Travel Grants

Travel Grants

The Program

The Earth Institute Travel Grant Program makes it possible for Columbia and Barnard students to work on a variety of sustainable development and environmental 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.

Travel grant funding is meant to support students’ continued learning, by helping to facilitate research in the areas of sustainable development and the environment. This research must be affiliated with projects for which the students will receive academic credit towards their degree programs at Columbia University. Travel grants are awarded for different types of projects, including studios, graduate workshops, theses, senior seminar projects and independent studies, among others. Conferences are not eligible projects under this program.

Students may apply for up to $750 and groups may apply for up to $2,000 in funding.  All students who are awarded funding are required to participate in the spring Student Research Showcase, which is hosted by the Earth Institute. As part of this showcase, students provide summaries of their findings, which are posted on the Earth Institute website. The event provides a unique opportunity for students to publicize their research.

The Travel Grant Program is offered during the fall and spring semesters only. Applications are only accepted for future travel.

Who Should Apply

Current Columbia and Barnard undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students, who are pursuing research related to sustainability and the environment, may apply to the program. Students must be in good academic standing at the time of submission to be considered. Projects must be related to the students’ degree programs at Columbia. Groups should submit one application for the entire group; there are no restrictions on the number of students per group. There must be a faculty advisor working in conjunction with the individual student or the group. The faculty advisor should be an instructor of record at Columbia in the same field of study as the research project.

Please note that students are responsible for working with their faculty advisors to determine if Institutional Review Board approval is required as part of their Columbia sponsored research while abroad.

To Apply

Qualified applicants must submit an application, which includes a detailed budget, cover letter, resume and a letter of endorsement from a faculty member for their project.

Applications are evaluated on the basis of their proposed research objectives.

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.


Fall 2020 Deadlines:

Spring 2021 Deadlines:

Cover letters should be addressed to Natalie Unwin-Kuruneri, Associate Director, Office of Academic and Research Programs.

For more information on the process or individual inquiries, please contact

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