Student Research Grants Competition Information

Have you been invited to present your research at a conference or do you need additional funds to support upcoming research travel in preparation for your dissertation, final exhibition, or thesis? If so, you should consider applying for a Student Research Grants Competition (SRGC) Award. Award levels are $1,500 for Research Travel and $600 for Conference Presentation funds.

Funding for these awards generously comes from the Vilas Trust.

2021-22 Competition Information

Important COVID-19 update

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all university-sponsored international travel requires approval from your college dean and/or Vice Chancellor. If your research travel requires approval, you will need to upload a completed Essential Travel Exemption Form as part of your application.

All domestic travel should follow current campus health protocols as well as CDC Domestic Travel Guidance. It is recommended that individuals delay university-sponsored domestic travel until fully vaccinated. In addition, face coverings should be worn when driving or riding with others and vehicle occupancy is recommended to be no more than 50 percent of capacity.

Research Travel Award

The SRGC Research Travel Award supports travel expenses to research related to your thesis or final exhibition. Research travel awards cannot be used for travel that primarily involves attending a conference, workshop, or training experience that does not involve conducting research needed for your dissertation, thesis, or final exhibition. Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis throughout the year. Not all eligible applications will be funded and awards may be decided through a lottery system.

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Application Information and Timeline

Awards for domestic and international research travel are available to UW–Madison graduate students traveling to conduct research supporting their dissertation, thesis, or final exhibition. Research travel award applications are reviewed on a regular basis during the academic year. Priority will be given to students in the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences.

Research Travel Award Eligibility

  • Student must be enrolled at UW–Madison as a full-time graduate student. Priority will be given to dissertators and MFA students in their final year.
  • Student must be traveling to conduct research supporting a dissertation, thesis, or final exhibition.
  • Travel must start between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. You may apply after you complete your research travel as long as the travel occurred between the dates listed above.
  • Due to COVID-19, applicants seeking to conduct international travel must obtain approval for their travel via a completed Essential Travel Exemption Form.

How To Apply

Complete the online application on the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH) website, including:

  1. Information regarding research location, dates, and student status.
  2. A synopsis of your research plan.
  3. An estimated itemized budget that includes all funding sources. Applicants are expected to research rates and be good stewards of university resources when making purchasing decisions. Applications that appear to have inflated costs or been irresponsible with university funds will not be considered. Students should pursue funding from other sources before applying for a Research Travel Award and may be rejected if they do not have any other funding for their research travel.
  4. Your advisor’s contact information. Your advisor will be sent an email with a link where they will be asked to verify your research travel plans.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis.

Research Travel Award Payments

  • Payments to domestic students and international students considered resident aliens for tax purposes must be paid through the Bursar’s Office.
  • International students with non-resident alien status for tax purposes must be paid through payroll. If you are selected as a Research Travel Award recipient, you may need to submit additional documentation before you can receive the funding. The process you will need to follow will be based on whether you have already held an appointment at UW–Madison.
    • If you have already held an appointment, the Glacier system through the UW–Madison HR Office will follow up with you to determine if you need to submit additional documentation.
    • If you have not held any appointment, the Graduate School Payroll Coordinator will send you a letter requesting a W-4 form and a direct deposit form before your information is forwarded to the UW–Madison HR Office.

Conference Presentation Award

The SRGC Conference Presentation Award supports travel expenses to present your research at a conference. Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis throughout the year. Not all eligible applications will be funded and awards may be decided through a lottery system.

Do you need financial support to present your research at a conference? If so, apply for the SRGC Conference Presentation Award to be considered for a $600 award. Student must be enrolled at UW–Madison as a full-time graduate student and eligible to receive funding in order to receive a Conference Presentation Award. Priority will be given to dissertators and final year MFA students in the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Application Information and Timeline

Awards for domestic and international conference travel are available to UW–Madison graduate students presenting their research at a conference between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Presentations at virtual conferences are not currently being considered for Conference Presentation Awards.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Conference Presentation Award, the following criteria must apply:

  • Student must be enrolled at UW–Madison as a full-time graduate student and eligible to receiving funding. Priority will be given to dissertators and final-year MFA students in the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Student must be presenting research (e.g., paper, poster, panel) at a conference. The research being presented must have taken place as part of your UW–Madison graduate school experience.
  • Conference start date must fall within the current fiscal year (between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022).

How To Apply

Complete the online application on the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH), including:

  1. Information about the conference.
  2. Proof of acceptance to present at the conference (e.g., email, letter of paper/poster acceptance, or conference program cover and page where you are listed as a panelist/presenter).
  3. An abstract of paper or poster to be presented.
  4. A summary of your travel plans.
  5. An estimated itemized budget that includes all outside funding sources. Applicants are expected to research rates and be good stewards of university resources when making purchasing decisions. Applications that appear to have inflated costs or been irresponsible with university resources will not be considered. In addition to your advisor and academic program, you should investigate whether the organization hosting the conference has funding available to support graduate student presenters.
  6. Your advisor’s contact information. Your advisor will be sent an email with a link where they will be asked to verify that you will be presenting at the conference.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis.

Conference Presentation Award Payments

  • Payments to domestic students and international students considered resident aliens for tax purposes must be paid through the Bursar’s Office.
  • International students with non-resident alien status for tax purposes must be paid through payroll. If you are selected as a Conference Presentation Award recipient, you may need to submit additional documentation before you can receive the funding. The process you will need to follow will be based on whether you have already held an appointment at UW–Madison.
    • If you have already held an appointment, the Glacier system through the UW–Madison HR Office will follow up with you to determine if you need to submit additional documentation.
    • If you have not held any appointment, the Graduate School Payroll Coordinator will send you a letter requesting a W-4 form and a direct deposit form before your information is forwarded to the UW–Madison HR Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

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When should I apply?

As soon as you are able, whether before or after you travel. Applications for the Student Research Grants Competition funds are reviewed monthly.

Will I receive funding to cover all my expenses?

Research Travel Awards are set at $1,500 and Conference Presentation Awards are set at $600. Any expenditures above the award level will not be covered. Students should pursue funding from other sources before applying for a Student Research Travel Grant and may be rejected if they do not have any other funding.

Does the UW–Madison travel policy apply to SRGC award recipients?

May I apply for both Research Travel and Conference Presentation Awards?

Applicants can submit applications for both the Research Travel Awards and Conference Presentation Funds, however, each eligible student can only accept one SRGC award each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).

May I apply for a Conference Presentation Award even though I don’t know if my proposal will be accepted to the conference?

No. Confirmation of conference acceptance is required at the time of application. You are encouraged to start your application as soon as you are able once you receive your acceptance.

What if the conference I will be presenting at is in a virtual format this year?

Presentations at virtual conferences are not currently being considered for Conference Presentation Awards.

Will I receive my award if I don’t have my receipts?

Students are not required to submit receipts to receive their award. However, please keep your itemized receipts and records of your travel expenses, as the Graduate School may audit awardees.

May I apply for transportation expenses if I am driving?

Yes. You may use the award to pay for mileage and parking expenses incurred during travel if you are driving a privately owned vehicle. You will need to include documentation indicating mileage as part of your application. The use of a rental vehicle is acceptable when it is the most cost-effective means of transportation available. Please visit the Division of Business Services website for more information on using a vehicle during travel to help choose the best vehicle option.

What documents do I need to submit after conducting my travel?

We require students to submit two post-travel documents.

  1. An updated budget including the expenses you incurred during your travels.
  2. A post-travel report.

Failure to provide these documents will affect your eligibility for future student travel competitions administered by the Graduate School.

What happens after I submit my application?

Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis throughout the year. Not all eligible applications will be funded and awards may be decided through a lottery system. If you are eligible and not funded in the month you applied, you may still be considered for funding in future months. Please email srgc@grad.wisc.edu if your travel plans change. Once notified of an award decision, you should follow the instructions in the award letter to officially accept the award.

May I still receive the award if my travel plans change?

This depends on the nature of the changes. Minor changes on travel dates and/or length of stay are normally acceptable. However, the award may not be used for traveling to research sites or conferences other than what was proposed in the application and approved unless an arrangement is made with the Graduate School. If there is a significant discrepancy between the estimated budget and the final budget, you must provide a statement or explanation with your finalized budget.

How long will it take for me to receive my funds?

Domestic students and international students with resident alien status for tax purposes will receive payment two to six weeks after accepting the award. International students with non-resident alien status for tax purposes will receive payment within three to eight weeks.

Note: Due to legal requirements, international students considered to be non-resident aliens for tax purposes may have taxes taken out of their award (see “Am I required to pay tax on the award?” below).

Is there a funding string associated with the award?

Awards are classified as “scholarships” and not “reimbursements.” As such there is no funding string associated with the award.

Can the Graduate School issue the check to my program instead of me?

No. Awards will only be issued in your name. You are responsible for making arrangements with your program staff or any other parties if they make travel arrangements on your behalf.

Am I required to pay tax on the award?

Domestic students and international students with resident alien status for tax purposes will receive the full amount of the award and are advised to consult with a tax expert for tax-related questions. International students with non-resident alien status for tax purposes may have tax deducted from their award, depending on the treaty between the U.S. and their home country. UW–Madison’s Accounting Services has additional information on federal and state tax reporting and payments to individuals (especially see “Scholarships and Fellowships” under “Federal and State Withholding on Payments to Individuals”).

May I still receive the award if I graduate before I receive my funds?

You can still receive the award if you applied and the travel took place during the time when you were still enrolled at UW–Madison. However, if you graduate before receiving your funding, you will need to ensure your mailing address is up to date in your Student Center as funds may be sent by check. Note that students also may only receive awards during terms in which they are enrolled.

Who may I contact if I have more questions?

If you have questions after reading this webpage, please contact srgc@grad.wisc.edu.