Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship application

Update August 17, 2020 – The fall 2020 Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship application deadline has been extended to December 1, 2020. Applicants attending an online conference during fall 2020 (Sept 1 – Dec 31) who meet the eligibility criteria below should apply. Once funds are depleted for the fall 2020 term, an update will be added to this web page.

Update June 8, 2020 - Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship applications are now being accepted for online-based conferences held during the Fall 2020 term (September 1 – December 31). Applications are due to GSPA by August 1, 2020.

All university travel remains suspended, therefore, reimbursements will not be provided for actual travel expenses until further notice. For more information, refer to the COVID-19 updates for graduate students.

Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship application (pdf)

Use this form to:

  • Apply for a Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) and the Graduate Studies Endowment Fund (GSEF) assist the University of Waterloo graduate students to attend professional conferences, and present their research. Students should use this application form to reserve travel funds from their supervisor, Department/School, Faculty and/or GSPA/GSEF.


  • Spring term: April 1 (for conferences during May 1 – August 31)
  • Fall term: August 1 extended to December 1 (for conferences during September 1 – December 31)
  • Winter term: December 1 (for conferences during January 1 – April 30)

Applications will be reviewed after each deadline and will be approved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Decisions are based on the date the application was received by GSPA. Those who apply by the deadline are not guaranteed funding as limited funds are available each term. Students are not required to submit any supporting documentation at the time of application. Therefore, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure their application has the best chance of being approved. Students will receive an email communication from GSPA within 1-2 weeks after each application deadline regarding their application status (approved/declined).


  • Up to a maximum of $500 from GSPA/GSEF


Read and follow the instructions printed on the top of the application form.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Student must be attending a conference virtually in connection with a UWaterloo research activity, must be the first or second author of the paper or poster, and must present the paper or poster virtually at a conference.
  • Student must be a graduate student registered in a degree program at UWaterloo at the time of the conference.
  • Student must submit the request for funding in advance of attending a conference virtually. Applications will not be considered after the conference has occurred.
  • Student must not have already received funding during the current fiscal year (May 1 – April 30).
  • Student must secure partial funding support from at least one of the following: supervisor(s), Department/School, or Faculty and obtain signatures on the application.

Application Guidelines

The student's supervisor (or in special cases, a graduate officer or other department head) must confirm that attendance at the conference is of direct benefit to a University of Waterloo research program and that the program conforms with the Income Tax Act definition of research (Research involves a critical or scientific inquiry aimed at the discovery of new facts, or the development of new interpretations or applications. It does not include research carried out for the sake of acquiring the experience or skill of conducting research, as may be the case with research carried out by undergraduate students).

Applications submitted to GSPA must demonstrate that partial travel funding support will be provided by at least one of the following: supervisor(s), Department/School, or Faculty. If neither the supervisor(s), Department/School or Faculty are able to provide funds, a reason must be included on the form. In special cases where funding is not provided by the above mentioned sources, GSPA may choose to contact the student and/or the Department/School for further explanation before GSPA/GSEF funds will be reserved.

If funds are depleted, the program may be suspended without notice until further funds become available.

Funds reserved by GSPA will expire within two months after the anticipated date of return. Funds will be automatically cancelled if GSPA has not received the claim by the expiry date. If an extension is required, the department or student must request one by emailing the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in GSPA prior to the expiry date.

Effective May 1, 2020, if a student’s travel dates crossover two terms, the application will be considered for the term in which the student’s expected return travel date occurs. Should the student’s travel dates change, the application will still be considered for the original travel term.

Funds reserved by GSPA can only be used towards the original conference indicated on the application.

If GSPA/GSEF reserved funds are no longer required, the department or student must request a cancellation by emailing the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in GSPA prior to the anticipated travel date. Students may then reapply for GSPA/GSEF funds for a new conference within the same term, but approval is subject to availability of funds. Students who cancel their reserved funds prior to the anticipated travel date are eligible to apply for GSPA/GSEF funds for a future travel term within the same fiscal year.

Students who do not use their reserved GSPA/GSEF funds and do not cancel their reserved GSPA/GSEF funds prior to the anticipated travel date will not be eligible for funds until the following fiscal year.

After Travel

Immediately upon return from the conference, a completed Expense Claim Form1 (Finance website) must be initiated and submitted to GSPA via the Department. The claim must be received by GSPA by the expiry date indicated on the application.

Claims may utilize up to the full amount pre-approved by GSPA provided that funds are also contributed from at least one of his/her supervisor, department, or Faculty. If funds are unavailable, this must be communicated to GSPA in advance of submitting the claim.

To receive GSPA/GSEF funds, the claim must include:

  • Research abstract2 (version submitted to conference; must show student as first or second author)
  • Proof of conference attendance and presentation2 (paper/poster)
    • e.g. conference agenda indicating student’s name and type of presentation
  • Approved Graduate Research Travel Assistantship application3

Claims must be signed by all the other contributors (supervisor/Department/Faculty etc.) before the claim is forwarded to the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in GSPA for approval. Once reviewed by GSPA, the claim will be forwarded to Finance for processing. Students will receive reimbursement via a cheque or direct deposit, depending on whether their banking information has been added to Quest. To set up direct deposit, visit the Finance website.

1 Claims for graduate students within the Faculty of Mathematics must be submitted via CONCUR as part of a pilot project for 2019/2020. CONCUR claims are not permitted for graduate students from other Faculties at this time.

2 To be provided to department by student

3 Department to download from GSPA Sharepoint


Please contact the Co-ordinator, Financial Aid and Awards in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) for further information regarding this award.