Professional Development Grant

OUR Professional Development Grants are now available for virtual conferences.
Accepting Fall 2021 applications now. Due October 15, 2021.

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) Professional Development Grant (formerly, the OUR Travel Grant) recognizes Purdue University undergraduate students who have been selected to present research findings at a national or international professional or academic conference. This program supports undergraduate students in the dissemination of their research and improvement of their communication skills through participation in scholarly activity. These awards, up to $500, are competitively awarded in the spring semester (travel from January 1 - December 31) and fall semester (travel from July 1 - June 30).

Portions of this funding have been made possible through generous donations from OUR donors, parents of Purdue students, Student Life, and the Parents Fund.

The student application and research mentor letter of support must be submitted by the deadline for the application to be complete. Complete applications will be reviewed following the deadline. Additional complete applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.


Any Purdue University – West Lafayette undergraduate student currently or previously engaged in research, creative endeavors, or scholarly works under the guidance of a research mentor.

  1. The undergraduate student must have received official acceptance for a presentation, but those who have applied to present but have not heard a decision can still apply while indicating that in the application.
  2. The student must be enrolled in good standing in an undergraduate degree-seeking program (or PharmD) at Purdue University-West Lafayette both when the research was conducted and at the time of the travel grant application.
  3. The student must be full-time at the time of applying and traveling. If a student graduates, they have 90 days to travel to their conference after graduation.
  4. The student may only submit a grant application for one conference presentation per competition. Travel funds may only be applied towards the stated event.
  5. Spring deadlines: Travel must occur between January 1 and December 31 within the same year of applying. Fall deadlines: Travel must occur between July 1 and the next year's June 30.
  6. Recipients of the award shall be ineligible for consideration for additional OUR travel funding during the twelve months following their grant.
  7. First-time presenters at an off-campus conference will be preferred.

The Award

  1. Each recipient of the OUR Professional Development Grant will receive an award to cover up to $500 of unmet travel expenses. Please note that we do not guarantee funding of the full amount requested.
  2. The program will accept applications semi-annually, in the spring and fall semesters.
  3. The award(s) will be announced four weeks following the deadline.
  4. Funds will be disbursed directly to the individual who incurred the cost(s) after the travel has occurred through a reimbursement process.
  5. Professional development grants do not support travel to conduct research. If you are seeking funding to travel to complete part of your research project, consider applying for a research grant.
  6. A thank you note should be written that acknowledges donors to the Office of Undergraduate Research. Funds collected by outside donors are given directly to students through research grants, travel grants, and scholarships.
  7. When keeping your receipts, ensure they are itemized and if food is covered not to include alcohol on the receipt to be reimbursed. This is Purdue policy not to reimburse alcoholic beverages.
Writing a Thank You Note

A thank you note is typical when receiving some sort of funding and undergraduate research support is no different. Please review this guide on how "Expressing Gratitude to a Donor" to help you in crafting your thank you note. This is important to inform the donor of what you were able to accomplish with their gift to help encourage them to see value in their donation. The OUR has cards you may use for your thank you note.

Application Forms

Student Application Link

The application for has two parts: 1) the online student form and 2) the online research mentor support letter. Both forms must be completed in their entirety by the deadline for full consideration. The student application will send an automated email to the student and the research mentor to confirm receipt and with the research mentor's support letter link. If your faculty or staff research mentor is unavailable for an extended period of time (e.g., on sabbatical), the application form may be submitted by the department head or another administrator with signature authority, which should be noted within the application form.

Research Statement

The research statement is different from a conference abstract. Your research statement should address the purpose and value of your research to members of academia outside your own discipline. The review panel will consider your clarity, organization, and grammar during the review process. Please address the following points in layman's terms as the reviewers may not be familiar with the specific disciplinary aspects of your work and/or the sponsoring organization.

  1. Clearly describe the overarching research question or purpose of your research and include the potential for impact on the field.
  2. Clearly describe the methods used to address the research question.
  3. Describe why you selected this conference. Why is this particular conference a good venue for you and/or your work? Who is the audience at this conference and how many people usually attend?
  4. Describe your role in the authorship of this presentation (i.e., amount of contribution to the inception of the idea, data collection, analysis, writing, etc.).


The itemized budget should include reasonable estimates and descriptions of registration fees, airfare, ground transportation, lodging, meals, etc. It should also include any cost-sharing from the research mentor and/or research project, the college/department/unit, and any additional awards. Please note that cost-sharing is not required for this application. It is strongly encouraged, however, that other units share at least a portion of these costs in order to limit the student’s personal out-of-pocket expenses and to enable the OUR to fund additional student travel.

Point of Contact

Angie Welshimer

Office of Undergraduate Research

Phone: (765) 494-6503