Doctoral Student Research Fund

The Doctoral Student Research Fund (DSRF) is designed to support KU doctoral students on the Lawrence/Edwards Campus who need assistance to carry out research that advances progress toward the degree. Funds are limited, with an average of only 30 awards per year. A doctoral student is eligible to receive one (1) award during their doctoral career. Award amounts vary, with a maximum award of $1,500. 


August 28 - September 15, 2023 at 11:59PM CDT

Any KU doctoral student who meets all of the following criteria is eligible to apply:

  1. Is in good academic standing.
  2. Enrolled full time in a Lawrence/Edwards-based degree plan at the time of application.
  3. Has passed the comprehensive exam prior to the application deadline.
  4. Is requesting funding to conduct research that will contribute directly toward the completion of the doctoral degree.
  5. Has not received funding previously through the DSRF.

The Office of Graduate Studies will send a call for applications via email to all doctoral students in the Lawrence/Edwards campus on the day that the application portal opens. Students are strongly encouraged to apply early so that we may assist with any questions or technical difficulties.

Once the application period begins, the application form may be accessed  through the button located at the bottom of this page.

Students should be prepared to provide/upload the following:

  1. Comprehensive exam date.
    • If your program has more than one (1) comprehensive exam date, please ask your advisor, supervisor or DGS to write a letter explaining the circumstances that may justify your application prior to completing all of your comprehensive exams.
  2. Brief description of the research or creative work that will be supported through the DSRF.
    • 500 word maximum
  3. Timeline for your research or creative work.
    • The timeline should include the major activities and expected start/end dates.
  4. Completed statement of support.
    • Please use the statement of support form attached to the call for applications email.
    • The form requires applicants to describe the intended use of the funds and any research approval requirements associated with the research or creative work.
    • The form must be signed by the applicant's graduate advisor/supervisor or DGS.
    • This document must be uploaded as a PDF in the application form.
  5. Detailed information about the anticipated research expenses for which you are requesting funding, including cost estimate and justification based on the research/creative work objectives.
    • Please review the eligible expense categories below prior to submitting your application.
    • DSRF will only cover expenses incurred after the date awardees are notified of selection for the award. Expenses that occurred prior to the award date are not eligible for funding.
  6. Start and end dates of travel, if applicable.
    • Start date must be after notification of the award.
    • End date must be no later than June 30, 2024.

Applicants will receive a system confirmation that their application was successfully submitted upon completion of the application.

The Doctoral Student Research Fund (DSRF) review is a two-step process:

  1. Eligibility of the applicant.
    • Each application will be reviewed to determine if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria defined above for the DSRF.
  2. Completion of the application.
    • Eligible applications will be reviewed to ensure that all the required information for each expense category selected has been provided.

Applications must pass the applicant eligibility review in order to be considered for the application completion review. The applications that pass both reviews will be considered eligible for funding through the DSRF.

Due to limited funds, priority will be given to applicants that meet the following criteria:

  • Clear timeline for research or creative work
  • Advanced stage in their research
  • Funding request is based on eligible expenses, per table below
  • Application indicates commitment to use the funds by the March 1, 2024 deadline
  • If funding is requested for travel, preference will be given to:
    • applications for ground transportation or airfare with a total cost at or below $1,500

All applicants, successful or otherwise, will be notified via email by mid-October. 

There are two ways in which DSRF funds can be managed:

  1. As reimbursements for expenses outlined in the application, or
    • This is the default funding mechanism.
  2. As direct payment of anticipated expenses outlined in the application.
    • In this case, awardees will need to work with their department to request direct payment for the expense(s).

The student's department and Shared Service Center (SSC) representative will assume responsibility for working with the awardee to request reimbursement, file receipts, and, if warranted, complete necessary purchases.

Students should contact their department’s graduate advisor, office manager, or budget coordinator for assistance.

Only expenses included in the approved application are eligible for reimbursement/direct payment. If any changes are needed, the awardee must submit a change request using this form for review and approval. This change request must include an updated budget and a justification for the change.

If the funding will be used for travel, it is the awardee's responsibility to follow all documentation requirements listed in the KU Travel Policy and submit documentation to their SSC contact within 30 days of purchases or transactions.

Awardees must use all of their DSRF funding by March 1, 2023. Any unspent amounts after that date will revert to the Office of Graduate Studies and be used to support future DSRF awards.

Eligible & Ineligible Expenses

Please review the following table prior to filling out the application form to ensure that the expenses being considered are eligible for this fund.

The application form will ask the applicant to select the expense category or categories for which DSRF funding support is being requested. Applicants must ensure that for each expense category selected, they provide all the information requested in the application form.

*Table of eligible and ineligible expenses for the DSRF.

CategoryEligible ExpensesIneligible Expenses 
Travel and research supportResearch and data collection
  • Airfare
  • Ground transportation
  • Lodging
Research and data collection
  • Per diem
  • Salaries
  • Medical costs
  • Fuel vouchers
  • Airfare/ground transportation purchased prior to DSRF approval
Travel and associated costs to attend professional meetings or conferences, as these are covered by the Graduate Student Travel Fund.
Archival work



Library membership


Data analysis software (e.g., Mplus)

Automated transcription software (e.g., Volcamatic, NVivo) 

Recruitment software and datasets (e.g., Peachjar, Amazon's MTurk, Prolific)

All software must be installed on KU device. It is the student's responsibility to coordinate with their department as needed.

Software available through KU Virtual Labs or KU Webstore (e.g., SPSS, STATA)

Computers (e.g., laptops, tablets, cellphones, etc.) and related hardware (e.g., recording equipment)

Supplies and equipment


Lab supplies

Recording fee at Swarthout Hall

Service charge for MAI lab, IBER and NMR lab, as well as KU Genome Sequencing Core 


Other costs may be considered on a case-by-case basis, assuming they are not included under ineligible expenses.

Participant incentives (e.g., payment, gift cards, food, etc.)

Salary or compensation (e.g. translation or interpretation services)


DSRF Application Form

The application period opens on August 28, 2023 and closes on September 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. CDT.