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ASPIRE Travel Scholarship Program

The ASPIRE program has travel scholarships available for qualifying PhD graduate students and postdocs who need to travel to another city to conduct an ASPIRE externship or internship. These scholarships help offset the cost of career exploration or internship in your field of interest.

ASPIRE Travel Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year. An application is required, and funds are not guaranteed. Preference will be given to PhD graduate students and postdocs who have participated in relevant ASPIRE Programming.

Eligibility requirements and travel scholarship policies are described below.

ASPIRE Travel Scholarship eligibility requirements

Funding for this program comes from the Office of the Dean of Basic Sciences. To be eligible to apply, you must be:

  1. A current PhD student or postdoctoral fellow in the biomedical sciences.
  • Postdoctoral fellows must be appointed through the a School of Medicine home department or Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).
  • Any PhD student in the following programs is eligible to apply: Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Cell & Developmental Biology, Cellular & Molecular Pathology, Chemical & Physical Biology, Human Genetics, Microbe-Host Interactions, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular Pathology & Immunology, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and Pharmacology.
  • PhD students in Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Informatics, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, Neuroscience, or Physics are eligible to apply if they were admitted to graduate school through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP), Quantitative Chemical Biology Program (QCB), or Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD).
  1. In most instances, at the time of the qualifying externship or internship, graduate students must have passed their qualifying exam and be considered a PhD candidate.

ASPIRE Travel Scholarship policies

  1. Scholarships are limited to the actual cost of travel, up to $1500.
  2. Travel scholarships can be used for coach-class airfare and hotel only. The cost of meals and ground transportation including transportation to/from the Nashville airport are not eligible expenses. Registration fees and tuition are not eligible expenses.
  3. Externship opportunities must represent a clear “career path” focus.
  4. Individual trainees can receive travel scholarships for up to two externships and one internship opportunity during their training. Preference will be given to qualifying externships in distinct fields, and preference will be given to externships that take place at least 3 months apart.
  5. If you are conducting an externship in conjunction with other personal or professional travel, the travel scholarship will cover the portion of your expenses that directly relates to conducting an externship. For example, if you are traveling to Boston for a scientific conference, and you would like to stay an extra day to do an externship, the ASPIRE Travel Scholarship will cover the cost of an extra hotel night, but it will not cover the cost of the conference.

By applying for and receiving travel funds from the ASPIRE Program, you will be required to complete an evaluation form at the end of your externship experience.  This will be an online survey administered by the ASPIRE Program staff asking you to describe and rate your experience.

Applying for an ASPIRE Travel Scholarship does not guarantee that funds will be awarded. The ASPIRE Program reserves the right to determine eligibility and appropriate use of funds, and has the right to determine total funds appropriated.

Interested in applying for an ASPIRE Travel Scholarship?

Please contact Ashley Brady ( for more information.