Medical Student Research Conference Support Funding Policy

Program Description

The OSPE Medical Student Research Travel Grant supports travel for medical students currently enrolled in the MD Program to present their research at scientific conferences. Funds are limited and awarded competitively.  This grant is intended to help students present their own original research, and so is generally allocated to only one student per presentation.

Students are eligible for up to $500 from the Office of Student Professional Enrichment (OSPE) to support eligible expenses for one trip per academic year.  The student’s research advisor is strongly encouraged to provide a minimum 100% matching of the OSPE award. 


  • Students must be currently enrolled in the MD Program and in good academic standing.
  • Students must be the presenting author of the scholarly submission accepted for an oral or poster presentation, or the presenting author of an accepted workshop or educational session.
  • Applications and required documents must be received no fewer than two weeks prior to planned travel for the conference. (If conference travel is dependent upon receiving travel funds, please do not incur conference-related expenses until formal award decisions are made.)
  • Students are eligible for funding for one conference per academic year.
  • The accepted scholarly submission must be the student’s original work.
  • The accepted scholarly submission must be related to work the student began while enrolled in the MD Program at GW SMHS.
  • The student must not have received funding through OSPE to present the same project at another conference.
  • Students who have received conference funding support for the proposed conference presentation through outside scholarships, grants, or stipends may not be eligible for the OSPE Medical Student Research Travel Grant.

Application Requirements

  • Completion of the online application.
  • A copy of the accepted scholarly work (abstract, poster, oral presentation, workshop, educational session).
  • A letter of acceptance from conference officials (an email is sufficient).
  • A statement of additional conference funding support received through outside scholarships, grants, or stipends (if applicable).
  • A letter of support from the student’s research primary investigator/mentor to present the work at the proposed conference. As we encourage mentors to provide a minimum of matching funds, their ability to do so, or not, should be stated in the letter. Alternatively, this Medical Student Research Matching Form can be used and uploaded to the application (Please note - matching is encouraged, but not a requirement, for OSPE funding).  
  • If accepted scholarly works was completed in affiliation with SMHS but supervised by non-GW
    faculty/researchers (e.g. Scholarly Concentration summer or senior projects completed off-
    campus), please provide a letter of support from your Scholarly Concentration Director or
    Faculty Specialty Advisor.
  • If the conference travel would interrupt required course or clerkship activities, please provide a letter of approval from the course/clerkship director to be absent from the stated course or clerkship activities. (Course/clerkship directors may require students to complete makeup assignments, or to reschedule missed sessions.)
  • An itemized list of travel expenses.
  • Conference-related expense receipts (limited to transportation, conference fees, food expenses excluding alcoholic beverages). Please see the FAQ section below for a thorough explanation of what constitutes the itemized receipt necessary for reimbursement.
  • Confirmation of commitment to include in the conference presentation an acknowledgment of support from the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Use of GW-approved PowerPoint Slide templates and/or poster templates is strongly encouraged.
  • Upon return from the conference, OSPE kindly requests a copy of the conference program listing the student work, and a photo of the student presentation. This is optional, but highly encouraged, as we want to celebrate your achievement!

Selection Criteria

  • Quality and educational value of the proposed conference.
  • Impact of conference attendance on the student’s educational and career goals.
  • Impact of conference and accepted scholarly work on populations and the healthcare community.
  • Primary investigator/mentor support.
  • Additional funding received for expenses related to the proposed conference.

Apply Now for Conference Fund

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of conferences are eligible for funding?

Any academic conference is eligible; however you must be presenting at the conference. 

Who is eligible for conference funding?

The application can be found under the "Conference Funding" section of the OSPE website. There is an active link on the top left of the webpage. 

What types of costs can be reimbursed? 

We reimburse conference registration, travel (air, train, bus), lodging (hotel), and conference- associated expenses. Unfortunately, we cannot reimburse for food.

When will I hear back about my conference funding request? 

If you submitted your application at least two weeks before the start of your conference, OSPE will respond via email within 5 business days to notify you of the award decision. Remember that applications submitted within two weeks of the conference start date will not be accepted.

If accepted, when can I expect to receive the funds? 

Once you have been awarded and your allocation amount determined, OSPE will send you a Travel Award Acknowledgement Form which will walk you through the steps of getting set-up with direct deposit and ask for your receipts (see above question regarding which costs can be reimbursed).  Once all receipts have been provided for the allocated amount, OSPE will issue a stipend.

Who do I contact to book my travel, pay for my conference registration, etc..? 

Conference funding is done on a reimbursement basis only. OSPE does not organize or pay any of your travel upfront. You must submit your receipts in the Travel Award Acknowledgement Form. 

What information must be included on my receipts in order to receive a reimbursement?

All expenses in excess of $75.00 per transaction must be itemized and substantiated, preferably by a dated receipt showing date of purchase, vendor name, itemized list and unit price of the purchased items, and total amount. Supporting documentation such as receipts must be uploaded and attached to the application. Each receipt must be fully displayed. Cropped receipts, only submitting page one of a multiple page receipt or illegible receipts are not acceptable. The original supporting documentation should be retained by the student until the expense report is fully processed and/or paid in the event a question arises or the image attached to the transaction is illegible.

Once I have been awarded and completed the necessary steps (uploading receipts and completing direct deposit information on the Travel Award Acknowledgement Form), when can I expect to receive the funds in my account? 

After the successful completion of the Travel Award Acknowledgement Form. OSPE will issue your stipend within five business days. The amount of time that it takes for the moeny to be processed varies by bank, however it is typically around 3-4 weeks.

It has been over 4 weeks since OSPE told me that my stipend was issued and I still have not seen the money. What should I do? 

Please contact From there, OSPE will create a support ticket with the Division of Information Technology for further research. 

How much funding can I expect to receive? 

Students are eligible for up to $500 from OSPE to support eligible expenses for one trip per academic year. The student's research advisor is strongly encouraged to match the OSPE award up to a maximum of $500.

Am I still eligible for the OSPE funds if my mentor is unable to contribute? 

Yes, if a student is unable to obtain matching funds from the mentor, the mentor should state this in the letter of support. In this case, the student still qualifies to receive up to $500 from OSPE. 

I forgot to turn in my request form prior to the conference. Can I still apply for funding? 

You must be approved prior to the conference in order to receive funding. We cannot review requests after the conference has occurred and, unfortunately, we cannot make exceptions. 

How should I apply if I am attending a conference with a group of students? 

Since the grant is meant to help students present their own original research, it is generally allocated to only one student per presentation. 

How often can I receive funding? 

Students are eligible to receive funding for once conference per academic year.

The Medical Student Research Conference Support is helpful, but it doesn't cover all of my expenses. Where else can I look for additional support?

We understand that conferences are expensive and often require more funding than OSPE can provide, even with mentor matching. We recommend looking into the following options for additional funding: 1) OPSE Opportunities Database: this database has many grants listed that may be applicable. 2) Burgess Loan: These low-interest loans available though the GW Financial Aid office may be of assistance. Please contact Financial Aid directly with any questions. 3) Contact the conference directly: There may be opportunities to receive discounted registration fees or accommodations as a student and/or presenter.

Are there any tax withholdings on my stipend payment? 

Possibly. Here is some information on the taxation of stipends for international students and here is some information on the taxation for stipends or US citizens and resident aliens. If you still have questions, please contact the GW Tax Department

My question is not listed above; who should I contact? 

Email OSPE at with any additional questions.