Awards and Travel Grants

BIGS Neuroscience has a number of prizes and awards available for excellent academic achievement each year.

BIGS Neuroscience Thesis Award

We are happy to invite nominations for the BIGS Neuroscience Thesis Award. This annual award was created to honor the most outstanding doctoral thesis successfully defended by a BIGS Neuroscience Student in a given year. The winner will receive 500 EUR and a certificate.

Rules and Guidelines for the submission of entries for “BIGS Neuroscience Dissertation of the Year”

  • The doctoral thesis must have been successfully defended between 1 January and 31 December of the preceding year.
  • The student must have fully completed the BIGS Neuroscience curriculum.
  • The candidate must be nominated by a PI of BIGS Neuroscience.
  • Each PI may nominate one student per year.

The submission must comprise:

  • letter of support by the thesis supervisor (2 pages max)
  • short summary of thesis and CV of student (2 pages max)
  • copy of the certificate of successful defense of the doctoral thesis
  • copy of BIGS Neuroscience certificate
  • PDF of the thesis (or download link if the file size exceeds 10 MB)

The documents should be emailed as a single PDF to BIGS Neuroscience ( The deadline for the call in 2021 is 31 July 2021.

The BIGS Neuroscience Steering Committee will be the jury and select the winner. If none of the nominations are considered to be outstanding, the jury may decide to not award the prize.

Travel Grants & Grants for virtual events

BIGS Neuroscience is pleased to support BIGS Neuroscience graduate students with grants to participate at virtual conferences, online courses, or to travel and participate at renowned conferences (e.g. SfN or Sunposium) or innovative methods courses (e.g. Neuroimaging Technique Course at MPFI in Florida). Furthermore, we will support research stays of BIGS Neuroscience students at other universities abroad. These stays can have a maximum duration of two months.

Eligibility Criteria, Rules and Required Materials for application, and application procedure:

BIGS Neuroscience offers grants three times per year under the following conditions:

General application deadlines: Yearly on February 28th, May 31st, and September 30th

Grants for virtual courses & virtual conferences

Important: The costs can only be (partially) covered by BIGS Neuroscience if your grant to participate in a virtual course or virtual conference has been approved in advance by the BIGS Neuroscience Steering Committee.

Travel Grants

Travel to NON-EU countries: Maximum of 1000 Euros
Travel to EU countries (and UK, Switzerland, Lichtenstein): Maximum of 500 Euros

Note: The total amount might not cover all your expenses! For details on the amount of your daily allowance, please contact the graduate school office directly. 

Application procedure: 

Applications have to be submitted to the BIGS Neuroscience office via email ( Please submit a single PDF file containing all the information and documents listed below. 

What do I need to submit if I want to attend a conference or a hands-on methods course?

Half-page paragraph describing what the applicant hopes to achieve by attending the conference or training course. It should describe how the conference or training topic relates to your own work and why you think that attending the conference or course will benefit your work and career. It should be clear why the conference you selected is particularly appropriate compared to other meetings in this research field. Note that preference may be given to small conferences that offer plenty of opportunity for scientific interactions (Gordon Research Conferences, Cold Spring Harbor Courses, or similar meetings).
Copy of the applicant’s abstract that will be submitted for the conference. If a travel grant is awarded, awardees have to provide proof of abstract submission for reimbursement of travel expenses. For methods courses without the possibility of presentation, the abstract requirement will be waived.
One-page letter of recommendation from the applicant’s supervisor.
One- to two-page CV of the applicant, including training (reference to start of doctorate applicant, honors/awards, and publications).

Graduate students who are members of BIGS Neuroscience at the time of the conferenceand in good standing on fulfilling the curriculum requirements.

The applicant is the first author of an abstract to be submitted for the conference OR the applicant participates in a methods course.
During their membership in BIGS Neuroscience, BIGS PhD students may receive a maximum of one travel grant.

What do I need to submit if I want to conduct a research stay abroad?
– One- to two-page summary of the PhD project for which the research stay is to be carried out.

Letter of motivation from the applicant. Here it should be made clear at what stage the doctoral project is currently at and how the research stay will benefit the PhD project and the candidate.

– A letter of support from the thesis supervisor.

– One- to two-page CV of the applicant including training (reference to start of doctorate, awards and publications).

Graduate students who are members of BIGS Neuroscience at the time of the research stay and in good standing on fulfilling the curriculum requirements.

During their membership in BIGS Neuroscience, BIGS PhD students may receive a maximum of one travel grant.

External sources for
travel grants
Besides the BIGS Neuroscience travel grant you can apply for travel grants from various other sources. Here is a selection of other sources. Please check their websites for the valid application requirements and deadlines. To apply for a travel grant you need to follow the application procedures and fulfil the requirements of the respective provider. BIGS Neuroscience does not offer these grants.

Bonner Forum Biomedizin (BFB): The BFB aims to provide a suitable platform for the exchange of scientific knowledge between scientists with basic and medical research background. Financial support and resources are raised by the University of Bonn, the University Hospital of Bonn, and by the Ministry of Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. You can subscribe to the BFB newsletter in order to receive news from this platform.

Bonn Graduate Center (BGC): The Bonn Graduate Center supports doctoral researchers from the University of Bonn with funding for participation in international conferences

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): The DAAD supports active participation of scientists in congresses and lectures abroad with the congress and lecture journey program

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