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ASPIRE Travel Scholarship Program

The ASPIRE program has travel scholarships available for qualifying Ph.D. graduate students and postdocs who need to travel to another city to conduct an ASPIRE externship (short-term professional learning experience) or internship. These scholarships help offset the cost of career exploration or internships 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. student or postdoctoral fellow in the biomedical sciences.
  • Postdoctoral fellows must be appointed through a School of Medicine or Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) department.
  • Ph.D. students in the following programs are eligible to apply: Biochemistry, Biomedical Informatics, Biostatistics, Cancer Biology, Cell & Developmental Biology, Chemical & Physical Biology, Epidemiology, Health Policy, Hearing & Speech Sciences, Human Genetics, Microbe-Host Interactions, Molecular Pathology & Immunology, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and Pharmacology.
  • Ph.D. students in Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, 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), Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), or Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (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 Ph.D. 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. Scientific conference registration fees are not eligible expenses. Registration fees for other types of activities will be considered on a case-by-base basis.
  3. Travel scholarships fund internship or short-term training experiences which have a clear “career path” focus. Travel scholarships may not defray the cost of traveling to a conference to present research or for workshops which build expertise relating to a trainee’s research program. In general, opportunities that would qualify for financial support through a scientific conference travel award program are not eligible.
  4. Individual trainees can receive travel scholarships for up to two short-term training experiences and one internship opportunity during their training. Preference will be given to qualifying activities in distinct fields, and experiences that take place at least 3 months apart.
  5. If you are conducting a short-term training experience in conjunction with other personal or professional travel, the travel scholarship will cover the portion of your travel that directly relates to conducting the short-term training experience.
  6. Please submit an application for travel funds as far in advance as possible, and no less than 6 weeks in advance of travel.

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 experience.  This will be an online survey/post-event report 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.