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Sigma Xi support Grants in Aid of Research for students

There are two annual deadlines:

March 15 Deadline

  • Application form available online December 15
  • Funding decisions announced by e-mail in mid May
  • Award funds disbursed by early June

October 1 Deadline

  • Application form available online July 1
  • Funding decisions announced by e-mail in mid December
  • Awards funds disbursed by late January

Award Levels:

  • Up to $1,000 for most areas of the sciences and engineering
  • Up to $2,500 for vision-related research
  • Up to $5,000 for Astronomy, meteor, and meteorite research

Proposals are evaluated based on scientific merit and how well they align with the funding criteria.

Visit sigmaxi.org/giar for guidelines, a list of fundable expenses, and more information about the program. Sigma Xi’s Grants in Aid of Research (GIAR) program helps launch hundreds of STEM careers every year by awarding two cohorts of student research grants and an average of $200,000 in total grant money each year. The deadline for Spring 2023 grant applications is March 15 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Don’t miss out!

Applicant Eligibility

  1. US Citizenship and residence not required. International applications are welcome.
  2. Only undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in degree seeking programs may apply.
  3. Undergraduates who are graduating seniors must plan to complete their research prior to graduation.
  4. While membership in Sigma Xi is not a requirement for application, designated funds are available to members or whose primary advisors are members.
  5. Applicants seeking a second Grant in Aid of Research must submit a Follow-up Report Form prior to the application deadline for a new grant.
  6. Applicants are eligible to receive a total of two Grants in Aid of Research
  7. Separate applications are accepted from co-workers on the same project. Each applicant must demonstrate how the applicant’s work is a unique contribution to the larger project. Where possible, each co-worker’s application should request funding for expenses related to that applicant’s work only.

Fundable Expenses:

  • Purchase of specific equipment necessary to undertake the proposed research project.
  • Travel to and from a research site.
  • Supplies specific to the proposed project not generally available in an institutional research laboratory.
  • Reimbursement for human subjects (psychology studies).

Expenses Not Fundable:

  • Travel to a scientific meetings or symposia
  • Educational programs, tuition, general room and board, textbooks, curriculum development.
  • Purchase of supplies and equipment considered standard and normally available in an institutional research laboratory (i.e. common laboratory chemicals, petri dishes, agar, data storage devices, pipettes, glassware, etc).
  • Salaries or stipends for applicants or assistants.
  • Manuscript preparation and publication costs.
  • Indirect costs or institutional administrative fees.
  • Requests for a third Grant in Aid of Research.

Funding Exceptions

The following expenses are not generally funded. However, an applicant who demonstrates a particular need may receive funding if a detailed justification is provided in the budget section of the application.

Demonstration of support from the applicant’s institution or department for other aspects of the project may strengthen such requests.

  • Computer Equipment, software, digital phones, GPS and cameras. Note these items, if funded, remain the property of the instutitional lab at the conclusion of the grant.
  • Institutional or departmental equipment use fees. Except in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and computer science, fees for using institutional or departmental equipment and facilities are not generally funded. Equipment use fees for astronomy, mathematics and computer science are generally fundable.
  • Transcription or analytical services. Except in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and computer science where transcription and analytical services are generally funded without additional justification.

Defining Standard Equipment and Supplies

As noted, Sigma Xi does not fund standard equipment or supplies.

However, what is standard in one laboratory or in one field of research may not be standard in another.

The basic question to answer is, “does your lab routinely stock this item or is it specific to your research?” If the material or equipment is specific to your research and would not be ordered unless you were conducting your research, then it is an appropriate request from Sigma Xi.

If a budget item is open to interpretation, additional justification in the budget section should be provided by the applicant. Reviewers are professional career researchers matched to proposals by general field of research and are aware of laboratory standards in terms of equipment and materials.

Funding Amounts:

  • Grants amounts range from $400 to $1,000 (with an average award of $600) except as noted below:
  • Astronomy: grants in this field are awarded up to a maximum of $5,000.
  • Vision Research: grants in this field are awarded up to a maximum of $2,500. The research must have implication for human vision in order to qualify.

Application decisions are based on the strength of three key elements of a grant proposal: Proposed Investigation, Budget and a Recommendation Form from Research Advisor. A sample proposal can be found here.

You should also view the Sample Rating Form (PDF download) to see how reviewers evaluate proposals.

Proposed Investigation

  • The Proposed Investigation Section is limited to 500 words — be thorough but concise.
  • Literature Citations: Literature used to prepare the proposal or project should be listed on a separate page after the Proposed Investigation. In line citations (number enclosed in parentheses) in the proposal should refer to this list of Literature. The literature list does not count towards to 500 word limit in the Proposed Investigation.
  • Compose your proposal offline and seek advice from your research advisor on how best to present your research
  • You may return to edit your proposal any time before the application deadline.
  • State your goals, hypothesis and/or research question clearly.
  • State the background information in your proposal very briefly. Avoid the common pitfall of presenting too much background and neglecting to develop methods and objectives.
  • Describe your methods clearly, showing how they are used to address your hypothesis or research question.
  • Indicate the significance of this research and how your study contributes to the big picture of research in your field of study.
  • If the proposed work is part of an ongoing project, clearly state how your work meshes with the larger project and how your proposed work is a unique contribution.
  • Uploading your Proposed Investigation: your proposal must be uploaded through the online form as requested.
  • Tables, figures and images: You may include up to 2 images or tables in your proposal narrative. Captions do not count towards the 500 word proposal limit, but they should be brief or the application will be penalized.


  • Make certain that budget items fit within the scope of the GIAR Program. Inappropriate budget requests are the number one reason for denying funding. See the Application Guidelines for more information
  • Items in your budget should clearly relate to the methodology described in your Proposed Investigation section.
  • Budget questions will include the full project budget which can be highlighted in a general nature
  • Detail expenses you wish Sigma Xi to fund.
  • Include justifications for expenses for items that may not normally receive funding. See Application Guidelines for more information
  • Appropriate formatting for a budget would look something like:

Full Project Budget

$5,000 – Including Item A, Item B, and Item C. (Please see Other Funding Sources for more information)

Items Requested from Sigma Xi

$200 – Travel to Research Site – 400 miles @ .50 per mile

$100 – Supply Item 1

$100 – Supply Item 2 (10 @ $10 each)

$600 – Computer Equipment Purchase*

$1,000 – Total Requested From Sigma Xi

*Budget Explanation for Item that is a Funding Exception according to Sigma Xi Funding Guidelines

Recommendation Form

  • The recommendation form from your research advisor is due the same day as the other application material. With this in mind, it is vital that you begin your application some time before the deadline date in order to give your reference writer time to complete and submit the form.
  • References are contacted by email using the name and email address you provide when creating the application. Have reference’s email address when you start the application.
  • References should be professional researchers or educators and not fellow students

Final Suggestions:

  • Meet the deadlines: March 15 and October 1 annually. This means that your application and recommendation form must be received by these dates.
  • After you begin your application, you may log back in to make edits any time before the deadline.
  • You may log back into your application to verify that your recommendation form has been submitted. If not, you may send an email reminder to your reference by clicking on the appropriate button near the contact information for that reference.
  • It is your obligation to make certain that all material is correct before you click the submit button.

Email questions to giar@sigmaxi.org.https://www.sigmaxi.org/programs/grants-in-aid-of-research/recordings