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The Graduate Student Research and Travel Grants

Note: Recipients of grants have one year to use the funds. All funding accounts will be closed prior to student's graduation.

Western Kentucky University is a center of learning dedicated to opportunities for creative scholarship and pursuit of excellence in higher education. The University strives to provide a suitable range of undergraduate and graduate specialties within an academic climate designed to promote the constructive objectives of liberal education. 

Creative scholarship implies research and the University recognizes that creative inquiry frequently leads to the necessity of acquiring essential materials and assistance not normally available. To encourage the extension of creative inquiry and contributions to knowledge, some limited monetary assistance has been made available for student research projects that conform to the general guidelines set forth below. This monetary assistance is to be treated as grant funding and the recipient will be held accountable for any misuse of funding.

The Graduate Council Research Committee (GCRC) reviews the student proposals and recommends funding to the Graduate Council. This committee consists of faculty members from the Graduate Council.

A graduate student interested in securing funds through the GCRC of the Graduate Council should have a logical and clearly defined project. To assist in the formulation and for purposes of grant consideration, the student is requested to complete a rather basic grant request application form and supporting proposal documentation.  Students are encouraged to consult with their research mentor in the completion of application materials.  Please use these guidelines to prepare your proposal.


Application Due Date


Fall 2023


October 10


Spring 2024



February 6

The deadlines for fall and spring terms are the second Tuesday of October and the first Tuesday of February by 11:59 PM respectively.

Recipients of grants have one year to use the funds. All funding accounts will be closed prior to student's graduation.



Students are encouraged to apply for this grant by the earliest possible application due date, as funds may be depleted later in the cycle.  However, awarded funds need to be spent before the funding deadline.

The following documents are REQUIRED when applying for a Research Grant. Failure to submit the required documents will result in an incomplete application and the Graduate Council will not review the application. ALL REQUIRED MATERIALS SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO gsresearchgrant@wku.edu.  

1.)    Research Application Form  (link)
        a. FOUR signatures are required: Student, Advisor, Department Chair, and College Dean
        Please note:  Signatures can be signed digitally, electronically, or with ink.
2.)    Formal Budget Form (link)
        a. Further guidance to fill out the Formal Budget Form is provided in the Application and Budget Form.

For students requesting Research OR Research and Travel funds (Maximum $2,000):

Please submit the following REQUIRED documents with your application:

  1. Formal Budget Form (Please see Form for more details other than those listed below)
    1. Materials/Supplies (Item, quantity, cost per unit, total cost)
    2. Equipment
    3. Travel. Please refer to current WKU travel policy.
    4. Participant Support and/or Human Subjects
    5. Other
    6. Cost sharing (if there is cost-share, the applicant needs to note exact amounts/sources of cost share.)
  1. Research Proposal
    1. Title of Proposed Project
    2. Purpose of the Study
    3. Design of the Study
    4. Intended Use of Results and Possible Application of Results
  1. One-page student Bio (CV/Resume)
  2. Statement from the student and the advisor certifying that no documents included in the research grant proposal have been plagiarized.
  3. Letter of endorsement of the research project or creative activity from the advisor.
  4. Please be sure to submit Human Subjects (IRB), IACUC, or IBC approval letter (if applicable).


For students requesting ONLY Travel funds(Maximum $500):

Please submit the following REQUIRED documents with your application:

  1. Formal Budget Form
    1. Lodging
    2. Conference/Meeting Registration Fee
    3. Transportation (e.g., Airfare, Mileage)
    4. Food/Incidentals
    5. Cost sharing (if there is cost-share, the applicant needs to note exact amounts/sources of cost share)
  2. Presentation Details
    1. Abstract
    2. Conference details (Name and Location)
    3. Statement describing developmental activities and how participation supports the future goals of the student
  3. One-page student Bio (CV/Resume)
  4. Plagiarism statement

Note, for students only requesting travel funds, you do not need to submit a letter of endorsement or an IRB approval letter.

* To be eligible for travel grants, graduate students must be listed as a coauthor that is presenting (i.e., listed as the presenting author) on research or creative work at a regional, national, or international conference.

1.) Evidence of cooperation with off-campus entities

FOR RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN (e.g., survey, experimental, evaluation, biomedical research) OR ANIMAL SUBJECTS:
1.)    Attach a copy of the Human Subjects IRB approval letter
2.)    Attach a copy of the approval letter from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
3.)    Attach a copy of the approval letter from the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

- Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
- All application materials are to be sent to gsresearchgrant@wku.edu. If materials are sent to an alternative email address, your application will not be reviewed by the committee.

Fundable Expenses:
     - Clerical, subject participation payments, coding, and other assistance where such is needed to carry out
       the project;
     - Special materials and equipment, if they are not of the type that the department would be expected to  
       have or to acquire

     - Travel where such is vital to conducting the research or creative activity
     - Cost of procurement of information, documents, and media not otherwise available (Evidence should 
       be presented ascertaining the availability of the materials in the off-campus library or other site)
     - Necessary stationary, supplies, and postage, including that needed for questionnaires
     - Funding for registration fees, accommodation, and travel to conferences

Non-Fundable Expenses:
     - Funding for expenditures already incurred
     - Publication costs
     - Equipment the academic department could be expected to purchase for normal operations or for
       support of a thesis/specialist project/dissertation
     - Books the library may be reasonably expected to acquire as part of its holdings
     - Salary for the student

Editing, per se, will not qualify for a grant. This is based on the assumption that the researcher or others have already performed the necessary research

The student project budget must meet the following criteria:
     - The budget for the proposed research project must be itemized
     - The budget must contain items directly related to and supported by the student's research proposal
               · Items with the intent of departmental use will not be approved.
     - Any cost-share needs to be noted (college departmental, grants awarded to either student or advisor)
     - The student and faculty advisor are responsible for following the approved research budget
               · Any deviations from this budget will not be approved
               · If an item(s) need(s) to be added or substituted, and provided the total expenses do not
                 exceed the amount awarded, the student may submit a revised budget for consideration
               · If a student incurs costs on his/her index that are not itemized on his/her budget he/she or the
                 department may be held liable.

Example Budget Forms:

Travel Only

Travel & Research

1.)    All materials are submitted to the Graduate School via email to gsresearchgrant@wku.edu by the   
        posted deadline.

2.)    The student will receive an email notifying them of the decision regading their application.
3.)    Once funds have been awarded, the Graduate School contacts the Accounting Office to set up an
         account for each student. This process typically takes approximately 2-3 weeks. Students will not be
         able to access funds until the account is set up by the Accounting Office.

4.)    After the Graduate School receives the account information from the Accounting Office, the student
        will be contacted immediately. Within this email, the students will be sent (a) Letter of Approval, (b)
        Initial Contract, and (c) Final Contract.

     a. Letter of Approval – includes instructions on accessing the funds, the amount awarded, and the  
         expiration date of the research account; copies will also be sent to the faculty advisor.

     b. Initial Contract – MUST BE SUBMITTED PRIOR TO RECEIVING FUNDS This contract includes the
         student’s account number. It is the student’s responsibility to know his/her account number. The
         student and faculty advisor must sign and date this form. The contract should be returned to the
         Graduate School (gsresearchgrant@wku.edu).

          i.  Once the student returns the Initial Contract, funds will be transferred into the student’s account.
              This transfer may take several days as several departments are involved in the process. When the
              funds are in place, the student may begin purchasing items from the budget.

         The student must fill in appropriate information and attach an itemized expenditure sheet. The 
         student and faculty advisor must sign and date this form. The contract and expenditure sheet should 
         be returned to the Graduate School.

5.)    Once the student has completed his/her research project (or thesis) or expended all available funds
        (whichever comes first within the one-year expiration period), s/he must submit a detailed expense

     a. This sheet must include all purchased items and their costs and total amount of used research funds,
          and may be included in the final project report.

6.)    Student must submit all of the documents mentioned above to the Graduate School at

• Students and faculty advisors should work with the department office associate (or other knowledgeable staff) to submit requests for purchases. All purchases must be made with the department’s procurement card, except for the following: travel, services rendered expenditures, payment of human subjects with either gift cards or cash and University-available services.
     - Students, faculty advisors, and departments will not be reimbursed for expenses which do not adhere
       to proper purchasing procedures.

     - Under no circumstances will inter-account transfers or other vouchers (those not listed above) be
        approved for reimbursement.

• Students may need to pay for travel expenses or services rendered as approved by the Committee. In this case, the student should complete a Travel Expense Voucher or a Payment Authorization Sheet (for services rendered) and submit to the Graduate School for approval. The faculty advisor or department office associate should be able to assist the student in completing these forms.
     - Travel Expense Voucher – allows students to be reimbursed for travel expenditures
     - Payment Authorization Sheet – allows the individual who renders services to receive a paycheck from
       the University

     - Both forms can be found on the Office of the Controller’s website.

• Students paying human subjects with either gift cards or cash should refer to the Guidelines for paying human subjects and should have Human Subjects approval.


• According to the SOF, all purchases made for/by Graduate Student Research Grant, must follow the  WKU Purchasing Policy. Please contact Renee Purdy (renee.purdy@wku.edu) in the WKU Graduate School Office to assist with any questions.

• ALL MATERIALS MUST BE SUBMITTED TO gsresearchgrant@wku.edu.

 • Incomplete applications will be returned. If applications are not submitted to the proper email address, the application will not be considered by the committee.

• Graduate students may apply for up to two research and two travel grants per degree. Students may not receive more than $2,500 in total for research and travel grants per degree.

• The Graduate Council Research Committee reviews research proposals typically once during the fall and spring semesters. Students conducting research in the summer months should submit the application materials early in the spring semester to allow adequate time for approvals.

• If a collaborative project is proposed, then the collaborators should either (1) stay within the announced funding limits and submit a single application or (2) submit separate applications that clearly describe the contribution made by each individual and the different unique attributes distinguishing one application from the other.

• Priority will be given to students who have not already received funding from this granting resource. Students should recognize that if they receive funding early in their graduate studies, they may be unlikely to receive additional funding later in their graduate studies.

• Proposals should clearly identify the research questions being answered by the proposed work.

• Expenses incurred prior to receiving the grant are ineligible for reimbursement.

• While publication is not the primary goal of the committee in granting financial assistance, proposals aimed toward publication or presentation at professional meetings are encouraged. Appropriate acknowledgment of support should appear in any resulting publications.

• Finally, please keep in mind that receiving a grant is a rather lengthy process. There are many offices and people involved in gaining access to the grant money once it is awarded through the proper channels. Be mindful that from the date you turn in your application for a grant, if approved, it will possibly be several months before you have access to the money, depending on when the review committee next meets. This includes the time needed to be approved by the Graduate Council Research Committee, be approved by Graduate Council, have a grant index established, have paperwork prepared for the grantee to sign and return, and for the money to be transferred to a usable index. Please be patient with the process and apply early!



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 Last Modified 8/18/23