Research and Travel Grants receive budget increase

Student Association recently gave the Geneseo Foundation for Research and Travel Grants $42,500 for next year’s awards, a $2,500 increase from last year. These grants are designed to allow students to participate in and share their research with the guidance of a required faculty sponsor, explained Sponsored Research Associate Patty Hamilton-Rodgers.

She described travel grants as being awarded specifically to students who will present the finding of their research at a professional conference. The grants will cover expenses incurred when traveling to said conference. Research grants are awarded to students currently doing research and cover the costs needed to complete the project, but they don’t require that the student presents their findings at a conference.

Director of Sponsored Research Anne Baldwin noted that there was an increase in applicants between this year and last year, which led to the need for an increase in SA funds.

“This year we gave out awards totaling $111,456. We anticipate that the basic thing that could happen is that the request next year would be similar,” Baldwin said regarding the proposed fund increase.

Because of this, the Geneseo Foundation for Research and Travel Grants originally proposed a $45,000 donation from SA for next year.

“How the program works is SA gives money and then the Geneseo Foundation gives at least that much money, probably more,” Hamilton-Rodgers said.

“The balance came from Geneseo Foundation Unrestricted Funds Allocation to the research council for the Undergraduate Research and Travel Grant program,” Baldwin said.

With approximately 220 applicants, each requesting up to $600, a large budget is necessary to keep the program intact.

“We allocate a certain amount every year. We allocated $90,000 to the program. What happens is in the spring the research council assesses what their funding needs are to finish up the year and they redistribute funds from different sources to cover the needs. We funded some faculty travel grants for their conference presentations out of our indirect cost recovery funds,” Baldwin said.

Students interested in this grant are required to attend a workshop with Hamilton-Rodgers, as well as fill out an application online. This application includes a proposed budget, rationale for wanting the grant, supporting documentation, faculty support letter and a confirmation from the conference you are attending if applying for a travel grant.

Although SA passed a budget increase for the Geneseo Foundation for Research and Travel Grants, concerns were raised during the meeting about the distribution of grants among majors.

“There was an executive board member who was concerned about that. I think biology and chemistry probably get more awards than other departments, but it’s not prohibitive,” Hamilton-Rodgers said.

“Prime example is that we had students that were working in the theatre department who wanted to build puppets to use. So that was their scholarly activity that helped advance their knowledge of their discipline, and they applied and got that,” she said.

Even with the possible unequal distribution between majors, Hamilton-Rodgers sees these grants as beneficial to the students who apply for them.

“What’s nice about this is it gives students experience applying for a grant,” she said. “Having gone through other grant processes beyond the campus, they’re similar; you have to have a budget, you have to have a rationale. It’s a more simplified process, but it’s a good experience.”