Frontera Computational Science Fellowships

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I’m not a US citizen, can I apply?
Yes; we only require you be enrolled at a US institution and be studying in the US or its territories.

It it important to note two key factors for international students:

  1. Some countries have tax treaty agreements with the U.S. that exempt specific income amounts of U.S.-sourced income and/or scholarship/fellowship payments from taxation. Refer to the appropriate treaty list on Tax Treaties for Visiting Scholars to see if your country has a tax treaty.
  2. This stipend is not considered employment; this is particularly important for students with an F Visa. Though the stipend amount is paid directly to the accepted Fellow, it is processed as a scholarship/fellowship from The University of Texas at Austin. Fellows are considered a participant in an educational opportunity that is solely for their benefit.  As such, the following statements are true:
    1. The recipient is not required to perform a service, including volunteer services, in exchange for these funds.
    2. This is not a reimbursement for official university business, including business travel.
    3. This is not a cash prize, scholarship, nor fellowship given for an employee's job performance or merit.
    4. The recipient is not an employee with 100% appointment.

Q. I’m attending a US school not located in the United States or one of its territories. Can I apply?
No. You must be enrolled at a US institution and be studying in the US or its territories. This requirement is unrelated to your citizenship.

Q. I’m attending a non-US school. Can I apply?
No. You must be enrolled at a US institution and be studying in the US or its territories. This requirement is unrelated to your citizenship.

Q. Are there any requirements beyond being a graduate student, such as year in Ph.D. program?
Yes. You must have completed at least one year of your PhD program. Your research advisor must affirm the approved plan of research at the time of application.

Q. I will be starting my Ph.D. program this year. Should I apply?
No, you are not far enough along in your program yet.

Q. I’ve passed my qualifying exams but do not yet have a research program approved by my committee. Should I apply?
No, you are not far enough along in your program yet.

Q. How many fellowships are being awarded?
We expect to make between one and three awards.

Q. Can MD/Ph.D. students apply?
The limitation on the fellowship relates to the research topic and the use of large-scale scientific computing in completing the research. As long as the program of study in which you are currently enrolled will result in the award of (at least) a PhD you are eligible to apply.

Q. I am in the final year of my Ph.D. program. If I graduate early, will I still be eligible?
The program is a twelve-month program. You may apply if you have at least one year of your program left in June of the year in which the award begins.

Q. How many PDF files do I need to upload?
Please upload one PDF file. A  Research Document file that includes, abstract, project statement, research and optional items. Please name the file in the following format (Last name_First name_RD).

Q. Once the fellowship is awarded what is required of the fellows?
Fellows are expected to spend a week in the summer following their award in residence at TACC in Austin, TX (travel expenses will be paid), working directly with the staff of the Frontera project. Subject to change due to COVID-19. Fellows may be asked to attend occasional (virtual and in person) meetings of the fellowship team or the Frontera project. All travel expenses will be paid outside the fellowship award.

Q. How long is the summer residency at TACC?
Fellows will be in residency for at least 1 week shortly after the start of the Fellowship. Near the end of the Fellowship, we will bring the Fellows back to TACC for another week long residency.

Q. Should I wait to complete my application until the last day?
No. Letters of recommendations are required for your application to be complete. If you wait until the last day, your endorsers will most likely not have sufficient time to submit their letters. Note that exceptions will not be granted.

Q. What guidance should I provide for my references so that they can start planning before I complete my application?
The letters must:

  1. Not exceed two pages per reference
  2. Be signed and on letterhead
  3. Be uploaded as a PDF
  4. Address:
    • Originality of the applicant's proposal
    • Role played in assisting the applicant with the proposed research
    • Assessment of the applicant’s potential to conduct original research, communicate effectively, and work cooperatively with peers and supervisors
    • Assessment of the potential of the applicant’s proposed research to make unique contributions to his/her/their chosen discipline
    • The relationship of the work to the application of parallel systems for high-performance computing, data analysis, and/or visualization, and
    • Broader impacts of supporting the applicant, including his/her/their leadership potential in the chosen field of graduate work and as a member of the scientific and technical community.

If awarded, references will be contacted.

Q.  How will I be notified if I am accepted or rejected?
We will contact you using the email address you provided. Please be sure to provide an email that you will be able to check during the time that decisions will be made. If we do not hear back from you in the allotted time we will give your fellowship to an alternate candidate.

Q. Is there any restriction on what the student has previously studied or on the current course of study?
Not at all.  The requirement is only that your work has a significant computational element that will benefit from access to Frontera.

Q. Can more than one student apply from a single department? A single school?
We don’t place any restrictions on the number of applicants from a single school or department.

Q. Can I use my tuition reimbursement for books/meals/lab fees/other expenses related to my degree?
No. Only tuition expenses will be reimbursed.

Q. Will there be feedback if my application is unsuccessful?
No. Individual feedback will not be given to applicants.

Q. If I am successful and am awarded, can I apply for another one after the first ends?
No. Students will only be awarded one fellowship.

Q. If I am unsuccessful, can I reapply the next year?
Yes, you may, and you may reapply each year of the program provided you have never received a fellowship.

Q. I am a PhD student who meets all other eligibility requirements, but I haven't passed my candidacy/qualifying exam. Can I still apply?
Applicants may submit their applications before candidacy exams, so long as their research topic is fairly well-cemented and backed by a reference writer or committee member. In the case that you are submitting pre-candidacy exams, you'll want to ensure that one of your reference writers can speak to the specific research goal you've established and vouch for its viability.

Q. What if my question isn’t answered here?
If you have a question that is not answered here, please check with your advisor or academic department first as they often have quite a bit of experience with programs such as this one. If you are still in doubt, please email us at