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Maggie Benston Centre, #2203, 8888 University Dr, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6
Professional Development Grants

Professional Development Grants

Please read the following before completing a PDG application:
At its June 11, 2024 meeting, the GSS Council voted in favour of providing the funding needed to support up to ten (10) PDG projects for the current application round (deadline: July 2). Given the number of awards, and that we are receiving a high number of applications, several eligible projects will once again not be able to receive any funding. And in order to maximize the number of members who receive an award, any member who already received funding for another PDG project on or after September 1, 2023 will automatically be placed on a waiting list. They will only receive an award if their project is deemed eligible and all first time applicants have been fully funded.


** In the spirit of inclusivity and to highlight our commitment to reconciliation, the GSS is dedicating $5,000 to Black and Indigenous Students/Studies, using funds from the current PDG budget, starting in April 2022 **

The GSS is proud to provide a source of funding to graduate students presenting at conferences or engaging in field research. Graduate students taking part in these professional development activities may apply for a PDG. Please note that only expenses incurred directly by the applicant can be covered by the grant and so travel costs associated with family members or other guests will automatically be excluded from the total cost calculation. As we normally receive too many applications to fund all projects, awards will be distributed by lottery to eligible applications, as determined by an objective ranking system established by the GSS Grants Allocation Committee.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The maximum amount that can be awarded to a successful PDG application is $499, based solely on the applicant’s clearly demonstrated unfunded travel expenses (funding shortfall). Although you should respect the deadlines outlined below, even after you have submitted your application, we ask that you contact us promptly regarding any new information that could materially influence your eligibility for a grant or modify your estimated funding shortfall. Such information may include, but is not limited to, new funding sources, delayed or denied visa applications, changes in your participation in a conference, etc.

PDG Application

  • Step 1 – Online Application Form – please scroll down to access the application form at the bottom of this page.
  • Step 2 – Email this paper form to OR drop it off in person at the GSS Office (MBC 2203)
    NOTE: Both steps must be completed for the application to be considered!

Masters students may only receive one (1) Professional Development Grant during their program, while PhD students may receive up to two (2) Professional Development Grants. 

Please note that Professional Development Grants will be given preferentially to members who:

  • Are conducting academically relevant field research, and have clearly demonstrated financial needs; or
  • Are attending an international level event that is academically relevant (conference, colloquium, etc.), presenting research at this event, and whose funding needs are high. 

Travel costs to procure a visa ahead of international travel are not eligible for this grant; please note that most travel visas can be delivered to Vancouver. 

Even if you meet all of the eligibility criteria (and especially if you meet only some of the criteria), we may be unable to fund your PDG application. We regularly receive more applications than we can fund and so have to use a lottery-based system to determine which projects receive an award. 

Note: The processing time for all applications is at least one month. We ask for your patience as we do receive a high number of applications for each round; we hope to have results to our applicants roughly one month following the deadline of each PDG round.

If you have additional questions, please consult the “Frequently Asked Questions” section at the bottom of this page. 

The application dates for the 2023-2024 academic year (tentatively) are: 

    • September 1, 2023 at 4pm for conference/travel dates between August 1 and November 30, 2023
    • November 1, 2023 at 4pm for conference/travel dates between October 1 and January 30, 2024
    • January 2, 2024 at 4pm for conference/travel dates between December 1 and March 31, 2024
    • March 1, 2024 at 4pm for conference/travel dates between February 1 and May 31, 2024
    • May 1, 2024 at 4pm for conference/travel dates between April 1 and July 31, 2024
    • July 2 at 4pm for conference/travel dates between June 1 and September 30, 2024

Fill out the form today

Click on the button on the right to redirect yourself to the application form.


You may still apply for an award. The amount awarded will be up to the discretion of the Grants Allocation Committee.

Usually, 15 grants are allocated to each travel period. Any declined awards are reallocated to the next period or to a deadline with a greater than the average number of applicants.

Grants are not guaranteed due to the high number of applicants and funding limitations. We usually receive 30-70 applications for each deadline, making the best odds 50% or less. If your first application is unsuccessful, you may reapply for the next deadline, as long as travel occurs within the eligible time period.

No, late applications will not be accepted for any reason. You may apply for the next deadline, as long as travel occurs within the eligible time period.

Yes, signatures from another SFU member of your supervisory committee, your SFU Department Chair or your SFU Department Graduate Chair are also acceptable.

In all cases, you must provide receipts for all the expenses you list. If you have not yet finalized your expenses you may provide quotes from travel, accommodation or conference websites.

If you are presenting at a conference, you must provide ALL of the following:
(1) proof that you have registered (paid) to attend that conference (usually an online registration receipt);
(2) proof that your paper or poster has been accepted (usually a letter or email from the conference association advising that your paper/poster has been accepted for presentation, or an official conference program showing your name and paper/poster title); and
(3) the abstract that you submitted.

If you are conducting field research you must submit documentation that proves you are travelling for research purposes. This should include correspondence with a host organization (e.g., another university, lab or archive)

The GSS Administrator will contact successful applicants to obtain their banking information for direct deposit. Please note that there is a minimum two week processing period.

Email if you have further questions not addressed on the website.