MSA Graduate Fellowships, NAMA Memorial Fellowship, and Backus Award

Two MSA Graduate Fellowships ($2,000 each), the NAMA Memorial Fellowship ($2,000), and the Backus Award ($1,000) 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.

Application deadline: February 15th before midnight Pacific Time.

Award amounts: One award of $1000 and three awards of $2,000 each.

Requirements: Applicants must be

  1. Student members of MSA or must have applied for membership at the time of the award application.
  2. Ph.D. 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 forMcIlvainea.

Documents required:

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

2.   A curriculum vitae that includes at least (maximum 3 pages):

      a.     Name, contact address, email address, and phone number

b.     Education and professional history

c.     Previous awards and honors 

d.     Publications and other significant professional output

e.     Service if available

3. 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:

         a.     Abstract (200-250 words)

b.     Introduction: explains what you want to do and why it is interesting or important

c.     Objectives

d.     Methods: demonstrates that the project is feasible and describes how the study will be conducted

e.     Significance and preliminary results, if available (be concise in your explanation)

f.      Budget and budget justification. Include in this section a timeline to complete the proposal (generally one year) and a plan for dissemination of results

g.     References

4. 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: Send one copy of your complete application, including items 1-3 listed above, in electronic format as a single PDF file to: The application file should be organized in the same order as described in “Documents Required” and should not exceed more than 8 MB. The file name should contain: 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 contain: the last name of the 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 email 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 MSA 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 up 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 picture (if possible) within two weeks of notification. Please send your bio and picture to the MSA Awards Coordinator. The biographies will be published in Inoculum.
    2. The award check must be deposited or cashed within 5 months.
    3. Each award recipient is required to fill out a W-9 form (this form will be provided with the check). This only applies if you have a US Social Security Number. The W-9 form needs to be filled out right after the award ceremony or sent to the MSA membership coordinator at within two weeks of receiving your award.
    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. The articles should be written for a general audience and will 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 and pictures should be sent to the Award Coordinators by email as a word document.
    6. A detailed final report from the recipient is due to the Awards Coordinator, within two years of receiving the award.

    See a list of past MSA awardees

    Download an Application Form