Fellows and Scholars Grants - FAQ

1. Can non-U.S. citizens apply?
Non-citizens may apply as long as they are legal permanent U.S. residents.

2. Are non-Biomedical Engineering (BME) majors eligible to apply?
Yes, if you are in a closely-related field and your project and future career-goals are BME related.  You must have enough BME background to carry out the proposed grant project.

3. I do not currently have a biomedical engineering degree, but want to do one in the near future. Can pursuing/earning my first degree in biomedical engineering from an international program be my project?
Generally,  no. Those who went to undergraduate universities which offered biomedical engineering (or its equivalent) as a degree option may not propose this as a project. However, if you went to an undergraduate school that did not offer biomedical engineering as an option, and you have demonstrated a commitment to the field through your coursework and other experience, pursuing advanced studies in BME may be an eligible project.

4. I do not speak the language of the country in which I wish to do my project. What do I do?
You should have appropriate language skills to successfully complete the project that you propose. If your project does not require knowledge of the host country’s language,  then we recommend that you obtain survival/hospitality level skills in the language before beginning the grant to aid you in the settling-in process and your life apart from you project venue.

5. Why do I need to register to fill out the application?
The registration is to help make your application process easier. You can save, logout, and re-enter the application at any time from any computer.

6. I applied for a Whitaker grant previously and was not selected.  Can I apply again?
Yes, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

7. When will I be notified if I receive a grant?
By early April

8. When can I start my grant?
Awards typically begin between August 1st and October 1st, but may begin as early as July 1st of the competition year, and as late as June 30th of the following year.

9. What does the typical Whitaker grant experience look like? The experiences of grantees can, and will, vary depending on length and design of the project.
Projects can be anything from studying at a university, to conducting research in a lab, to working as an intern at a policy-making organization. Our only requirement is that the activity lead to a substantial enhancement of the recipient’s professional experience in biomedical engineering.

10. Can I do research abroad without a host affiliation?
No. All grantees must have a host country affiliation. Affiliations vary, and can include universities, laboratories, policy-making organizations, and others.

11. Who should I choose to be my host institution?
Any international institution that offers an outstanding professional experience in biomedical engineering can serve as a host institution. It is your responsibility to obtain the host affiliation.

12. Can the Whitaker Program assist me in finding a host country and/or placement institution?
 All applicants need to determine their own host country and host affiliation.  However, we can provide you with contact information of past or current grantee affiliations, and potential affiliations (listed on our website) who have indicated their willingness to host Whitaker grantees. Also, talk to your adviser, dean, other faculty or foreign students at your home or nearby institutions. Search online, as well.

13. I found a host affiliation. Now what?
 The Whitaker Program requires a letter of support from the host affiliation as part of the application process. It should be a substantive letter, delineating what the host expects that you will be doing at their institution, and the level of support that they will provide to help make your experience professionally rewarding and developmental. These must be signed, hard-copy letters on letterhead – no faxes or emails will be accepted.

14. I have graduated. Do I still need the Dean/Chair’s nomination letter?
 Yes, you should get the nomination from the institution where you received your most recent degree.

15. Does the Chair have to be the Chair of BME?
No, the Chair can be your departmental Chair.  Example:  If you are a Mechanical Engineering major, the letter can be from the Chair of Mechanical Engineering.

16. Should I propose a research budget?
No. Research equipment/expenses are not covered. The grants will cover cost-of-living expenses (housing, food, transportation, etc.), costs for international travel, health insurance and tuition (for Fellows)/bench fees (if applicable).

17. How much money can I expect? How are grant amounts determined?
Grant amounts are determined based on cost-of-living in the proposed host country, expected travel expenses, and tuition fees (up to a pre-determined limit).

18. May I take dependents with me on the grant?
 You may take dependents, but the Whitaker Program provides no additional funding for them. In addition, you will need to arrange for health insurance, visas and international travel for your dependents at your own expense.

19. One of my essays runs long in the PDF DRAFT printout. Is this okay?
 No. We allow you to see your entire essay, but you may not submit it this way. All essays must follow page length requirements, so you will need to edit the essay accordingly.

20. When I print the PDF of my (draft or finalized) application, it comes out small. What do I do?
Some versions of Adobe Reader automatically auto-shrink PDF pages to fit within standard borders. To correct this: in the print dialogue box, select "None" in the "Page Scaling" box. The application should print correctly.   Note, this is strictly for your reference as you are not required to submit a hard copy of the application.

21.  Can I apply for a Whtiaker Scholar or Summer grant after a Whitaker Fellowship?

Yes.

Summer Grants - FAQ

Undergraduate Grants - FAQ