As of spring 2014, all institutes at the NIH will now support individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.
In response to the 2012 NIH report on the state of graduate education in the U.S., the NIH has signaled that it will take a more active role in education of graduate students, including increasing recommendations around graduate curriculum, career path training and time to degree for students supported on training and on research grants. As a precursor to this role, the NIH has also recognized that more graduate students should be supported on training grants and fellowships vs. on research grants.
If you would like to write an NRSA fellowship, you should begin your application well in advance of the deadlines (April 8, August 8, and December 8). Consider taking the Vollum Writing Course: grantsmanship is extensively covered, and students receive individual help for their applications, especially the research strategy section. The next course starts April 2, and it is offered each term.
You should also be on the lookout for NRSA Application Workshops that specifically cover the training plan and administrative components of these fellowships. These workships are offered 2-3 times per year. The next one will likely be in early June to prepare applicants for the August deadline.