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 16 awards per semester. A doctoral student is eligible to receive one (1) award during their doctoral career. Award amounts vary, with a maximum award of $1500. 

The spring 2020 application deadline has passed. The fall 2020 application will open in September.


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.

Eligible expenses:

  • Travel-related expenses (e.g., airfare, ground transportation, lodging)
  • Supplies and equipment, including software
  • Expenses related to archival work (e.g., printing costs)
  • Expenses related to survey research
  • Incentives for research participants (payment must be arranged through KUCR)

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

Ineligible expenses:

  • Salaries
  • Per diems
  • Gift cards (e.g., to provide incentives to research participants)
  • Computers and related hardware
  • Books
  • Conference attendance, whether or not the student is presenting research


The application portal will open at 11:30 am on Thursday, September 10th and close at 5 pm on Thursday, September 24. All applications submitted during this time will be reviewed for eligibility and awardees selected from among eligible applications. Award decisions will be based on a random selection among eligible applicants, with proportional distribution among students in the Schools and College.

Applications must be submitted using this online form. No exceptions will be made.
Students are strongly encouraged to apply early so that we may assist with any technical difficulties.

Students should be prepared to provide/upload the following:

  1. One-page abstract in PDF format describing the research project. If your abstract is not in PDF format you may experience technical difficulties uploading the form.
  2. A signed statement of support from your primary faculty advisor using this form. Please do not submit letters of recommendation as these will in no way impact the award decision.
  3. Detailed information about the anticipated research expenses for which you are requesting funding, including cost estimate and justification based on the research objectives.
  4. Start and end dates of travel and a basic schedule of research activities, if applicable.

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

While the time required to process award decisions will depend upon the number of applications received, we aim to notify all applicants via email by Friday, March 6.

Please do not contact Graduate Studies to inquire about your application prior to this date, as we will have no information to provide.


  1. Funds are distributed to awardees as reimbursements for expenses outlined in the application, or awardees may work with their department to request direct payment for the expense(s).
  2. The student's department and Shared Service Center representative will assume responsibility for working with the student 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.
  3. Only expenses included in the approved application are eligible for reimbursement.
  4. Students must use all of their award funding within six months from the date of the award notification. Any unspent amounts after that date will revert to the Office of Graduate Studies and be used to support future DSRF awards.


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