Travel Grant

GSC Travel Fund Grant Program

The Travel Fund Grant was reactivated in 2006. It is designed to support the conference-related travel expenses of MIT graduate students in all Schools throughout the Institute. Specifically, this fund is allocated to conference travel expenses that are not currently funded by the student’s advisor or other MIT-related funding. The fund provides grant money for most conference-related expenses including lodging.


Address questions to Monika Avello at gsc-travel[at]mit[dot]edu.

GSC Travel Grant Criteria

The Travel Grant is provided for domestic or international travel for the following purposes:

  • Travel to an academic or industry-related conference where the grantee will present a poster or paper
  • Travel to an academic or industry-related conference where the grantee will participate or is invited as a panelist or discussant

One grant will be awarded per graduate student per academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) with a ceiling of $1000.

Grant applications must be received (or the GSC must be notified) at least two weeks before the student attends the conference.

If you are a recipient of a Travel Grant, you will be directed to contact the GSC Financial Administrator for reimbursement for your expenses. All expenses are reimbursable, and travel advances will not be granted. Food expenses during the conference period are reimbursable up to $30 per day if meals are not included as part of the conference package. Original receipts and a copy of the conference proceeding must be submitted.

Proposals are reviewed on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. the extent to which the research or conference travel is currently unfunded or unsupported by the applicant’s advisor, department, or the larger Institute;
  2. the degree to which the activity will enhance the academic experience of the MIT graduate student and/or expand his/her networks of linkages with other leading scholars or institutions.
  3. the academic and professional merit of the candidate.

Application Procedures

  1. Please complete the electronic application form.
  2. Ask your referee to submit a letter of recommendation here.

GSC Travel Fund Grant Timeline

The GSC Travel Grant Applications are invited thrice a year: Fall, Spring and Summer.


Period Application Deadline Date of Notification Period Covered
Fall October 01 October 14 September 15 – February 29
Spring February 15 March 7 February 15 – June 15
Summer June 1 June 15 May 15 – October 15

(Periods covered overlap by 1 month. Only 1 submission per conference per student per year permitted during February 15 – March 15, May 15 – June 15, September 15 – October 15)

Statistics from past allocations

Here is a link to summary statistics from past travel grant allocations.


What kind of things are you looking for in my application? We realize that all conferences, disciplines, departments, etc. are not created equal, so there is no one “correct” application. That said, however, applicants who are primary authors giving a talk typically will have a slight (though not definitive) advantage. Other qualifications such as recommendation letters will be taken into account as well. By far the most important criterion is conference impact—so be sure that you and your referee have a good way to verbalize that.

How is my application reviewed? There will be a panel of reviewers. Each reviewer will get to read your application and independently score it from a rubric. The composite score from all reviewers will be ranked, which determines the priority of an applicant’s funding.

How competitive is the process? Our aim is to fund as many applicants as possible. Unfortunately, travel is not the cheapest thing to fund, and given our budget constraints, we typically are able to fund about 40% of all applications.

My application was denied funding. Can you tell me why? As you can see from our judging process described above, there are many factors at play that it is rather unlikely for a single factor to determine to an application’s acceptance or denial. For example, even if a reviewer deems an aspect of your application to be unfavorable, this does not necessarily preclude you from being funded, and vice versa. So we are afraid that we typically do not have an answer.

How do I get reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses? We encourage you to use a paperless system to get reimbursed. See instructions in the next section below.

Acceptance Contract

If you are awarded a GSC Travel Grant, you will be asked to sign a contract where you will:

1. Participate in the GSC travel grant review committee for the following one round.

2. Report to the GSC any additional forms of funding received for the conference.

3. Provide a short summary of conference outcome and experience to the GSC (email to gsc-travel at mit dot edu).

4. Remit all receipts pertaining to conference travel by the reimbursement deadline.

Failure to comply with these items may render you ineligible for reimbursement.

Reimbursement Procedures

Please use MIT’s electronic reimbursement system (Concur) for your out-of-pocket expenses. Once the reimbursement is approved, you will receive funds in direct deposit* (if information is on file at HR/payroll).

*Not sure if you’ve set up direct deposit? See instructions below for checking & entering your information on ATLAS.

Setting up Direct Deposit:

  1. Go to ATLAS (
  2. Click on upper tab “ABOUT ME”
  3. Under “Money Matters”, click on “Direct Deposit Preferences”
  4. If you have direct deposit set up, it should be listed there. If not, follow the instructions on site to complete set-up.

Reimbursement Instructions

Getting to MIT Concur:

  1. Go to ATLAS (
  2. Under “Menu”, click on “Full Catalog”
  3. Click on “Travel Expenses (Concur)” under the “Travel” category

Filing an Expense Report:

  1. Under Expense tab, click “New Expense Report”, & fill out information.
  2. Important! For the Report Name type “Travel Grant”, followed by the semester,  year, & your first and last name. (ex. Travel Grant Summer 2014 Monika Avello)
  3. Type in Cost Object # 1735290.

Confused? If you require detailed instructions on how to use this electronic system, check out the 3 options below:

  • Online instructions provided at
  • Visit a drop-in training session that happens every Wednesday 10-11 a.m. in the Little Cayman Training Room (NE49, floor 3).
  • Contact Imani Ivery (imani[at]mit[dot]edu) for all questions regarding the reimbursement procedure.


You’ve submitted your reimbursement online. Now what?

Submit a hardcopy of your conference report & the original, detailed receipts to Imani Ivery, at 50-220.

Note: For food receipts, alcoholic purchases CANNOT be reimbursed. For airfare receipts, ONLY coach or economy seats are reimbursable (no upgrades, business class, etc).

Want to know the status of your reimbursement? Set up email notifications on ATLAS (A) or check directly (B).

(A) Email Notification Set-up:

  1. Go to ATLAS homepage (
  2. Click on upper tab “ABOUT ME”
  3. Under “My Profile”, click “Settings & Authorizations”
  4. Select your preferences under “Email Notification Settings”

(B)  Directly checking reimbursement status:

  1. Go to ATLAS homepage (
  2. Under Menu, go to “My Reimbursements”, and click “Track My Reimbursements”
  3. Under “Details” tab, click “Comments”. Imani leaves notes here if there are any issues regarding your reimbursement.

(C) Tracking the status of your reimbursements:

  1. Go to ATLAS homepage (
  2. Click on lower tab “FULL CATALOG”
  3. Under My Reimbursements, go to “Track My Reimbursements”. All of the reimbursements that you have submitted for payment will be listed and the status of each reimbursement will be listed also.