Frontera Computational Science Fellowships

Frequently Asked Questions

These answers to frequently asked questions will aid candidates in preparing their applications for the Frontera Computational Science Fellowships.

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.

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 a plan of research on your dissertation topic approved by your PhD committee 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. How should my references send you their letters of recommendation?
Your references should send their letters of recommendation by using the following form. It is your responsibility to ensure that your endorsers complete the form by the deadline.

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. Once the fellowship is awarded what is required of the fellows?
Fellows are expected to spend the first 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. Fellows may be asked to attend occasional (virtual) meetings of the fellowship team or the Frontera project. There may also be a symposium in 2020 at which fellows may present the preliminary results of their research. All travel expenses will be paid outside the fellowship award.

Q. How long is the summer residency at TACC?
We will work with you on when you will begin your residency based on your school’s calendar. We estimate Fellows will be in residency at TACC for 6 – 8 weeks.

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. Can I get a copy of what the references will be asked to provide so that they can start planning before I complete my application?
Each individual providing an endorsement is asked to include:

  • his/her/their department and institution
  • how long they have known the candidate and in what capacity
  • an assessment of the applicant’s potential to conduct original research, communicate effectively, and work cooperatively with peers and supervisors
  • an assessment of the potential of the applicant’s proposed research to make unique contributions to his/her/their chosen discipline and the relationships of that work to the application of parallel systems for high-performance computing, data analysis, and/or visualization
  • the 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.

Note that the more specific a letter the references can provide, the better it is for the candidate. If you are the candidate’s research supervisor, comment on the originality of his or her proposal, and communicate what role you played in assisting the student with the proposal.

Q. Will I be notified when letters of endorsement are submitted by my references?
No, it is your responsibility to coordinate with your references to ensure the proper materials are received by the application deadline. You will be contacted if questions arise, including a lack of references when the application period closes.

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 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. 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