MSA Graduate Fellowship, NAMA Memorial Fellowship, and Backus Award

MSA Graduate Fellowships, NAMA Memorial Fellowship, and Backus Award

Application Deadline: February 1st before midnight, Pacific Time

Two MSA Graduate Fellowships, the NAMA Memorial Fellowship, and the Backus Award are awarded annually to promising graduate students in mycology. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their scholastic merit, research ability, and promise shown as a mycologist. These fellowships are intended as supplementary grants and may be used by the recipients in any way to further their graduate studies. They are awarded in addition to any fellowship or assistantship support from other sources. 

The Graduate Fellowship, NAMA Memorial Fellowship, and Backus Awards are administered by the Student Awards Committee

The NAMA Memorial Scholarship was established to commemorate an amateur or professional mycologist designated annually by the NAMA Board of Trustees. The requirements are the same as those for the MSA Graduate Fellowships, with the additional stipulation that the recipient provides either — or both — an article for McIlvainea and/or presents their work at a NAMA Annual Foray.

To see all awards offered by the Mycological Society of America, see the MSA Awards Chart

Award Requirements

Applicants must be:

  1. Student members of MSA or must have applied for membership at the time of the award application.
  2. PhD candidates
  3. Student resident during the tenure of the fellowship in a university in Canada or the United States. Previous recipients of these fellowships are not eligible to apply. The NAMA Fellowship comes with the stipulation that the awardee prepares an article for McIlvainea.

Documents Required

Application Form, including a statement that you have passed your qualifying exams (comprehensive, oral, preliminary, or their equivalent).

  1. A curriculum vitae that includes at least (maximum 3 pages):
    • Name, contact address, email address, and phone number
    • Previous awards and honors
    • Publications and other significant professional output
    • Service if available
  2. A detailed plan of study. The text of this plan of study must be no longer than 5 pages; including tables, figures, and references. Applications that include proposals exceeding the 5-page limit will not be considered. The text of this proposal should be single-spaced and printed in a regular sized font (10 cpi or 12 point) with one-inch margins on all sides. Section headings and double spacing between paragraphs may be used to make your proposal easier to read. The proposal must include: 
    • Abstract (200-250 words)
    • Introduction: explains what you want to do and why it is interesting or important. 
    • Objectives
    • Methods:  demonstrates that the project is feasible and describes how the study will be conducted
    • Significance and preliminary results, if available (be concise in your explanation)
    • Budget and budget justification. Include in this section a timeline to complete the proposal (generally one year) and a plan for dissemination of results
    • Results
  3. One letter of recommendation from your supervisor or thesis advisor. We recommend that your supervisor’s letter also addresses your eligibility based on candidacy. The reference letter should be sent directly by the individual writing the letter, not the applicant. 

To Apply

    Complete the application, being sure to include all items listed above. The application file should be organized in the same order as described in the “Documents Required” and should not exceed more than 8 MB. The file name should be as follows: the last name of the applicant_“award name”_Application (e.g. Smith_Graduate Fellowship_Application)

    Confidential letters of reference should be sent separately to: The letter of reference file name should be as follows: the last name of applicant_”award name”_referee_letter (e.g. Smith_Graduate Fellowship_Jackson_Letter). The application will be considered to have arrived once all electronic files have been received by the deadline. All documents must be in English to be considered.

    Note: Applicants can expect a notification from the Awards Committee regarding the outcome of their application within approximately 45 days of the application deadline, in time to register for the annual MSA meeting. We expect all award winners to make every effort to attend the annual meeting and encourage all applicants to concurrently apply for an MSA Travel Award in support of that. Presence at the MSA meeting to accept the award gives awardees the opportunity to meet the mycological community, and it gives MSA members an opportunity to meet the awardees.

    Award Terms

    Indirect cost is not allowed on MSA awards.

    1. All awardees must provide a short biography (100-200 words) and a photo (if possible) within two weeks of notification, using the Awardee Document Submission Form. These will be requested at the appropriate time. Photos and biographies will be published in Inoculum.
    2. The award payment must be deposited or cashed within 5 months.
    3. Each award recipient is required to complete a W-9 form prior to receiving their award funds. Awardees will be contacted by the management company regarding this process. (This only applies if you have a U.S. Social Security Number).
    4. Keep copies of your W-9 and all receipts and expenses that are part of this award. These documents are important and may be necessary for tax purposes.
    5. Each awardee will contribute a short article about their research to MSA within a year of receiving the award. Articles should be written for a general audience and may be published in Inoculum or other MSA venues (e.g. MSA website). This will be a great opportunity to promote your research to the MSA community. Articles will be requested by the Awards Coordinator at the appropriate time.
    6. A detailed final report from the recipient is due to the Awards Coordinator within two years of receiving the award. A request will be sent to the awardee at the appropriate time.
    7. Please acknowledge MSA in any products that result from this support (e.g., poster presentations, oral presentations, and scientific articles).

    Diversity Statement

    The MSA encourages and welcomes nominations of all individuals regardless of race and ethnicity, country of origin, sex, gender identity, religion, age, education level, socioeconomic status, marital status, parental status, physical ability, neurological differences, political affiliation, and sexual orientation. See the full MSA Diversity Statement