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Travel Support for Women in Research Labs

Submission deadline: ongoing
Award notification: within 4 weeks of submission


One of the challenges for working in an industry or government lab is having one's budget determined by the overall economic climate. When times are tough, organizations typically respond by cutting back, including on such "non-essential" expenses as travel, computer equipment, and books. Academic research conferences and workshops do not directly benefit the bottom line of the organization or its customers, and therefore travel to such conferences is usually cut. These budget shortfalls can be short --- a quarter --- or as long as a year or two, and they can occur quite suddenly.

Attending conferences and workshops is extremely important for women in research labs, particularly for those in the early stages of their careers. Because of the proprietary work that often occurs in industrial research labs and the classified work that sometimes occurs in government institutions, women in these positions are often more intellectually isolated than their academic colleagues. Thus conference attendance is particularly important. Beyond presenting one's work, such participation provides important networking opportunities that are key to increasing one's visibility and stature as a professional member of one's field.

If one's employer cannot provide travel support for attending conferences, women in research labs often have no other resources available to them. Our intent with this program is to provide a "safety net" for women in research labs by providing grants for travel support to send women to conferences when their home institution cannot.

The CRA-W Travel Support Grant

CRA-W will provide full or partial support for actual travel expenses to conferences or workshops in the applicant's area of research. Travel to CS-related summer schools for the purpose of learning technical material is also covered. Up to $2000 ($3000 for international conferences) will be available per trip. If the applicant's employer is able to cover part of the cost, CRA-W will reimburse the remaining amount of actual expenses, up to the limit. However, support from the home institution is not required to apply for this program.

This project supports women for whom traveling to a conference/workshop without financial support from one's employer would constitute a hardship, and where attending the event would provide valuable opportunities to network and grow professionally.


In order to be eligible for this program, the applicant must:

  • Be a full-time or part-time female employee of a corporate-funded or government-funded research laboratory in the US or Canada
  • Provide evidence of being an active researcher, either by having a PhD granted from an accredited institution or a record of publications in academic conferences
  • Do research in a subfield of computer science, or be travelling to a conference related to computer science

Students are not eligible for this program. They often have additional sources of support. This program is geared towards women in research labs, who typically don't have any other means of travel support.

Travel funds are provided by the CRA-W organization, therefore the conference or the applicant's research must be in an area related to computer science. The applicant's home institution must be located in the US or Canada. Travel grants are limited to one per person per calendar year.

Preference is given to women just starting out in a research career. Preference is also given to women who have not previously received travel funding through CRA-W. Slight preference is given to women with a paper or poster to present at the conference, though this is not a requirement for acceptance.

Travel funding is limited to two women per conference event. If more than two women apply to attend the same conference, subsequent applications cannot be funded. If you are planning to attend a large or popular conference, please check with the organizers ( before submitting your application.

Application Process

Important: please carefully read the section on "Eligibility" above before proceeding!
Since conferences occur throughout the year, applications will be considered on a rolling basis. A panel of CRA-W members will consider each application and make a decision within 4 weeks of receiving the application.

To apply for a CRA-W Travel Support grant, please send the following materials by email to

  • A current CV
  • A personal statement (1 page) explaining why attending this conference/workshop is important to you
  • A letter from your supervisor at your home institution attesting you are a full- or part-time employee of a corporate-funded or government-funded research lab, and that your institution cannot cover the full costs of your travel to this event. If you will have difficulty obtaining such a letter, please contact us.
  • A budget estimating the costs for attending the meeting; see details below

If accepted, reasonable uncovered travel expenses will be reimbursed, up to a limit of $2000 (or $3000 for international conferences). Grant recipients are encouraged to volunteer their time to the CRA-W (e.g., serving on a panel at a workshop, helping judge future grant applications, mentoring younger women).


Please provide a detailed and realistic budget including conference registration, airfare, lodging, meals, and transportation. International travel is acceptable. You should plan to stay in the conference hotel or in a less expensive hotel. If part of your travel costs can be covered by your employer, state the amount clearly. Decisions will be made based on the amount of funds available to the program, as well as our evaluation of whether the amount requested is appropriate.

Related programs

If you are not eligible for the CRA-W Travel Support program, there are a few other sources for travel funding. Note that we provide this list as a courtesy, and are not responsible for any of the programs listed below.