Travel Grants

The Program

Through the Earth Institute Travel Grant Program, initiated in 2005, Columbia University students work on a variety of projects nationally and internationally. Past projects include studying the scent-marking behavior of Siberian tigers, conducting research into the effects of climate change on the management of water resources in Chile and assessing sustainable hurricane protection designs in New Orleans. This travel grant allocation program gives Columbia University students who are engaged in sustainable development and environmental research projects the opportunity to recoup travel costs for research that is integral to their degree program.

Travel grant funding is designed to support students’ continued learning and research in the area of the environment and sustainable development, as well as to bring them closer to earning their degree in a specialized field. The type and amount of academic credit awarded varies depending on each student’s area of study and degree program. A travel grant can be attained to earn credit for a number of different programs including studios, workshops, theses, senior seminar projects and independent studies, among others.

Each grant consists of a maximum of $750 for travel expenses. After completion of their research projects, students provide summaries of their findings, which are posted online on the Earth Institute website. This gives students the opportunity to publicize their research. All students who are awarded funding are also required to do a presentation at the spring Student Research Showcase, hosted by the Earth Institute.

The Travel Grant Program will be offered during the fall and spring semesters of the 2012-2013 academic year.

Who Should Apply

Groups of students may coordinate on a single project as long as each student applies individually for funding. There are no restrictions on the number of students per group or project. In fact, collaborations are encouraged. Graduate workshop groups have received funding from this program in the past. Sustainable development and/or environmental issues must be the focus of the research projects, and there must be a faculty advisor working in conjunction with the student. The faculty advisor should be an instructor of record at Columbia University in the same field of study as the research project.

To Apply

Qualified applicants must submit an application along with a detailed budget, cover letter, resume and a letter of endorsement from a faculty member for their project in one email to

Students must also be in good academic standing at the time of submission to be considered. Applications are evaluated on the basis of their proposed research objectives. Projects must be related to the student’s degree program at Columbia.

Students selected to receive grants are required to attend a pre-departure meeting held by the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the Earth Institute to ensure that they prepare properly according to the University’s guidelines. Adequate health and travel insurance policies, including coverage for MEDIVAC, are required.


For fall 2013 funding, application materials must be submitted by October 18, 2013.  Receipts for reimbursement are due no later than January 31, 2014.
For spring 2013 funding, application materials must be submitted by February 7, 2014.  Receipts for reimbursement are due no later than May 31, 2014.

Learn more about past Travel Grant Projects on the Earth Institute website.