Ryan Fellowships

Application Instructions


Current students should check with the department for their internal deadline.  The deadline for departments to submit current student nominees' applications to the Graduate School is May 16, 2014.

The Ryan Fellowship, made possible by a generous donation from Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan, supports graduate students dedicated to the exploration of fundamental nanoscale science and to advancing this knowledge into practical applications of benefit to society. 

The fellowship, created in 2007, is to support the finest graduate students in the country and to provide them with the education and experience to assume leadership roles in the realm of nanotechnology. 

Ryan Fellows will participate in a variety of activities, including retreats, lectures and symposia, and other opportunities to engage in collaborative discussion and research with domestic and international partners. 

Applications are by departmental/program nomination only. Current PhD students in their second (or third*) year who have shown exceptional scientific talent and who have committed to a specific research project in the area of nanoscience and technology may be nominated by their program.  (*Typically students in their 2nd year are preferred but the committee will consider 3rd year students who are outstanding.)

The inherent interdisciplinarity of nanotechnology makes the Ryan Fellowship applicable to gifted students in a broad spectrum of scientific and engineering disciplines, including:

  • Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences
  • Feinberg School of Medicine
  • The Graduate School’s Interdisciplinary Programs including Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences (DGP), Interdepartmental Biological Sciences Program (IBiS), and Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (NUIN)
Each department or program may submit up to five nominees.  (Nominating fewer than five candidates will not restrict a department or program's nominee allocation in future years.)


  • The fellowship includes $7,500 as an additional stipend and $2,500 for research expenses each year
  • Current PhD students will receive Ryan Fellowship funding in addition to their current funding for three years or until they graduate, whichever comes first


The materials described below must be collected into a single pdf file and submitted to the online Fellowships Tool by the person designated to be the TGS nominator for the department/program.

Cover sheet that lists the following information:

  • Student Name
  • Student (EMPL) ID number
  • Nominating program/department
  • Degree sought
  • NU Email address
  • Anticipated date of graduation
  • Name of Director of Graduate Study
  • Research topic/title

Description of the proposed research project, not to exceed five pages. The description must be double-spaced.  Endnotes, references, and/or images do not count toward the 5-page limit, but these may not exceed a total of two additional pages.

Sample of previous research or published paper. Dissertation proposals, dissertation chapters, and qualifying exams are not acceptable samples.  There are no maximum or minimum length requirements for research samples.  Excerpts are also acceptable.

Curriculum vitae

Unofficial Northwestern transcript. 

Letter of recommendation from the faculty advisor, not to exceed two single spaced pages.

Electronic submission of an application by the designated department or program person constitutes confirmation that the application has been vetted and endorsed by the chair/DGS of the department.

QUESTIONS can be directed to Kate Veraldi (k-veraldi@northwestern.edu)