Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study

The Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study support exceptional graduate students who are committed to increasing diversity among scientific leaders, especially those students who will go on to become faculty members at colleges and universities. 

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2018 Gilliam Awardees

The Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study were created in 2004 in honor of the late James H. Gilliam, Jr., a charter Trustee of HHMI and chair of its Audit and Compensation Committee. Mr. Gilliam was a respected business and civic leader who spent his life nurturing excellence and diversity in science and education.

The goal of this graduate fellowship program is to increase the diversity among scientists who are prepared to assume leadership roles in science, particularly as college and university faculty.  The program provides awards to pairs of students and their dissertation advisers who are selected for their scientific leadership and commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the sciences.

small group 2015 Gilliam Fellows

Program Benefits

  • Fellows are supported for up to three years of dissertation research, typically in years three, four, and five of PhD study
  • Compensation for the 2018-19 fellowship year is $50,000. This includes an annual fellow stipend of $33,000, an institution allowance (in lieu of tuition and fees) of $10,000, a fellow educational allowance of $3,000, and a diversity and inclusion allowance of $4,000 for the adviser.
    See the Program Announcement for more information on the four categories and allowable expenses. 

The Gilliam program facilitates an environment that supports growth of the fellows’ research and professional skills, including expanding their professional networks.  Fellows are invited to attend the annual Gilliam meeting and HHMI Investigator Conferences. 

The fellows’ advisers are expected to participate in mentor training workshops (during the spring and autumn after the award is announced).  The year-long workshops include online and in-person components that are designed to optimize their mentoring skills and sharpen their ability to evaluate themselves as mentors to a diverse and inclusive pool of future scholars.

Additional activities are designed to facilitate connections and encourage a sense of community among the different cohorts of awardees.

HHMI’s Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study are open to eligible pairs comprising thesis advisers and PhD students (“adviser-student pairs”). Application for the Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study is by invitation only. 

  • Adviser-student pairs from eligible disciplines must be nominated by the HHMI-designated institutional representative.
  • Prospective fellows must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or undocumented individuals who were granted temporary permission to stay in the U.S., and be from racial, ethnic, or other underrepresented groups in the sciences, or Alumni of the HHMI EXROP and be at the appropriate program stage of their PhD training. 

Notifications will be sent to the designated nominators by HHMI in August, the submission portal opens in early September, and the deadline for nominations for the competition is late October. (See Application tab)

The adviser-student pairs must be studying scientific problems in biomedical and life science disciplines including plant biology, evolutionary biology, biophysics, chemical biology, biomedical engineering, and computational biology.

Students must advance to candidacy by September 1, 2019. 

Students who are enrolled in an MD/PhD or other dual-degree program are not eligible.

Note: Application for the Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study is by invitation only.

HHMI’s Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study are awarded on the basis of

  1. commitment and/or demonstrated ability of the institution and the thesis adviser to develop outstanding scentists especially those from underrepresented groups, and
  2. the candidate’s promise as a scientific investigator, potential for leadership in the scientific community, aspiration for a career in academia, and a commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in science. The complete application package, including the nominator, student, and adviser materials, will be assessed by a panel of scientists and scientist educators selected by HHMI. 

Components of the application


  • Due: October 25, 2018

Thesis Adviser Application

  • Opens: late November

  • Closes: January 18, 2019

Fellow Application

  • Opens: late November

  • Closes: January 18, 2019

For more information about the nomination and application components, please read the Program Announcement