Travel Grant


Overview

The Travel Fund Grant 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 academic travel expenses (including lodging) that are not currently funded by the student’s advisor or other MIT-related funding.


Requirements

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 for travel per fiscal year (eg. July 1st 2017 – June 30th 2018 ) with a ceiling of $1000.
  • Travel for summer school or competitions is not supported by the GSC Travel Grant.
  • A recommendation letter is mandatory for the application.  By submitting the Travel Grant application, you are waiving your right to view the recommendation letter.

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:

  • The extent to which the research or conference travel is currently unfunded or unsupported by the applicant’s advisor, department, or the larger Institute.
  • 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.
  • The academic and professional merit of the candidate.

Cycle Deadlines

Travel grant proposals are evaluated in four cycles each year. Please apply to the correct cycle according to the dates of intended travel:

Grant Period Application Deadline Notification Travel Period Covered
Fall August 15 August 31 October 1 – December 31
Winter November 15 November 30 January 1 – March 31
Spring February 15 February 28/29 April 1 – June 30
Summer May 15 May 31 July 1 – September 30

The deadline for the recommendation letter is same as the application deadline.

If the application deadline for your intended travel period has passed, you can still apply but will only be informed of the application outcome at the notification date of the next cycle. If you are applying off-cycle, it is your responsibility to email gsc-travel [at] mit [dot] edu so that your application is moved to the appropriate cycle.


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Common Questions

How are the travel grant applications evaluated?

Proposals are evaluated by several graders, who were themselves previous travel grant recipients, on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Professional Gains: the degree to which the activity will enhance the academic experience of the MIT graduate student and/or expand their networks with other leading scholars and institutions
  • Financial Need: the extent to which the academic travel is currently unfunded by the applicant’s advisor, department, or institute at-wide
  • Merit: the academic or professional merit of the candidate, as indicated by the applicant’s resume and letter of reference

The top-scoring application receives the full amount of requested support and other applications receive a reduced amount of support proportional to the to the difference from the top application’s score. If an application would receive an insubstantial amount of support based on the point difference, then the application does not receive an award.

How will I know when my application is complete?

You will receive a confirmation email informing you when your reference letter writer has submitted their recommendation. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure their recommender submits their letter by the application deadline.

Will I receive the full amount of financial support I requested?

The travel grant award depends on the number and score of each application during each cycle. Many applications receive only partial or no support.

Do submitted travel grant applications receive feedback?

The travel grant receives many more applications than can be awarded, and due to the size and volume of applications, we are unable to comment on individual applications.

My travel dates fall outside of the current application cycle. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can apply for travel that has occurred before the current application cycle. If you are applying off-cycle, it is your responsibility to email gsc-travel [at] mit [dot] edu to ensure that your application is sorted correctly.

How many times can I apply for a travel grant?

Graduate students may apply for a travel grant during multiple application cycles but can only receive one travel grant per fiscal year (July 1st – June 30th).

Can I use a GSC travel grant to present work done with external collaborators?

Yes, MIT graduate students may apply for a travel grant to present work done with external collaborators. Preference is given to work done while the student is enrolled at MIT.

My reference letter writer is not available to write a recommendation until after the application deadline. Can I receive an extension?

If you contact the Travel Grant Chair (gsc-travel [at] mit [dot] edu) in advance, we may be able to provide a grace period of 1-2 days for reference writers to submit their letters.

Does my recommendation letter writer have to be from MIT?

No, the recommendation letter can come from an external collaborator.

What happens if I receive an external travel allowance after I receive the GSC travel grant?

If you receive an external travel allowance after receiving a travel grant, you must inform the Travel Grant Team (gsc-travel [at] mit [dot] edu). If total amount of support does not exceed travel-related costs, you may still use the GSC travel grant.

Can I still apply for a travel grant if my graduation date is before the conference date?

No, you must be a student enrolled at MIT in order to receive reimbursement.

What happens if I am awarded a travel grant?

You will be asked to sign a travel grant acceptance contract, which stipulates that awardees will grade future travel grant applications, report additional sources of funding acquired since the GSC travel grant application was submitted, submit a brief post-travel report, and submit receipts pertaining to academic travel by the reimbursement deadline.

Other questions about the travel grant?

Email the Travel Grant Chair, gsc-travel [at] mit [dot] edu.


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