Postdoctoral researchers

PME Postdoctoral Travel Fund

Application Open – Deadline May 15th, 2024

The PME Postdoctoral Travel Fund sponsored by PME Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is designed to help PME postdocs to attend conferences and workshops for their career advancement and professional development. Funds of up to $500 for attendance at scientific conferences, professional development meetings, and career advancement workshops will be given, and are meant to serve as supplements to costs related to attending scientific or professional development meetings. Funds provided by this travel award can be used towards the payment of registration fees, travel costs, accommodation costs, childcare, etc. Travel is not required to be eligible (funds can be used towards attendance at a local or virtual meeting) and is not required that all funds of the award used. There will be 3 award cycles every year with January 15th, May 15th, and September 15th deadlines.

Funds will be granted on a competitive basis, and decisions will be based on financial need and the importance of the meeting to the postdoc’s professional development.

The next application deadline is May 15th, 2024.


Contact PME Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Director Vipul Sharma if you have any questions regarding the travel award.

Please review eligibility and rules:

  1. Must be a PME Postdoctoral Scholar or Postdoctoral Fellow
  2. Applicants must have exhausted all other avenues available to secure funding for the conference and provide a summary of these efforts.
  3. The conference must be relevant to the applicant’s career goals.
  4. Must provide proof of abstract submission or meeting registration (i.e. must already have active plans to attend the meeting). NOTE: Your abstract DOES NOT need to be accepted prior to applying, only a submitted abstract is needed
  5. For scientific meeting, must also submit scientific abstract
  6. Postdocs may only submit one application per award cycle (i.e. cannot submit applications for two conferences in the same award period)
  7. Postdocs who are not selected are welcome to reapply the next award cycle for the same meeting, with the caveat that funds will not be awarded for meetings that have taken place prior to the application deadline
  8. Must provide a statement (<500 words) of the purpose of attending the meeting and how attending the meeting will advance your career or professional development goals as a postdoc and/or beyond
  9. Must provide a statement of where remaining funds will come from, along with a statement of support (only one sentence needed indicating approval in attending meeting) from your faculty advisor
  10. Funds from the travel awards are not transferable to another conference or lab member
  11. Postdocs are eligible to receive only one scientific meeting travel award and one professional development meeting/workshop travel award every two years during their time at UChicago
  12. Meeting may take place at any time after the application deadline.


Application Process

A completed application consists of the following documents:

  1. Travel Fund Application
  2. Current curriculum vitae including a list of all conferences attended while at PME, participation type at each (i.e., paper, poster, talk) and who funded the conference (i.e., self-funded, fellowship, faculty member/department).
  3. Letter of support from the Faculty Mentor containing the following: a) explanation of why attending conference is essential to the applicant’s career advancement; b) statement that the mentor does not have sufficient funds to support the full cost of attending the conference (this could include a summary of other efforts to secure such funding).
  4. Budget document


Applications should be submitted according to the deadlines indicated below:

Round 1: January 15th

Round 2: May 15th

Round 3: September 15th


Applicants will be notified within a month after each deadline.


Evaluation Process

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Letter of support from Faculty Mentor.
  2. Level of applicant’s involvement in the conference and effort to find other funding
  3. Financial need of applicant: Financial need will be determined by reviewing budget information provided in the application. Priority will be given to applicants who do not have access to funding from their department or faculty mentor.
  4. Preference will be given to those applicants who have not attended a conference in the past 12 months.


Reimbursement Process

Awardees should work with the division finance office or lab administrator to make travel arrangements, book hotel accommodations, and submit registration fees. Awardees should save all original receipts and submit them to finance office or lab administrator. PME Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will provide the finance office/administrator with an account number to reimburse/pay for these expenses.


Before applying, please review this Frequently Asked Question:

Q:  Is the meeting I am planning to attend considered scientific or professional?

A:  Academic meetings fall under the category of scientific meetings. If the main objective of the conference is to discuss and present concepts and results related to your field of science, the meeting is considered to be academic/scientific, although scientific meetings often also have professional development aspects. Professional development meetings are ones in which the main objective of the meeting is not to discuss scientific concepts (NOTE: the ONLY exception to this rule is in the case of a course. If applying to take a course related to developing a new skill, that skill can be scientific or non-scientific, and is eligible for the professional development award). These meetings are meant to develop a professional skill and could include things like leadership conferences, grantsmanship workshops, project management training, teaching courses, a course or workshops related to developing a new skill, or science policy meetings, for example. The National Postdoctoral Association Annual Meetings are good examples of professional development conference.