2021 Summer/Fall Conference Travel Award

The Postdoctoral Association Travel Award is designed to provide financial support to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates who plan to attend a conference. Since academic travel is not currently supported by the university, we are supporting registration and fees for virtual conferences only. The Award is primarily aimed at fellows early in their training at Harvard Chan School who have not recently attended a conference; however, everyone is encouraged to apply. Six awards up to $500 are offered; four awards will be given to postdoctoral fellows and two awards will be given to a senior fellows (Research Associates and Takemi Fellows). Of the four awards given to postdoctoral fellows, two will be dedicated to junior postdocs with less than two years of effective training time at Harvard Chan School (minus any leaves of absence).

Application Process

Applications are due June 7th 2021 8pm EST. All applications should be submitted using the Travel Awards Submission Survey. The survey can be accessed anonymously via:


Please note that once an application is started, you cannot save your work and return to it at another time. Only start the application once your materials are ready for submission.

Judging Process

Applications will be independently scored by at least two judges from a pool of Faculty and Research Scientist judges broadly representing the Harvard Chan School Departments. Winners will be notified via email.

Rules and Eligibility

If you have any queries about your eligibility, please email both: facultyaffairs@hsph.harvard.edu and PDA@hsph.harvard.edu.

  1. Only Harvard Chan Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Associates, and Takemi Fellows are eligible.
  2. Applicants must be a first author on the conference abstract to be eligible.
  3. Previous winnersof the postdoctoral association travel awards are not eligible to apply.
  4. Only one submission for one abstract is allowed per funding round. Multiple submissions will not be accepted.
  5. This award is to be used only for expenses to attend and present at the professional academic meeting/conference for which the application was submitted. The award cannot be used to cover expenses related to attending a special training program or professional workshop.
  6. All expenses for academic meetings/conferences attended must be accrued within 12 months of receiving notification of award (i.e. must use award within one calendar year).
  7. Expenses must be incurred solely by the award recipient. The expenses cannot be afforded by and/or reimbursed to, a grant, department, School, or any other source other than the award recipient.
  8. All reimbursements must be submitted within 90 days of accrual.
  9. The travel award cannot be used on any academic meetings/conferences that were attended prior to the recipient being notified of award.
  10. The abstract content must have been performed during postdoctoral training at Harvard Chan School.
  11. Applicants may apply for this award prior to submitting an abstract for or being officially to the conference for which they plan to use the award.
  12. Only complete applications will be evaluated.

Guidelines for applicants

Applicants can use the attached template to prepare their application. The application consists of five items: information related to applicant’s time at Harvard Chan School and previous conference experience, the conference abstract, a personal statement, a list of estimated expenses, and a confirmation of advisor support. Each of these is detailed below. Questions should be addressed to both facultyaffairs@hsph.harvard.edu and pda@hsph.harvard.edu.

Personal and Conference Information

Please provide your name, department, email address, length of tenure as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Associate, or Takemi Fellow at Harvard Chan School excluding leaves of absence (e.g., maternity/paternity leave, time off due to illness or other time away from work), and elapsed time since your most recent conference attendance. Durations should be reported in months as of May 2021.


Please include the conference abstract.

Personal Statement (two criteria)

Please describe how attending this meeting will enhance your professional development and research. Criteria descriptions are offered as guidance only for writing statements; applicants are encouraged to include whatever statements they find appropriate.

Please write up to 1000 characters (including spaces) for each of the two criteria below.

  1. Professional development
  • Who are the key people you might meet at the conference who would be helpful in your career?
  • Does the conference provide virtual opportunities for networking or professional development?
  • How will attending this conference help develop your career prospects?
  • Statement of need (optional).
  1. Research
  • How do the primary topics addressed by the conference align with your research?
  • In which ways are they relevant to your field?
  • How will this information be helpful to you in your current and future research?

Estimated Expenses

Please include an estimated expenses report. The award provides funds (as reimbursement) for virtual conference registration and fees (excluding membership fees or dues). If awarded, all Harvard University authorized/eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500, can be submitted for reimbursement. Reimbursements will be delivered directly to the fellow – Harvard cannot reimburse expenses paid using grants or other research funds. Any expenses that exceed $500 must be resolved/covered by the awardee.

Following the announcement of receiving the award, a member of the Office of Faculty Affairs will reach out to all award recipients regarding reimbursement procedures. Please note that the Harvard Chan Postdoc Association DOES NOT handle the reimbursement process.

Note of Advisor Support

We no longer require a letter of recommendation. The final question of the survey will ask you to confirm your mentor’s consent to your proposed travel and conference attendance.

Judging Criteria for HARVARD CHAN Postdoctoral Association Travel Award

Evaluation of applications

  1. Each application will be reviewed and scored by at least two independent reviewers (Faculty and Research Scientists of Harvard Chan School).
  2. Reviewers will not review nominations for a candidate with whom they share common projects. Reviewers will be sent the applicant’s abstract and personal statement, and a form on which to record their scores.
  3. Abstracts will be evaluated based upon scientific merit, innovation and contribution to the field.
  4. The personal statement will be evaluated based upon two criteria: professional development and research.
  5. Ties will be broken based on elapsed time since previous conference attendance.

Winner Selection

The scores from each of the three components will be averaged for each reviewer and then summed to yield a total score, representing two independent judges’ evaluations. The winners will be selected based on the highest scoring applications. In the event of a tie, the award winners will be selected by the Harvard Chan Postdoctoral Association Council.


Scoring rubric

Component Score (out of 10) Percentage
Abstract 10 33.3%
Personal Statement (2 parts)

(a) Professional Development

(b) Research







Total 30 100%