School of Medicine

SOAR Travel Awards


Medical Student Research Travel Fund Application Information


Baylor College of Medicine School of Medicine students seeking their M.D. are encouraged to pursue research and present their scholarly work at conferences. Faculty research mentors are expected to provide support for students who conduct research under their guidance to attend meetings where students are presenting their work. If mentors or student organizations do not have resources to cover their expenses, students may apply for assistance from the Office of Student Opportunities for Advancement in Research (SOAR).

The following criteria must be met before requesting funding:

  • The student must submit the application a minimum of six weeks prior to the conference/meeting date (including a letter of acceptance or invitation to participate in meeting/conference).
  • Conference/Meeting must take place in the Continental United States.
  • Research being presented must have been conducted while in medical school under the mentorship of a faculty member from BCM or one of its affiliated institutions.
  • The student must be the first author on the paper/poster/abstract.
  • Only one award per presentation (i.e. if co-presenting, only one student is eligible).
  • The student must not be on “at risk” or Probation academic status.
  • The student must be currently enrolled in the SOM to receive the funding (e.g. not graduated).
  • The student must not be on leave of absence at the time of application for any reason.
  • This award is not meant to support dual degree students who performed research as part of their dual degree training, including for dual degrees.
  • Students must have a completed NICER form or be registered in a special research elective. If a special research elective, please provide documentation of enrollment.

Expectation of Students

  • Students are expected to follow the SOM Academic Attendance and Absence Policy.
  • Students will need to contribute to their travel costs as it is unlikely the travel funds will cover all costs.
  • Students must have a receipt and must submit all receipts within 45 days of the travel date or reimbursement requests will be denied.
  • Students must notify SOAR as soon as possible if they decide not to travel or if the travel is cancelled.

Funding Availability and Notification

  • Funding is available for a maximum of one trip per student per academic year (July 1 – June 30), not to exceed $500.
  • The SOAR committee will review student applications on a monthly basis; funding will be awarded based on the information in the application as well as available funds.
  • All applications are welcome, however in the event that funds are limited basic, clinical, and translational research focused projects may be prioritized over case reports or retrospective chart reviews.
  • Students can expect a response from the SOAR Committee within one week of the review meeting.
  • Committee meetings are typically held the third week of the month.
  • Funds are awarded after travel has occurred. However, application must be sent in at least six weeks prior to conference.
  • Receipts must be provided, for reimbursement.

What is eligible for reimbursement?

  • Conference registration
  • Airline/mileage
  • Hotel expense (a maximum of two nights)
  • Meals will not be reimbursed
  • Journal publication costs are not reimbursable
  • Poster printing is not supported, however you may helpful information in the Conference Cost Saving Tips section.

Conference Cost Savings Tips


SOAR Travel Awards are intended to be supplemental, and many conferences will cost more than the maximum award amount of $500. Some approaches to reducing costs include: 

  • Look for student/trainee conference registration rates; these are often a fraction of the full/member cost. 
  • Consider joining a professional society, typically as a student/trainee member, if the member conference registration rates & membership fee are less than the cost of a non-member conference registration.  SOAR Award funds can be used to offset the cost of membership.
  • Check out local hotels which may be lower priced than conference designated hotels
  • Look for conference travel awards which often are used to offset the cost of attending a meeting. This may be an option during abstract submission or conference registration.
  • The BCM Graphic Communications office is available to print posters. There are other options that may prove to be cost effective and efficient. A web search will display service providers.