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. 


October 3 - October 28 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 in a Lawrence/Edwards-based degree plan.
  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.
  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.

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. Eligible applications will be added to a pool, where random selection will be used to determine awardees. 

All applicants, successful or otherwise, will be notified via email by November 11th. 

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 ExpenseIneligible Expense 
Travel and research supportResearch and data collection
  • Airfare
  • Ground transportation
  • Lodging
Research and data collection
  • Per diem
  • Salaries
Travel and associated costs to attend professional meetings or conferences. Contact your school for more information on travel funding for conferences.
Archival workPrintingBooks 
  • Must be installed on KU device
Computers (e.g., laptops, tablets, cellphones, etc.) and related hardware (e.g., recording equipment) 
Supplies and equipment
Lab supplies


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

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

DSRF Application Form

The application period opens on October 3, 2022 and closes on October 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. CDT.