Travel funding enables graduate student research at KU

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

LAWRENCE — Through the Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund, graduate students on the KU Lawrence and Edwards campuses presented their research at professional conferences and events across North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 180 graduate students each received $500 in financial support, a total of $90,000 in funding. Student Senate, the Office of the Provost and Office of Research provided funding for these awards, and the Office of Graduate Studies facilitated the awarding of these funds. Of the 70 graduate programs on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, graduate students from 48 different programs received an award.

Part of the research process is sharing results with other researchers to discuss, improve and expose others to discoveries. This process requires traveling to conferences and events organized by societies of professional researchers. The costs of travel, lodging and accommodations are significant, and graduate students need help paying the cost.

“Doing groundbreaking research can only be classified as a success if the results are shared with the world. A vital skill developed in graduate school is the ability to communicate one’s research, both in written and spoken formats. There are plenty of opportunities on campus to rehearse speaking about one’s research, but these are only practice runs for the higher-stakes arena of a knowledgeable audience of professional peers,” said Audrey Lamb, interim dean of graduate studies. “The Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund provides students with the opportunity to hone their skills in formal presentation in an environment full of experts drawn from around the world. Importantly, at these conferences, our students meet potential future employers and develop long-term professional relationships. These presentations elevate KU as our graduate students are our best ambassadors when they share the exciting research they conduct.”

KU graduate students used their funding to present to fellow professional researchers around the globe. For example, ecology & evolutionary biology graduate students attended a range of conferences, including the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C.; the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Tampa, Florida; the International Biogeography Society in Malaga, Spain, and the Society for Molecular Biology & Evolution in Yokohama, Japan.

“Presenting research results at a national or international conference is a crucial step for the development of KU graduate students as researchers and leaders in their field. The chance to demonstrate their expertise to their professional community and receive feedback ensures that the student’s work remains high impact and that the student develops a strong professional network to leverage into expanded research opportunities and potential post-graduate careers,” said Pamela Johnson, master's student in the bioengineering program and graduate affairs director in the Student Senate. “When KU supports this global view of research for its students and provides the necessary funding to send them to these conferences, it is making an active investment in positioning the university as a top research institution. As such, I am grateful for the support the Graduate Scholarly Presentation Fund has received from the Student Senate in the past and am hopeful that they will continue and expand that support for this critical program.”

To learn more about the Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund, visit the Funding section of the Office of Graduate Studies website.