An acronym for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. This is one of the most prestigious funding awards made to graduate scholars. Importantly, the award funds the student and their research plans, not the advisor. The student will still work with an advisor, but the award offers a certain amount of research independence. Scholars may apply for this award twice in their careers–once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate student (check the fellowship website for exact parameters.) Most research programs will encourage eligible (domestic) students to apply and the number of applicants and awardees can be one indicator of program success.