If you are a graduate student who is presenting (podium or poster presentation) at a national or international conference as a first author, we welcome you to apply for a Bioengineering Travel Grant! This new program is sponsored by the Department of Bioengineering and administered by the graduate Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) as a merit-based funding mechanism for graduate student conference travel.

Grant recipients will receive $300 toward their travel. Up to 12 awards will be given throughout the year, and applications are reviewed and selected on a monthly basis by the graduate BMES Board.

You must apply for a travel grant in the first 10 days of the month prior to your conference (with a few exceptions — see timeline below). If you are selected for an award, you will be notified before your conference travel date, and you will need to submit receipts for reimbursement within the first 30 days after your conference.

Eligibility criteria:

Application components:

  1. Brief statement of purpose (less than 1 page)
    • Describe the conference with respect to its size, location, type of attendees, and relevance to your research. It would be helpful to highlight the prestige of attending and/or presenting at this conference.
    • Describe the expected benefits for your graduate and professional careers as a result of presenting at this conference.
    • Describe the expected financial impact of receiving this award. Please also mention all other expected sources and amounts of funding (advisor, other travel grant, etc.)
  2. Confirmation of acceptance of poster/oral presentation at this conference


2023-2024 Application Timeline:

Application Cycle Month(s) of Conference Estimated # of Awardees
Aug. 1-10 August & September 2023 1
Sept. 1-10 October 2023 1
Oct. 1-10 November 2023 1
Nov. 1-10 December 2023 1
Dec. 1-10 January 2024 1
Jan. 1-10 February 2024 1
Feb. 1-10 March 2024 1
March 1-10 April 2024 1
April 1-10 May, June & July 2024 2

Number of awards available each cycle is an estimate. This value will roughly be based on the number of applicants as well as number of conferences taking place in a given month (e.g., BMES, SfN, Gordon), and will typically equate to 1-2 awards available per month. Up to 12 awards will be given throughout the academic year.


Note about EGSO travel grants:

There is will be no separate call for the $200 EGSO travel grant award. Instead, if you are one of the recipients of a BioE travel grant, you will be asked to answer a few questions regarding your conference experience. EGSO Travel Grant recipients will also be honored at the annual EGSO Awards Luncheon.

Q: What if my conference start date is in one month and the end date is in another month (e.g., March 30th-April 3rd)?

A: You should apply in the first 10 days of the month prior to the start date of your conference. In the example listed above, you would apply by February 10th.

Q: What if I haven’t yet received confirmation from the conference organizers that my abstract has been accepted?

A: We encourage you to still apply for the travel grant, but please notify gradbmes@pitt.edu before submitting that you have not received your confirmation. We understand that sometimes abstract confirmations are last minute but do not want to prevent you from applying. You must receive confirmation before the awards are decided. If your abstract is not accepted, you will be ineligible for the travel grant.

Q: I’m confused about this application process; what is the timeline for an example conference that takes place November 11th – 15th?

A: You should apply for the travel grant in the October 1st-10th cycle because it is in the month before your conference begins. You will hear back on whether you received an award by the end of October. If you receive the award, you will go to your conference and submit receipts for reimbursement up to $300. If you wish to be eligible for an additional $200 EGSO-BioE Travel Grant award (announced in late March), you will submit a one-page summary of your conference experience at the time you request reimbursement.

Q: How are applications reviewed and recipients selected?

A: All applications will undergo a primary review by three rotating BMES officers, who will score each application with a standardized rubric. This rubric includes objective criteria such as conference location (national vs. international) and type of presentation (talk vs. poster), as well as subjective criteria such as impact on professional career and expected financial impact. All other BMES officers (with the exception of any who have applied in the current cycle) will serve as secondary reviewers, discussing all applications at the monthly officer meeting and coming to an agreement on the award recipient. Final award decisions will be sent out following a discussion with an impartial faculty member (e.g., the BioE Graduate Coordinator, Raj Gandhi).

Q:I have received an EGSO or BioE Travel Grant in the past. Can I still apply for another award?

A: Individuals are eligible to receive one BioE Travel Grant per academic year (e.g., 2019-2020). If you have received an award in prior years, you are eligible to apply; however, preference will be given to those who have not previously received an award.

Q: What’s the difference between this travel grant program and the EGSO-BioE Travel Grant award?

A: In previous years, the BioE department and EGSO teamed up to award travel grants to 5 students each year. The BioE Travel Grant program is a new program which aims to provide additional opportunities for BioE students to apply for an award in the month prior to their conference travel rather than at designated time periods in the Fall or Spring semester. This program is still integrated with the EGSO-BioE Travel Grant program, as students who receive a BioE travel grant are eligible to apply for an EGSO travel grant (see next question).

Q: How do I apply for an EGSO Travel Grant?

A: To be eligible for an EGSO Travel Grant, you must submit a brief summary of your conference travel at the time of seeking reimbursement. A few nominees will be selected for an EGSO award and will be notified in mid-March. These awardees receive an additional $200 and will be honored at the annual EGSO awards luncheon in April. (Also see “Note about EGSO Travel Grants” above).

Q: What if my question wasn’t answered here?

A: For all questions related to this program, please reach out to us at gradbmes@pitt.edu, and we will follow up with you.