Conference Travel and Research Grants

The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Travel and Research Grants fund doctoral and, in some cases, master’s students within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GRS) who plan to present their research at conferences outside of Boston or to conduct research related to their dissertation.

Purpose and Aim:
Our goal is to support the exceptional and significant work of Boston University’s graduate students, in the hopes that their conference and research travel will aid them in their professional development and dissertation and/or thesis progress, as well as provide valuable insights for the world at large. We also aim to provide graduate students with an opportunity to hone their research statements, so we therefore overlap our application requirements with a myriad of other grant giving organizations and foundations so that students come out of this experience with a building block of well-written responses to common grant application questions that they may use in the future.

Please read all of the instructions before applying. A link to the application portal is below.


Eligibility Criteria

There are two GSO grant categories, each with the same award amount limits: the conference travel grant and the research grant. Please note the following eligibility criteria for the grant you wish to apply for:

Eligibility for Conference Travel Grants

You may apply for a conference travel grant if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a doctoral student or a student in the Master’s in Fine Arts program within BU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. (Please note: MA students are not eligible for a GSO grant.)
  • Your department is in good standing with GSO, meaning that you have a department representative who has attended 3 or more GSO general body meetings during the semester. (Please see below for more information.)
  • You have been accepted or have applied to speak or present a poster at an academic conference that takes place after the application deadline and within 1 year following. 
  • Said academic conference takes place outside of the Boston area or outside the area of your primary residence.
  • You have not been the recipient of a GSO travel or research grant in the past 12 months.
  • August 2024 cycle: Due to the large number of applications in recent cycles, we will NOT be awarding conference travel grants to previous recipients.

Eligibility for Research Grants

You may apply for a research grant if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a doctoral student or a student in the Master’s in Fine Arts program within BU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. (Please note: MA students are not eligible for a GSO grant.)
  • Your department is in good standing with GSO, meaning that you have a department representative who has attended 3 or more GSO general body meetings during the semester. (Please see below for more information.)
  • Your dissertation research requires one or all of the following: 
    • travel out of Boston or your primary residence
    • purchasing of specific tools, items, or technologies
    • use of a paid archive or research facility
    • attending a paid workshop or training
  • Your dissertation research will take place within the 12 months following the next application deadline. 
  • You have not been the recipient of a GSO travel or research grant in the past 12 months.
  • August 2024 cycle: Due to the large number of applications in recent cycles, we will NOT be awarding research grants to previous recipients.

GRS Departmental Standing with GSO

Only graduate students in GRS departments may apply for a GSO grant. If you are unsure if your department is within GRS, please see this website: https://www.bu.edu/academics/grs/departments/

In order to apply for a GSO grant, your department must be in good standing with GSO. If you would like to confirm your department’s standing with GSO, please email gso@bu.edu.


Award Money

GSO Travel and Research Grants have a maximum award amount of $1,000. You may apply for any amount at the maximum level or below.

The Grant Review Committee may fully award, partially award, or reject your application. Fully awarded applications receive the maximum amount of $1,000; partially awarded applications may receive anywhere between $500 – $999.


Application Deadlines

Applications are usually in August, December, and April of each year. You may apply for conference travel or research project start dates that occur in the 12 months following the application deadline:

  • August 1st, 2024 deadline: for conference travel or research projects that occur from August 1st, 2024 – August 1st, 2025
  • December 1st, 2024 deadline: for conference travel or research projects that occur from December 1st, 2024 – December 1st 2025
  • April 1st, 2025 deadline: for conference travel or research projects that occur from April 1st, 2025 – April 1st, 2026

Because you can reapply immediately if you do not receive a grant, it is recommended you apply as early as possible. 

The application portal opens up 6 weeks ahead of the deadline, although you can find the application questions below and can draft your answers ahead of time.


Evaluation Criteria

As an interdisciplinary review committee made up of graduate students, we take a holistic approach to evaluating applications, especially taking into account factors like financial need, impact of your project or research topic, and if the grant award will greatly impact progress towards degree completion and professional development.

It is important to write the grant application targeted towards a non-specialized audience. This means avoiding jargon and field-specific terminology without providing context and definitions, as well as providing clarity regarding the impact of academic conferences or research projects within one’s field (i.e. do not assume we know how big of a deal a conference is for you, but please do explain it to us). For applications that are rejected, it is more often than not because they have not been able to adequately translate their work for a non-specialized audience.

We also take special note of clarity of budget, and impact of the award amount requested towards reaching the goal of the graduate student. We are more likely to fund a travel request or a research project if it is made clear in the application that the amount requested will fill a gap within funding, provide funding where there previously was none, or may be the only source of funding in order for travel or research to take place. Please be honest with alternative funding sources – we mark down applications who do not do their due diligence to note alternative funding sources or fail to apply to as many sources as possible.

Applications that are rejected are more than encouraged to edit their applications in order to reapply in the next cycle. You may request that we provide our feedback from the review process to you to incorporate them into your edits.


Application and Award Procedures

Please follow all of the instructions in submitting your application. Use all of the available word count provided to describe your work. If you have questions as you are crafting your application, please contact gsogrant@bu.edu.

The Conference Travel Grant application asks for the following information:

  • Demographic information
  • Information about previous GSO grants you have applied for or been awarded
  • Information about the conference at which you plan to present
  • Alternative funding sources for your conference travel, including amounts (i.e. department conference budgets, PI funding, grants provided by the conference, or alternative grants); please include funding sources you have applied for and may not yet have received or been rejected by
  • Detailed budget for your conference travel, including: conference registration, transportation, room and board, local travel, and additional costs. Additionally, you will be asked to provide a short answer justifying your budget, which gives you the ability to expand on which line items you plan to prioritize and provide information on additional funding sources.
  • 3 short essay questions regarding situating the importance of your research and why presenting at this conference is necessary for your professional development. The questions are as follows:
    • Essay Q1: Please provide a brief description of your research and its significance both within your scholarly field of study as well as its implications for the world at large. Highlight any interventions, disruptions, or advancements you are making within the current scholarship in your field, and explain in plain terms any broad changes occurring in your field with which you are in conversation.Especially for this question, please tailor this for a non-specialist audience. (300 words maximum)
    • Essay Q2: Please first explain your current academic situation, including descriptions of any stages in your path towards degree completion that may be particular to your field (eg. qualifying exams, lab work, on-site fieldwork, dissertation writing, job market, etc.). Again, please tailor this question for a non-specialist audience.Secondly, clarify the need to attend this conference at this specific point in your academic situation. For example, you can describe how attending this conference at this time will ensure you can keep your projected time to degree. You can also indicate any other situations that are impacting or have impacted your academic situation. (300 words maximum)
    • Essay Q3: How will this travel grant help you attain your current and future research goals? Please provide specific examples of how presenting at this conference will help you in achieving your current project (as outlined in Essay Q1) as well as your future career goals, be they within academia, industry, nonprofit/non-governmental organizations, or other. You may choose to highlight examples of specific panels you plan to attend, individuals you plan to speak or network with, or collaborations that are planned as a result of this conference. (400 words maximum)

The Research Grant application asks for the following information:

  • Demographic Information
  • Information about previous GSO grants you have applied for or been awarded
  • Research project title, research site(s), and dates
  • Alternative funding sources for your dissertation research, including amounts (i.e. departmental funding, PI funding, GRAF funding, major and minor external grants, or alternative grants); please include funding you may have applied for and not yet received or been rejected by
  • Detailed budget for your research project, including: travel, materials, software, archive access, accommodations, workshop fees, transcription fees, or other costs as apply. Additionally, you will be asked to provide a short answer justifying your budget, which gives you the ability to expand on why certain line items will help you to further reach your research goals.
  • 3 short essay questions regarding situating the importance of your research progress, your path towards degree completion, and the impact of this grant on your work. The questions are as follows:
    • Essay Q1: Please provide a brief description of your research and its significance both within your scholarly field of study as well as its implications for the world at large. Highlight any interventions, disruptions, or advancements you are making within the current scholarship in your field, and explain in plain terms any broad changes occurring in your field with which you are in conversation.Especially for this question, please tailor this for a non-specialist audience. (300 words maximum)
    • Essay Q2: Please first explain your current academic situation, including descriptions of any stages in your path towards degree completion that may be particular to your field (eg. qualifying exams, lab work, on-site fieldwork, dissertation writing, job market, etc.). Again, please tailor this question for a non-specialist audience.Secondly, clarify the need for your research project at this specific point in your academic situation. For example, you can describe how this research will ensure you can keep your projected time to degree. You can also indicate any other situations that are impacting or have impacted your academic situation. (300 words maximum)
    • Essay Q3: How will this grant and research opportunity help you attain your current and future research goals? Please provide specific examples of how this research project will help you in achieving your current project (as outlined in Essay Q1) as well as your future career goals, be they within academia, industry, nonprofit/non-governmental organizations, or other. You may choose to highlight examples of specific skills to be gained, workshops you plan to attend, opportunities to gather and/or analyze data, or trainings related to your career goals, among others. (400 words maximum)

Applications are reviewed by the committee over a span of 4-5 weeks following the application deadline. Decisions are provided via email approximately 4-6 weeks after the deadline.

All awards are provided as reimbursements from GRS. If you have been awarded a grant, you are given 12 months to provide receipts in order to file your reimbursement request with the GSO Grant Chair and the GSO Treasurer. Instructions on how to submit your reimbursement request are provided in your award letter. Reimbursements take approximately 1 month to be sent to you, so it is recommended that you submit them as soon as possible.


Application Portal

Apply now for a GSO conference travel or research grant.

Click here to open the application portal for a GSO Conference Travel Grant.

Click here to open the application portal for a GSO Research Grant.


Frequently Asked Questions

An updated FAQ section is currently in progress. In the meantime, you can find previous answers to FAQs here: https://www.bu.edu/gso/travelgrants/gso-travel-grant-faq/.


About Us

The GSO Travel and Research Grant Review Committee is made up of your peers – fellow graduate students. We invite PhD students and candidates from across all GRS departments to join the review committee. If you are interested in joining, please email the GSO Grant Chair at GSOgrant@bu.edu. Review committee members are still eligible to apply for GSO grants, although they may not score their own applications (for obvious reasons).

The GSO grant committee is as follows:
(Updated June 2024)

Jessica Martin – Grant Review Committee Chair, 2024-2025 (non-scoring member)
3rd Year Ph.D. Student, Biological Anthropology

Ariel Blakely – Grant Review Committee Member, 2024-2025
6th Year Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology

Florian Bodamer – Grant Review Committee Member, 2024-2025
7th Year Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science

Sasha Gilmore – Grant Review Committee Member, 2024-2025
4th Year Ph.D. Candidate, Earth & Environment

Ryan Pham – Grant Review Committee Member, 2024-2025
3rd Year Ph.D. Student, Chemistry

Corinne Vietorisz – Grant Review Committee Member, 2024-2025
4th Year Ph.D. Candidate, Biology