receive the additional $2,500 because you are not attending school for a full year.




Terms and Conditions


What are the terms and conditions of receiving a fellowship?

The terms and conditions vary with each student, based on the dollar amount awarded, the expected graduation date, and other circumstances. However, the standard terms and conditions usually include:



How will I know if I will continue to receive fellowship funding each year?

If you have fulfilled the terms and conditions for that academic school year, NWRI will notify you via letter in August or September that your support will continue over to the next school year.


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