Departmental Research Support

Stimson Fund 

The Department tries to provide up to $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 other 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 or RAs. It also may not be used to purchase computers, software, books, or equipment. To make a claim from this fund, please complete this form and check "Stimson Fund". 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.  

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 $5,000, twice each year. Deadlines for the fall and spring applications will be sent out by email. Small travel or research grants of up to $500 are considered throughout the year by the Chair and Director.

When applying for a grant, you must submit the following via email to Joan Smeltzer ( with the subject heading “Attn: Restricted Funds Committee". 

For large grant applications, please use follow the guidelines for large grants on the Restricted Funds request form. Your application should include the following:

  • A brief description of your project with an itemized budget.
  • If the requested funding is for work relevant to a faculty member's research grant, a statement from the faculty member explaining why they cannot support this fund request, and their approval, is required.
  • Advisor sign-off on the Student/Non-employee Postdoc Business Expense Certification (or statement from student about what makes this independent research). 
  • Approval and/or a statement from the Committee On the Use of Human Subjects if using human subjects. Contact the IRB staff with any questions.
  • Students should be prepared to submit a report on their use of previously awarded funds, if requested by the Restricted Funds Committee.
  • 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. Travel awards may support conference fees, membership fees, or similar expenses for virtual events while Harvard’s COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. 
  3. To fund pilot studies for dissertation research (pre-prospectus meeting).
  4. Second year projects*
  5. First year projects*

*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.

Applications for a small grant ($500 or less) may be requested at any time of the year for up to a maximum of five (5) awards. Please follow the instructions for small grants on the Restricted Funds request form.

  • Only under exceptional circumstances will there be large research awards for more than $5,000 per annual award.
  • Only under exceptional circumstances will there be more than two (2) large grants awarded for research.
  • If submitting the same or similar proposal to other sources, please inform the Committee.

It is important for Harvard to classify Harvard business expenses and fellowship payments correctly, as the classification determines tax and reporting requirements and the proper way to process payments. Determinations must be made prior to disbursement of funds. Personal preference is not relevant to appropriate categorization. Regardless of the Department’s determination, the IRS remains the final arbiter in determining taxability of student research or travel funds.

Equipment remains the property of Harvard University and must be purchased through the Business Office. Funding of equipment must be specifically approved by the RF Committee. 

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