Research Support Funds

Stimson Fund 

The Department tries to provide $1000 from the Stimson Fund for each student in research support, for use throughout their graduate career. We encourage you to use this money before applying for Restricted Funds. Students in the Organizational Behavior program, who have generous dissertation research funding, are allowed up to $500 from the Psychology Department.

This money must be used for pre-dissertation expenses, i.e. second-year project or conference travel, thesis support, etc. The money can not be used to reimburse other graduate students. It also may not be used to purchase computers, software, or equipment. To make a claim from this fund, the Stimson Fund, request a form from the Business Office. A pro forma budget is filled out and signed by your advisor. It is suggested that you keep your original receipts in case they may help you at tax time. We also need a statement of approval by the IRB for use of human subjects, or a statement from the student that no human subjects are used. You must observe the guidelines regarding the payment of human subjects.  A partial grant won't be issued. Upon the initial request, the entire $1,000 (or $500 for OB students) will be issued via a check made out to the student.

Restricted Funds 

The Department has several Restricted Funds that can be made available for graduate student research. These funds are "restricted" in that the terms of the endowments restrict them to specific areas of research. The Department's Restricted Funds Committee judges applications for large grants, between $500 and $3,500-the "big well"-twice each year. Deadlines for the fall and spring applications will be sent out by e-mail. Small travel or research grants of up to $500-the "little well"--are considered throughout the year by the Chair and Director.

When applying for a grant, you must submit the following electronically to:

Attention: Restricted Funds Committee via Joan Smeltzer at

Your application should include the following:

  • A brief description of your project with an itemized budget.
  • If funding is for work relevant to a faculty member's research grant, a statement from the faculty member explaining why the support cannot be provided from them is required.
  • If you have received prior funding from the most recent Restricted Funds Giveaway, a brief report on that project must accompany your application.
  • Your advisor's endorsement.
  • Approval and/or a statement from the Committee On the Use of Human Subjects if using human subjects. Contact the Committee staff at 617-496-2847 with any questions.
  • If requesting travel expenses, include a copy of the conference registration or invitation.

The Restricted Funds Committee has been able to fund many, but not all, of the requests it receives each application season. Applications may also be funded for a portion of the requested amount. Priority is given as follows:

  1. To approved dissertation research (please provide copy of prospectus approval).
  2. Partial travel support to present first authored papers or posters at mainstream behavioral science meetings and conferences. *See note below
  3. Small grants to fund pilot studies for dissertation research (pre-prospectus meeting).
  4. Second year projects **See note below.
  5. First year projects ** See note below.

* G1 and G2 students may request one small grant (maximum $500) for travel to a conference where they are not presenting. This will count towards the maximum of five "little well" grants given during the student's career.

**  First and Second Year Projects: you should first use the $1000 Stimson Fund the Department provides each student in the program before submitting your restricted funds request.

Small Research Grant Applications OR Small Travel Grant Applications for grants from the "little well" ($500 or less) may be requested year-round and for up to five (5) times during a student's graduate career. Include a brief Confirmation from the Conference where you are presenting and 1st Author documentation if G3 or higher for Travel grants. Students may normally request funding from the "big well" no more than two (2) times during a career, and typically not more than once per academic year. Only under exceptional circumstances may a student receive more than $3,500.00 in a single award. If submitting the same or similar proposal to other sources please inform the committee.

Research and travel grants are considered taxable income to students, who are responsible for reporting this income.  The IRS has a booklet which gives information about whether various kinds of financial aid are taxable or tax-exempt, which you may find helpful.  The exception to this rule is funding for equipment; since the equipment remains the property of Harvard University, it will be purchased through the Business Office and students will order the equipment with department funds, such as a purchase order, instead of being reimbursed directly. See the Business Office for details. Equipment includes specialized hardware or software for research purposes, or occasionally shared lab computers used for specific research projects within a faculty member's lab. Neither the restricted funds or the Stimson Fund may be used to buy personal computers, which are defined as desktop or laptop computers used exclusively by a single student, which often leave the building, and which are used for both academic/research and personal purposes.

Questions about limitations of the restricted funds or about the application process should be addressed to Krista Lester