MSU PDA - Travel Award - How to apply

Travel Award

  • Three travel awards of $500 each will be awarded twice a year. 
    • Spring Award for travel taking place between December 1st and May 31st.
    • Fall Award for travel taking place between June 1st and November 30th.
    • Typically, applications are due in October for the Spring Award and April for the Fall Award so that winners are notified in advance of their travel.
  • Awards are granted to offset the costs associated with travel to meetings/scientific conferences, and cannot be used for invited talks at universities or non-conference events.
  • The call for applications for the Spring 2020 Travel Award is now closed.
    • The call for applications for the Fall 2020 Travel Award will open in Spring 2020. 

 Click here to see previous Travel Award winners.


All current postdoctoral research associates and fellows at Michigan State University are eligible to apply except for:

  • Current members of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee
  • Individuals that have already received an MSU-PDA travel award during their time at MSU
  • Individuals attending meetings/scientific conferences held at Michigan State University
  • Individuals who are presenting work from their graduate program or previous position

*Recipients of a Travel Award must agree to serve as reviewers for the next round of Travel Award applications.*

How to apply

All the applications should be prepared using the official form.

Applications should include:

  • Applicant & Conference Details: (i) Contact info for applicant and supervisor, (ii) name of the conference, date(s), and location; (iii) oral/poster communication; (vi) total expenses (include travel fees, registration fees, housing fees and other related conference fees)
  • Abstract*: The abstract should clearly and concisely identify the aim(s), goal(s) and results/conclusions of the work presented. A successful abstract should be written to emphasize the importance of the work to a general audience. 
  • Communication outcomes* (i) Description in general terms of the overall research with which the postdoc is involved, how it is integrated into a main focus area of the lab, what has been previously achieved and how this work is moving the project forward; the impact of the work on the applicant’s field of research and/or the applications outside of the field, if any; The technology behind the work if it is new or unusual in the field; (ii) How the participation in the meeting/workshop will impact the applicant’s research/field and future career.

Once the form is filled:

  • Convert the file to .pdf file format
  • Save with applicants last name as the file name
  • Submit via email to

Application Review

  • Note: the reviewing panel for the Travel Award is composed of fellow MSU postdoctoral scholars from ALL DISCIPLINES. Ensure that the material you submit is comprehensible and accessible to a broad audience. The use of field-specific jargon and abbreviations should be avoided.
  • Applications are rated based on:
    1. Abstract: Concise description & clarity
    2. Communication outcomes: Concise description & clarity
    3. Communication outcomes: How well the application convinces the reviewers about the importance of attending the conference
  • Applications that do not respect the number of pages, do no use the official form, or are received after the deadline will be disregarded.


The recipient of the Travel Award should:

  • Turn in all required documentation (travel vouchers and receipts) for the reimbursement within their department.
  • Send a copy of the conference registration to the MSU-PDA.

The person preparing the reimbursement should:

  • Contact Aida Montalvo ( for the account number for the respective award within 14 days after completion of the meeting/conference
  • In the event this does not happen, the MSU-PDA and MSU graduate school reserve the right to revoke the Travel Award. In such event that the award money is already in the possession of the postdoc, the recipient shall be required to reimburse the full amount of the fellowship to the MSU Graduate School.

If the meeting/conference is postponed, an addendum should be sent to the MSU-PDA ( within a timely manner informing them of the situation. Applicants awarded a fellowship will be able to use the money for postponed meetings when they occur.

If the meeting/conference is cancelled, the Travel Award must be returned to the MSU Graduate School within 30 days of the meeting/conference cancellation notice.