Professional Development Grants

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the Government of Canada has cautioned against non-essential travel until further notice. In light of this, Professional Development Grants are suspended until further notice.

If you find yourself in need of travel funding, please reach out to your supervisor, department or funding agency. Research and conference travel funds should be included within the grant available to your supervisor. Travel and Research Awards are also available through the university.



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 grant of $499. Grants are distributed by lottery to top-scoring applications coded according to an objective system established by the GSS Grants Allocation Committee.

PDG Application

  • Step 1 – Online Application Form
  • 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!

APPLICATIONS DUE by 4:00 PM for the following dates of travel:

  • January 2, 2020 for travel occurring between February 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020
  • March 1, 2020 for travel occurring between April 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020
  • May 1, 2020 for travel occurring between June 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020
  • July 2, 2020 for travel occurring between August 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020
  • September 4, 2020 for travel occurring between October 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021
  • November 2, 2020 for travel occurring between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021

Application Eligibility:

  • Conference presentations and field research are both eligible for this funding.
  • Practicum and courses are NOT eligible.
  • Students are eligible to receive no more than one (1) award during each Masters program and no more than two (2) awards during each PhD program.
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled Simon Fraser University graduate students, and enrolled during their travel date.

Notification of results usually occurs within one month of the deadline. We do not prescreen or adjudicate applications until after the deadline has passed.

Please note that PDG recipients may be audited and required to produce receipts after conference/research travel has occurred.  

If you are conducting community-based research or working on social justice projects, please contact for more granting opportunities!

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my shortfall is less than $499?
There are no partial awards. Since the grant is for $499, applications with a shortfall of less than $499 will not be considered.

How many grants are there?
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 average number of applicants.

What are my chances of receiving a grant?
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.

Can I apply late when I received acceptance to a conference after the deadline?  
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.

Getting my supervisor’s signature is a challenge…can someone else sign instead?
Yes, signatures from another SFU member of your supervisory committee, your SFU Department Chair or your SFU Department Graduate Chair are also acceptable.

What kind of documents and “proof” must I submit?
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).

What if I lost my PDG cheque, or didn’t receive it in the mail?
In-person cheque pick-up is highly recommended. Due to high incidence of lost cheques, student cheques will no longer be delivered to SFU department offices. If replacement of a lost cheque is required, $25 will be deducted from the requested cheque amount, or the recipient may elect to wait until the last cheque is stale-dated (6 months from cheque date). Cheques may take up to 2 weeks by mail to home addresses.

I have more questions…who should I contact?
Email if you have further questions not addressed on the website.