Travel Grants: Boosting Young Researchers’ Career

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International collaborations can promote creativity, synergy, and new discoveries. But many young researchers struggle when it comes to joining such international collaborations. These collaborations often start from conferences, presentations or publications. However, funds required for travelling become a major issue for students or early career researchers. Young researchers lacking the personal funds to attend conferences or other events may benefit from travel grants. Let us explore the ways in which travel grants could possibly help young researchers launch their own careers.

International Collaborations Benefit Science

Some of the greatest scientific achievements have been made possible through collaboration. The deciphering of the DNA code by Watson, Franklin, and Crick serves as a glaring example. Another notable example is the successful synthesis of Vitamin B12 in the year 1973. It involved a 10-year-long effort spanning two continents and involving 100 students and postdocs. In fact, scientists were presumably collaborating since 1609. Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed the movements of Mars, and based on his data, the German mathematician Johannes Kepler was able to identify the laws of planetary motion.

Young researchers today can receive travel grants to attend conferences, share presentations, or participate in other networking events. Through grants, early career researchers may be able to take advantage of opportunities not available elsewhere. Some countries that receive young researchers sponsored by travel grants include EU nations, the US, Turkey, and South Korea. Organizations sponsoring such travel grants include the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), Berkeley Law School, and UN institutions including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UNESCO, UNITAR, and others.

How Can You Apply for a Travel Grant?

Are you a young or early career researcher looking for a travel grant? The application process may seem daunting, but it is not as complex as you think. Firstly, you should check your eligibility to ensure that you meet the requirements to apply for a travel grant. To apply for a travel grant, you should provide the following information:

  • Nominee’s name, institution, postal address, and email address.
  • Nominator’s name, institution, postal address, and email address.
  • Nominee’s CV or resume
  • Brief statement of support written by the nominator.
  • Brief statement of interest written by the nominee.
  • Proposed travel budget.
  • Paper describing the research to be presented at the meetings

Eligible nominators will vary by institution, and you should always check with the institution where you are applying for a travel grant for their specific criteria. The list above is an example of commonly required application materials. Do not forget to thoroughly review the application requirements before applying for a travel grant.

Review the itinerary of the conference or event that you wish to attend. While applying for a travel grant, make sure to clearly state that and specify how it will help you in your career. Pay careful attention to your budget and simultaneously account for the fact that most travel grants will not cover all of your expenses. Besides the above, make sure you understand the travel grant inclusions (e.g., airfare) and exclusions (e.g., accommodation and miscellaneous expenses).

Travel Grant Opportunities

However, if you aren’t sure where to start looking for travel grants, we have listed a few opportunities below for your reference. These travel grants are general and will help you travel to numerous conferences/events.

Humboldt University in California provides numerous opportunities for young researchers, including the CalSWEC grant for the Department of Social Work’s child welfare program and the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) STEM grant.

Nature Communications journals (biology, physics, and chemistry) offer travel grants in the amount of 2,500 Euros for underfunded young researchers.

Have you ever applied for a travel grant? What opportunities do you know exist for young researchers? Please let us know in the comments section below.


2 Comments
  1. Ayokunle Olumide Odusina says

    This is encouraging.

  2. Ashley says

    This is exactly what I was looking for as I will be moving to Germany for my PhD

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