Neuroscience Travel Grant Awards

These travel grants are available each Fall and Spring semesters to undergraduate Neuroscience Program students. They are open to students who are presenting at a research conference on behalf of their research lab. These awards can be used for hotel accommodations, transportation, food and membership fees. These awards are typically reimbursed up to $1,000. 

Note: The money is not given to students prior to traveling. The Neuroscience Program will email students each semester to give explicit details on how to apply for the travel grant and the application deadline date.

Fall 2023 only – Society for Neuroscience Conference in Washington, D.C. – November 11-15, 2023

The Neuroscience Program provides students with an opportunity to attend the annual Society for Neuroscience Conference using the travel grant whenever it is being held in Washington D.C. The Program has funds to send up to 50 students to this conference during the Fall 2023 semester.

Note: Since we try to send 50 students to this conference, funds may not be available for the Spring 2024 Travel Grant. 

The first 50 students to register to attend the SfN Conference will be given a maximum travel grant of $300 to include the Registration ($34) Fee and SFN Membership Fee ($135), leaving $131 to use towards transportation and food.

Application Process – Fall 2023 only

All students (up to 50 students) who wish to attend the Society for Neuroscience Conference must be a member of the society. If you are not already a member, you must pay the membership fee of $34 to become a member. After you receive your membership number, then you can register for the conference. The advance registration fee is $135 until October 2, 2023. After that date, the registration fee is $170. Once you have registered for the conference, please complete this application and return to Rodney Williams. Please make sure to include your receipts for the membership and registration fees when returning the application.

Application Deadline

  • Fall 2023: 4 PM September 22, 2023
  • Spring 2024: **Please note that there are no funds available for the Travel Grant for the Spring 2024 semester. 

Application Materials

Applications to attend the Society for Neuroscience Conference in Washington, DC, must be submitted
on or prior to September 22, 2023, 4:00 p.m. Students do not need to put in a separate application
for the travel grant in order to attend the conference. However, they must send the receipts showing
payment of the SfN membership fee as well as the SfN conference registration fee. The receipts should
show how payment was made. If made with a credit card, it should show the last 4 digits of the credit
card on the receipt.

Reimbursement Process

  • Funds for reimbursements will be given after the travel has taken place, not in advance.
  • Students should keep all credit card, cash, and itemized receipts. Students will not be reimbursed for alcohol.
  • Travel Grant Recipient Form

David S. Olton Research Award

The David S. Olton Award is given annually to support undergraduate research in the area of the biology of behavior, broadly defined. Undergraduate students from Johns Hopkins psychology, behavioral biology, and neuroscience are encouraged to apply. The award is $4,000. This award is a research award, designed specifically to help students complete a research project of their own that they might not otherwise be able to carry out due to financial limitations. The award can potentially cover a wide range of costs including stipend support (either during the academic year or the summer) or supplies essential to the project. Note the award is not intended for permanent lab equipment for PIs (see below).

Deadline: 4 PM December 8, 2023

Questions? Contact Dr. Bohn

Application should include:

A. A letter of support from your supervisor, with your name in the filename, uploaded here: Olton 2023 (Supervisors should describe their mentorship and logistical support for you and the project, assess your ability to conduct the research and address any potential questions on fund use for equipment)

B. The following, as a single pdf file with your name in the filename and uploaded here: Olton 2023

  1. A short proposal (up to a maximum of 4 pages + 1 page Literature Cited), the proposal should include:
    • An Introduction that describes the background to a broad expert scientific audience, and the research question(s) and/or hypothesis(es) of the project. 
    • A Methods section that describes how the hypothesis will be tested, what techniques will be used and the expected resulting data.
    • A Student Contribution and Timeline section that includes specifically what the student will be doing on the project and how/whether the project ties into other researchers’ concurrent projects in the laboratory
    • Literature Cited (at least 5)
  2. A 1-page budget with justification including how this award will contribute to your ability to complete the project. If equipment is included for the laboratory it must be clear why this is crucial to the applicant’s project. This should also be discussed in the letter of support from the research sponsor.
  3. A 1-page summary of your research and course experience relevant to the project
  4. An unofficial transcript

Key criteria for grant selection in critical order are:

  • Is the project within the scope of the award – behavioral biology broadly defined? Is there behavioral relevance to the project?
  • Student independence, contribution and feasibility.
    • Was the proposal written by the student?
    • Does the student demonstrate an understanding of the project (including literature cited)?
    • Is the proposed research feasible for the student to conduct?
  • Quality of science.

The award was established in remembrance of David S. Olton, a professor of psychology at the Johns Hopkins University, who was a leader in the field of hippocampus research. During his career, Olton published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and pioneered the use of the radial arm maze as an important tool in the investigation of learning and memory. He contributed to our understanding of the hippocampus by investigating how aging affects memory, and exploring the use of drug therapies to curb memory loss. Olton also helped design the parameters of the existing Program in Behavioral Biology, and was influential in the decision to renovate Ames Hall.

Shortly after his passing in 1994, his family established the fund in his honor. As undergraduate research had been an interest of Olton’s during his time at Hopkins, the fund was designed with that aspect in mind.

Additional Undergraduate Research Awards 

The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences offers an incredible array of opportunities for student researchers. See all of the undergraduate research awards available on the Undergraduate Research, Scholarly & Creative Activity website.