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 Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and the Vilas Trust.

Research Travel Award

Do you need financial support for travel related to your research? If so, apply for the SRGC Research Travel Awards for upcoming research travel needs. Research applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis throughout the academic year by a Peer Research 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. Research travel awards cannot be used for attending a conference or workshop.

  • 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.
    All graduate students are eligible to apply for SRGC research award funding; however, priority will be given to dissertators, doctoral students, and final-year MFA students.

    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
  • 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.
    • Students may not receive SRGC award funds more than once in an academic year (while applicants can apply multiple times to either award type, awardees can only receive either a conference or research award, but not both).
  • 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 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
      • the synopsis should be clear, professional, and well-written

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

      Your application will be evaluated by a committee of graduate student readers. Please note that your application may be read by a student 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 food and lodging calculator is availlable 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. Your synopsis must be submitted in the application as a PDF file, with your name as part of the file name (e.g. LastName_FirstName_Abstract.pdf). Once approved, $600 in travel support funds will be authorized, and may be disbursed in advance of travel. All post-travel award documentation will continue to be required.
  • 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 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.
    • 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. However, you are only eligible to receive either the Conference Presentation Funds or the Research Travel Award once per fiscal year. If more than one of your applications are selected to receive the award, you will be asked to accept only one and forfeit the other awards.

    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 new travel guidelines starting July 1, 2015. The major change for most students would be the booking method for air travel. All airline reservations must be made with Fox World Travel or via the Concur self-booking tool. Please visit the Accounting Services website 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 direction) 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?

    Your estimated budget should exceed the requested award amount. The maximum award for domestic research travel is $1,200. There are a limited number of $1,500 awards available 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! The 2018-19 competition is now open. Conference applications are reviewed on a rolling basis within a two month period. Award amounts range between $300-$1,200.

All graduate students are eligible to apply for SRGC conference award funding; however, priority will be given to dissertators, doctoral students, and final-year MFA students.

  • Application Information and Timeline

    Awards for domestic and international conference travel are available to UW–Madison graduate students traveling to present their research at a conference. In general, conference travel award applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

    For the 2018-19 conference travel competition award levels are: $300, $600, and $1200.

    Conference application review timeline:
    Application received between: Applicants will be notified on a rolling basis by:
    July 1-August 31, 2018 September 2018
    September 1-October 31, 2018 November 2018
    November 1-December 31, 2018 January 2019
    January 1-February 28, 2019 March 2019
    March 1-April 30, 2019 May 2019

    While all SRGC applicants can apply for funding multiple times in the academic year, students can only receive SRGC award support once (either Conference or Research) per academic year.

  • Eligibility

    To be eligible for the Conference Travel 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) at a conference (domestically or internationally).
    • Conference start date must fall within the current fiscal year (between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019).  Students intending to travel after July 1, 2019 will not be considered for awards until the 2019-20 competition is announced.
    • Must demonstrate need for at least $300 or more  (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 costs can be included in your budget according to UW–Madison travel policies. 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.
      • Note:  A calculator to help you plan your lodging and food budgets is available on UW TravelWIse.  A print out of this calculation should be submitted as part of your receipts documentation.
      • Students may not receive Student Research Grant funds more than once in an academic year (this includes both Conference Presentation Funds and the Research Travel Awards).
  • 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 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, not simply attending the conference. This document must be submitted in the application as a PDF file, with your name included as part of the file name (ex: LastName_FirstName_Acceptance.pdf).
    2. Abstract of paper or poster to be presented. This document must be submitted in the application as a PDF file, with your name included as part of the file name (ex: LastName_FirstName_Abstract.pdf).
    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 by any of the posted reviewing deadlines. Late and/or incomplete applications and/or applications that do not comply with the above specifications will be immediately rejected.
  • 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. With multiple deadlines throughout the year, 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.

    May I submit more than one application?

    Yes. However, you are only eligible to receive either the Conference Presentation Funds or the Research Travel Award once per fiscal year. If more than one of your applications are selected to receive for the award, you will be asked to accept only one and forfeit the other offers.

    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 an abstract (for Conference Presentations) or a synopsis (for Research Travel)
    • 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). More information on special requirements for international students is available at the Conference Presentation Funds website under Award Recipients.

    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. SRGC award recipients are required to follow the new travel guidelines starting July 1, 2015. The major change for most students would be the booking method for air travel. All airline reservations must be made with Fox World Travel or via the Concur self-booking tool. Please visit the Accounting Services website 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.

    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 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, you will not receive additional funding from the Graduate School beyond the amount you were awarded. The donors of these awards set the maximum award amounts, and this is $1,200 for Conference Presentation Funds during the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

General FAQ

  • When should I apply?

    As soon as you are able before or after you travel. Applications for the Conference Presentation Funds are accepted all year on a rolling basis, and are reviewed every two months at the end of August, October, December, February, April, and June. If you anticipate traveling during the next fiscal year, you may submit your application during the current fiscal year once your conference presentation acceptance has been confirmed. However, applications for travel beginning after July 1, 2019 will not be reviewed until the 2019-20 competition is announced.

  • 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.
    • You have not followed the guidelines for submitting the required materials.
    • You have applied to the wrong competition – e.g., you are traveling to conduct research but you applied to the Conference Presentation Funds or vice versa.
    • You have already received one of these awards during the same fiscal year.
    • You submitted documents in languages other than English without providing a translation.
    • Your proposal was not approved by the reviewing commitee.

    In years when funding is limited, qualifying application will be awarded on a lottery basis, and not all qualifying applications will be funded.

  • What documents do I need to submit in order to receive my award funds?
    • For Conference 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.
    • Research Travel Award recipients have no post-award commitments.
  • 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 other than the one proposed in the application 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 on the cover page of the single PDF when your upload the proof of conference-related expenditures (receipts).

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

    You may expect your payment within six weeks after your documentation is verified. The majority of students will receive paper checks in the mail, and international students with non-resident alien status will receive direct deposits to their bank accounts.

    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 arrangement 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.

  • Is it possible for me to receive the award, but not qualify to receive funding after my travel?

    In some cases, you may be disqualified from receiving funding even after you have been approved to receive this award:

    1. You have not completed documentation required for payment processing before deadline that is stated in your award letter.
    2. You have inflated your finalized budget. In the case of shared lodging or group booking for transportation, for example, you are responsible for providing separate receipts. If separate receipts are not available, you should take into account your share of the cost when filling out the budget form. You are expected to provide explanations on the cover page of the single PDF under these circumstances.
    3. You have not responded to an email from the Graduate School notifying you that the documentation of travel-related expenditures you submitted is incomplete or insufficient before the deadline stated in your award letter.