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 or a final project? If so, you should consider applying for a Student Research Grants Competition (SRGC) Travel Award. Award levels range from $300-$1,500.

Funding for these awards generously comes from the Vilas Trust and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

Research Travel Award

Do you need financial support for travel related to your research? If so, apply for the SRGC Research Travel Awards. Research applications are reviewed on a regular basis throughout the academic year by a review committee. Award amounts range between $300-$1,500. The $1,500 level research travel award is for international research travel only and available on a limited basis; priority will be given to dissertators and final-year MFA students. Research travel awards cannot be used for travel that primarily involves attending a conference or workshop.

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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 project. Research travel award applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis during the academic year.

Research Application review timeline:
Applications received between: Applicants will be notified by:
July 1-October 8, 2018 October 31, 2018
October 9-December 31, 2018 January 31, 2019
January 1-March 31, 2019 April 31, 2019
April 1-May 15, 2019 June 1, 2019

Research Travel Award Eligibility

  • Must be enrolled at UW–Madison as a full-time graduate student in a graduate school program and eligible to receiving funding.
  • Must be traveling to conduct research supporting a dissertation, thesis, or final project. The Research Travel Awards do not support conference travel.
  • Travel must occur and be completed between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. Applications for research travel that has already concluded are eligible, so long as the travel occurred between the dates listed above.
  • During the July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 award period, students may apply multiple times in a year for either the SRGC Research Travel Award, Conference Funds, or both, and the total for all awards may not exceed $1,500. Please email srgc-research@grad.wisc.edu if you will be applying more than once.

How to Apply

Prepare the following documents:

  1. Synopsis: Justify how you will use a Research Travel Award in no more than two pages. Your synopsis should be clear, professional, and well-written, and must include the following information:
    • the importance of this travel to your research and professional advancement
    • the significance of this research to your field of study
    • a clear description of travel plans
    • demonstration of financial need, including documentation of expenditures already incurred, such as transportation, exceeding the amount requested

    There are no formatting guidelines for the synopsis other than the two-page length limit.

    Your application will be evaluated by a review committee. Please note that your application may be read by someone from any discipline; strong applications are able to convey the importance of an applicant’s research and travel plan to a non-expert or person outside your field.

  2. Estimated Budget: Fill out the itemized form in your online application.
    Note: Budgeting and expense reporting for all travel activities must follow the UW–Madison travel policies. A Lodging & Per Diem Calculator is available on UW TravelWIse to help with developing your budget.
  3. Letter of support from your faculty advisor. Reviewers look for the advisor’s enthusiastic recommendation of the student and clear support of the student’s research as a worthwhile contribution to the field of study.
  4. Complete and submit the electronic application by any of the posted reviewing deadlines.

Research Travel Award Recipients

  • This competition follows UW–Madison travel guidelines.  You are strongly encouraged to review the UW–Madison travel policy page and to arrange your airline travel through UW TravelWIse. Please work with your advisor and program staff as appropriate to use this resource. A calculator to help you plan your lodging and food budgets is also available on that site.
  • International Students with non-resident alien status: 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.
    • 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;
    • 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

May I also apply for the Conference Presentation Funds?

Yes, you may submit as many applications as you would like to the SRGC.  During the July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 award cycle, you may receive multiple awards up to a total award of $1,500.

What materials must I provide in order to complete the application?

In the online application, you will be asked to:

  1. Complete an application form
  2. Upload a synopsis
  3. Fill out an estimated budget form
  4. Request a letter of support from your academic advisor

International students with non-resident alien status might be required of additional documentation (depending on their appointment status with the University).

How do I estimate my travel budget?

The itemized budget form in the application helps you estimate expenses. The primary categories are:

  • Transportation
  • Lodging/accommodations
  • Meals

You should complete the form to the best of your ability. To estimate expenses for meals and accommodations, please use the UW TravelWIse Lodging and Per Diem Calculator.

Does the UW–Madison Travel Policy apply to Research Travel Award recipients?

Yes. Award recipients are required to follow the current campus travel guidelines in planning their travel. Please visit UW TravelWIse for more information.

May I apply for the award if I am driving to my research site?

Yes. You may use the award to pay for mileage or gas and parking expenses incurred during travel if you are driving a privately owned vehicle. The use of a rental vehicle is acceptable when it is the most cost-effective means of transportation available. You will need to include some document indicating mileage (e.g. Google Map driving directions) when submitting proof of financial need. Please visit the Accounting Services website for more information.

How do I obtain my advisor’s letter of support?

In your application, you will provide your advisor’s information. Once you complete the application, your advisor will receive an email invitation to follow the link and upload the letter to your application. You are encouraged to follow up with your advisor to confirm that she/he received the message from the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).

What happens after I submit my application?

Should your application be both complete and correctly submitted, you should expect to receive a notification of the award decision by email within a month after the application review deadline. Once notified of an award decision, you should follow the instructions in the award letter.

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

Students are no longer required to submit receipts in order to receive their travel award. However, please keep your receipts and records of your travel expenses, as the Graduate School will do random documentation checks to confirm that the approved travel took place.

Will I receive funding to cover all my travel expenditures?

No, in most cases. SRGC awards are currently only available at the $300, $600, $1,200, or $1,500 levels, and you may request and be considered for the highest award level that is less than your demonstrated unmet need. The maximum award for domestic research travel is $1,200. There are a limited number of $1,500 awards available only for international travel.

Conference Presentation Funds

Do you need financial support to present your research at a conference? If so, apply for the SRGC Conference Presentation Funds. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and award amounts range between $300-$1,200.

All graduate students are eligible to apply for SRGC Conference Presentation Funds, with priority given to dissertators and final-year MFA students.

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Application Information and Timeline

Awards for domestic and international conference travel are available to UW–Madison graduate students traveling primarily for the purpose of presenting their research at a conference. Conference travel award applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Decisions are typically sent within four weeks of receiving all application materials, including advisor approval.

For the 2018-19 Conference Presentation Fund competition, award levels are $300, $600, and $1,200.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Conference Presentation Funs award, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be enrolled at UW–Madison as a full-time graduate student in a graduate school program and eligible to receiving funding.
  • Must be traveling to present research (e.g., paper, poster, panel) at a conference (domestically or internationally).
  • Conference end date must fall within the current fiscal year (between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019).  Students intending to travel after July 1, 2019 may apply for the 2019-2020 competition when the application opens in June.
  • Must demonstrate unmet need of at least $300 (in addition to any outside funding you might be receiving for the same conference presentation event) by filling out an Estimated Budget Form. While filling out the budget form, please keep in mind the UW System travel policies as well as these competition-specific policies:
    • The per diem for food is based on your location and travel dates. Food and maximum hotel costs should be included in your budget using the UW TravelWIse Lodging & Per Diem Calculator. If some or all meals are included in the conference fee, those meals must be deducted from your per diem.
    • If you are sharing a hotel room, only claim the amount that you will be spending on the room, not the entire cost.

How to Apply

Prepare the following documents:

  1. Proof of acceptance to present at the conference (e.g., letter of paper/poster acceptance, conference program cover and page where you are listed as a presenter). Please highlight the portion of the document which lists you as a presenter if it is not immediately apparent. This document must show that you are presenting a paper or poster, moderating a session, or in a leadership role for the hosting organization, not simply attending the conference. This document must be submitted in the application as a PDF file.
  2. Abstract of paper or poster to be presented. This document must be submitted in the application as a PDF file.
  3. An estimated budget form that includes all outside funding sources (if any) and shows that at least $300 of additional funding is needed. Please be accurate in your estimations and keep in mind the UW System travel policies. The budget form you will use is in the online application as well as instructions on the process to get your advisor’s approval.
  4. Complete and submit the electronic application.

Conference Presentation Funds Recipients

  1. This competition follows UW–Madison travel guidelines and policies. You are strongly encouraged to familiarize yourself with UW–Madison travel policies and also arrange your airline travel through the UW System’s managed travel program website. Please work with your advisor and program staff as appropriate to use this resource. A calculator to help you plan your lodging and food budgets is also available on that site.
  2. International Students with non-resident alien status: If you are selected as a Conference Presentation Fund 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:
    • 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
    • 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

May I apply 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. If you need to request pre-approval for the SRGC award due to special policies set by the conference you would like to attend, please contact srgc-conference@grad.wisc.edu.

May I submit more than one application?

Yes, you may submit as many applications as you would like to the SRGC. During the July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 award cycle, you may receive multiple awards up to a total award of $1,500.

What materials must I provide in order to complete the application?

In the online application, you will be asked to:

  • Complete an application form
  • Upload the presentation abstract
  • Fill out an estimated budget form
  • Request approval from your academic advisor

International students with non-resident alien status might be required of additional documentation (depending on their appointment status with the University).

How do I estimate my travel budget?

The itemized budget form in the application helps you estimate expenses. The primary categories are:

  • Conference registration/membership
  • Transportation
  • Lodging/accommodations
  • Meals

You should complete the form to the best of your ability. To estimate expenses for meals and accommodations, please use the UW TravelWIse Lodging and Per Diem Calculator.

Does the UW–Madison Travel Policy apply to SRGC award recipients?

Yes. Award recipients are required to follow the current campus travel guidelines in planning their travel. Please visit UW TravelWIse for more information.

If I need to drive to the conference, what expenses can I include in my budget?

You may include mileage or gas and parking expenses incurred during travel. Mileage is allowable only if you are driving a privately owned vehicle. The cost of a rental vehicle may be included when it is the most cost-effective means of transportation available. The University has two vehicle rental contracts which you are required to use whenever possible. Please visit the Accounting Services website for more information and reserve a rental vehicle through UW TravelWIse.

How do I obtain my advisor’s approval for this application?

In your application, you will provide information of your advisor. Once you complete the application, your advisor will receive an email invitation to follow the link and approve your submission for the Conference Presentation Funds. You are encouraged to follow up with your advisor to confirm that she/he received the message from the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).

What happens after I submit my application?

Should your application be both complete, including advisor approval, and correctly submitted, you should expect to receive a notification of the award decision by email within two weeks of submission. Once notified of an award decision, you should follow the instructions in the award letter.

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

Students are no longer required to submit receipts in order to receive their travel award. However, please keep your receipts and records of your travel expenses, as the Graduate School will do random documentation checks to confirm that the approved travel took place.

Will I receive funding to cover all my travel expenditures?

No, in most cases. SRGC – Conference Funds awards are currently only available at the $300, $600, or $1,200 levels, and you may request and be considered for the highest award level that is less than your demonstrated unmet need.

General FAQ

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When should I apply?

As soon as you are able before or after you travel. Applications for the Conference Presentation Funds are accepted and reviewed all year on a rolling basis. Research Travel Award applications are also accepted year-round and reviewed in batches on a regular cycle, as described in the Research Travel Award Application Information and Timeline section of this webpage. If you anticipate traveling during the next fiscal year, you may submit your application when the fiscal year 2019-2020 application opens in June.

What might cause my application to be rejected?

There are several reasons why your application may be rejected:

  • You are not enrolled in one of the graduate degree programs of the Graduate School, or are not eligible to receiving funding.
  • You have not followed the guidelines for submitting the required materials.
  • You have applied to the wrong competition – e.g., you are traveling primarily to conduct research but you applied to the Conference Presentation Funds or vice versa.
  • You have already received the maximum total award amount of $1,500 in the fiscal year.
  • You submitted documents in languages other than English without providing a translation.
  • Your proposal was not approved by the reviewing committee.

In years when funding is limited, qualifying application will be awarded on a lottery basis, and not all qualifying applications will be funded. Dissertators and final-year MFA students will receive priority over other graduate students if awards are limited.

What documents do I need to submit in order to receive my award funds?

  • For Conference Presentation Funds and Research Travel Award recipients, you will need to submit 1) an updated budget including the expenses you incurred during your travels, and 2) a post-travel report documenting how presenting at the conference assisted your professional development as a student and scholar.

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 a prearrangement is made with the Graduate School. If there is a discrepancy between the estimated budget and the finalized budget because your plans have changed, you must provide a statement or explanation with your finalized budget.

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

You may expect your payment within six weeks after your documentation is verified.

Note: Due to legal requirements, students considered to be non-resident aliens for tax purposes may have taxes taken out of their award. This is not something over which the Graduate School has control (see “Am I required to pay tax on the award?” below).

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 payment arrangements with your program coordinators or any other parties, if you receive additional travel support.

Am I required to pay tax on the award?

This depends on your citizenship status. Most awardees (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. However, if you are an international student with non-resident alien status for tax purposes, tax may be deducted from your award, depending on the treaty between the U.S. and your home country. UW–Madison’s Accounting Services has webpages for additional information on federal and state tax reporting and payments to individuals (especially see section II.b.).

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

Normally, yes. You can still receive the award if the travel takes place during the time when you are still enrolled at UW–Madison. However, if you graduate before receiving your funding, you will need to contact the Graduate School award administrators in order to change your mailing address.