University of Wisconsin–Madison

Student Research Grants Competition Information

The 2018-19 Student Research Grants Competition (SRGC) application for research and conference presentation travel is now open. If you are presenting your research at a conference, or need to travel to conduct research in support of your dissertation, thesis, or final project, consider applying for an SRGC Travel Award. Award levels range from $300-$1,500.

Currently, only dissertators in a graduate program or final-year MFA students are eligible to apply for the SRGC Travel Awards.

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

Important Update (August 15, 2018):

We currently discourage interested applicants from initiating a new application in Scholarships@UW for SRGC conference or research travel awards due to an upcoming system transition. On August 22, the award application will be transferred to a new application platform. If you do not have a completed and approved application in Scholarships@UW, that information will not be transferred over and you will need to start a new application in the new system.

If you have an open application, please complete it by Friday, August 17. If you already have an approved SRGC application in the system, you do not need to take any action; the post-award processing will occur in the new platform.

Research Travel Award

Do you need financial support for travel related to your research? If so, apply for an SRGC Research Travel Award! Research applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis throughout the academic year by a peer research review committee. Award amounts range between $300-$1,200. A limited number of $1,500 level awards are available for international research travel. Research travel awards cannot be used for attending a conference or workshop.

Currently, only dissertators in a graduate program or final-year MFA students are eligible to apply for the SRGC Travel Awards.

  • Application Information and Timeline

    Awards for domestic and international 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-September 30, 2018 October 31, 2018
    October 1-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 dissertator in a graduate program or a final-year MFA student.
    • 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 during between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
    • Students may not receive SRGC award funds more than once in the fiscal 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.

    All recipients must submit proof of financial need totaling at least the awarded amount before checks can be dispersed. This documentation should not be submitted with your application.

  • 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:

    1. transportation
    2. lodging/accommodation

    If the estimate of these primary expenditures (excluding funding from other sources) do not exceed $600 or the amount awarded, meals may be included at per diem rate. Please click here for more information on meal payment.

    You should complete the form to the best of your ability. In cases where there is a significant discrepancy between your final expenses form and the estimated budget forms, you will have the opportunity to include a statement or explanation on the cover page of the single PDF when you submit your receipts.

    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 FluidReview.

    What happens after I submit my application?

    If your application is both complete and correctly submitted, you may expect to receive a notification of the award decision by email within six weeks after each of the posted application reviewing deadlines. Once notified, you should follow the instruction in the award letter and prepare documentation for verification. This documentation must be submitted before the payment may be processed and dispersed. You are expected to submit the this documentation as soon as your expenditure has totaled at least $600 or the amount awarded, or no later than two weeks after your travel is concluded.

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

    You are responsible to keep all receipts until awards are dispersed, particularly those of the primary expenditures (transportation and lodging).  Payment will NOT be dispersed without these receipts. You may receive reimbursement for meals at the per diem rate without receipts ONLY when the primary expenditures incurred (noted above) do not exceed $600 or the amount awarded. Find more information about meal payment here.

    Will I receive funding to cover all my travel expenditures?

    The maximum award for research travel is $600 (unless your award letter indicates otherwise). There are a limited number of $1,500 awards. You will not receive additional reimbursement from the Graduate School beyond this amount.

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.

Currently, only dissertators in a graduate program or final-year MFA students are eligible to apply for the SRGC Travel Awards.

  • Application Information and Timeline

    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
  • Eligibility

    To be eligible for the Conference Travel Award you need to meet the following criteria:

    • Must be enrolled at UW–Madison as a dissertator in a graduate program or a final-year MFA student.
    • 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:
      • We require all award recipients to submit proof of travel before we can process the award check. Recipients must provide receipts for all major travel-related expenses. The receipts must total at least the amount of funding awarded ($300, $600, $1200).
      • 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 the fiscal year, which is from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 (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
    3. All recipients must submit proof of financial need totaling at least the amount of the award ($300, $600) before checks can be dispersed. This documentation should not be submitted with your application.
  • 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/accommodation

    If the estimate of these primary expenditures (excluding funding from other sources) do not exceed $300, meals may be included at per diem rate (this excludes meals that are provided by the conference). Please visit the UW TravelWise webpage for additional information and a meal/hotel cost calculator.

    You should complete the form to the best of your ability. In cases where there is a significant discrepancy between your final expenses form and the estimated budget forms, you will have the opportunity to include a statement or explanation on the cover page of the single PDF when you submit your expenses. However, expenses that are not allowable based on the UW travel policies will not be permitted.

    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 FluidReview.

    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 and prepare documentation for verification. This documentation must be submitted before the award may be processed and dispersed.

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

    You are responsible to keep all receipts until awards are dispersed, particularly those of the primary expenditures (transportation and lodging). Payment will NOT be dispersed without these receipts. You may receive reimbursement for meals at the per diem rate without receipts ONLY when the primary expenditures incurred (noted above) do not exceed your amount awarded. You may calculate your meal per diem using the UW TravelWise webpage.

    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 2015-16 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.
    • Your estimated budget does not demonstrate a need for financial support that exceeds the award amount of $600.
    • 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?

    In order to receive your award, you will need to log into your online application and do the following:

    1. Complete the Finalized Budget Form.
    2. Upload proof of travel-related expenditures (your receipts). These expenditures must total in excess of the amount awarded. Receipts should be scanned and submitted as a single PDF file (e.g., all receipts must be consolidated in the same PDF file).
    3. Upload a 250-word post-travel report (an essay on how this award and your research travel have benefited you professionally).
  • What kinds of proof of expenditure (receipts) are acceptable?

    The only appropriate proof of expenditure is an official/electronic receipt that shows the amount you paid. If necessary, you should request an additional invoice which demonstrates that you paid for a service from the service provider. The following are NOT acceptable:

    • Hotel and travel reservation confirmation emails
    • Illegible scanned images and/or photos of receipts
    • Banking statements (unless a previous arrangement is made with the Graduate School)

    In addition, you are responsible for obtaining a separate receipts if the expenditure is shared (e.g., shared hotel room or an apartment sublease).

  • How can I avoid common mistakes in submitting proof of travel expenditure?

    There are several actions you can take before you leave for your research travel that will facilitate your submission of proof of expenditure upon your return:

    1. Know which receipts you need to collect during your travel.
    2. Check all receipts to make sure that they indicated the name of the service provider, the date of service and amount you paid. If this information is not on the receipt you are given, request a more detailed invoice from the provider.
    3. Obtain a separate receipt if the expenditure is shared by a group. A hotel receipt that indicates occupancy by more than one guest will not be accepted, unless the expense of each guest and payment by each guest is articulated on the official receipt by the service provider.
    4. Indicate the amount this receipt represents in U.S. dollars, if your receipts are denominated in a foreign currency.
    5. Provide a translation for receipts and other documents if they are in languages other than English.
  • May I submit proof of financial need before my travel is concluded?

    Yes. If your application is selected for the award, you may submit receipts as soon as they exceed $600 (or the amount awarded) before or during you travel. However, your documentation won’t be verified until all post-travel tasks are completed (including the completion of the finalized budget and the post-travel essay).

  • 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.