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Professional meetings, conferences, workshops and other scholarly activities are critical for career advancement. Expenses for dependent care during travel to these events present a major challenge for postdoctoral scholars (postdocs), both male and female, as most funding agencies and training funds do not cover such expenses.  Postdoctoral scholars, in particular, are in need of these travel opportunities to develop a professional network and identify career opportunities prior to entering the job market (the postdoc position being the last “step” in their training). This grant program seeks to alleviate expenses of child- and adult-dependent care costs incurred by postdocs during these vital professional development travel opportunities.

This program is funded and administered by the Office of Postdoctoral Scholar Affairs and also funded by the Office of Research Affairs.


To be eligible to apply for a Postdoctoral Scholar Dependent Care Professional Travel Grant, the person must be a UC San Diego postdoctoral scholar in the following title codes during the time of travel:

  • Postdoctoral Scholar — Employee (Title Code 3252)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar — Fellow (Title Code 3253)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar — Paid Direct (Title Code 3254)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar - Employee NEX (Title Code 3255)
  • Interim Postdoctoral Scholar - Employee (Title Code 3256)

We encourage applications from all UC San Diego postdoctoral scholars regardless of gender from all UC San Diego Departments and Divisions.

A postdoctoral scholar may apply for additional travel grants during the same fiscal year, but the total funds awarded will not exceed $1000 to any individual postdoc per fiscal year.

An adult or child may be considered a dependent in the following categories:

  • a healthy child (≤ 12 years) who resides with the applicant and for whom the applicant is a primary caregiver
  • a child/adolescent (≤18 years) who is physically or mentally disabled, requires assistance with daily activities, resides with the applicant, and for whom the applicant is a primary caregiver
  • a disabled adult/elder (child, spouse, parent, parent-in-law or grandparent) who spends at least eight hours every day in the applicant's home and for whom the applicant has caregiving responsibility

Submission Periods and Award Application

Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis.

The application form must be submitted at least 2 months and no more than 6 months in advance of the travel dates. 

If you submit the form less than 2 months or more than 6 months in advance of your travel dates, your application will not be reviewed.

If no home care is available, please explain why in your detailed justification for the grant.

Note that modifications, changes, or updates to submitted and approved proposals must be reviewed and approved before expenses are incurred.  Failure to do so may mean that expenses will not be able to be reimbursed and/or that the award may be forfeited.

Selection Process

Recipients of this award will be selected by a committee composed of faculty, representatives from the UC San Diego postdoctoral community, Postdoctoral Association and Office of Postdoctoral Scholar Affairs.

In addition to the specifics of the request, the following will also be taken into consideration:

  • Availability of funds: Funding will be allocated for awards every 6 months to cover awards from July – December and January – June. Funds will be distributed to selected applications in the order in which they are received during each 6 month period. If all available funds are awarded before the end of the 6 month period, further applications will not be reviewed.
  • Priority will be given to postdoctoral scholars who will be engaging in critical scholarly work (e.g. presenting at conference, workshop or performing field research)
  • Number of professional development activities in which the postdoctoral scholar has participated in the last year
  • Number of times the postdoctoral scholar has applied for this award since July 1, 2018
  • If the postdoctoral scholar is part of an underrepresented Department/Division when compared to the total applicant pool
  • If the postdoctoral scholar has received a Dependent Care Professional Travel Grant in the past

Recipients will be notified of the award decision at least 1 month in advance of their travel dates.

Award Distribution

Once selected, recipients will be sent a pre-evaluation assessment via email.  This assessment will need to be completed before the time of travel.

Once travel has occurred, the recipients need to submit receipts (e.g. airline ticket receipt, invoice/receipt for caregiver services rendered, etc.) or caregiver invoices for the amount requested no later than 45 days after travel. Expense receipts/invoices submitted later than 45 days after travel will be ineligible for funding.

The recipients will also be sent a post-evaluation assessment via email.

Both assessments (pre- and post- evaluations) and receipts/invoices need to be submitted before the award will be issued.

The award is approved explicitly for the expenses described in the application.  Modifications or changes to approved expenses must be submitted prior to travel and approved, or they will not be eligible to claim as expenses.

For an example of a caregiver invoice, click here [Excel].

Please note that this award is taxable income and reported on your W-2 as “other income.” To alleviate some of the tax deduction, the award amount will be augmented by 20%.  For example, if $1000 is awarded, we will provide a total of $1200.00. 

However, please be aware that we cannot account for every tax situation and yours may require a higher tax rate and payroll deduction.  If you would like to estimate the amount of tax that you may be paying based on your annual income (including this award), you may use the IRS tax tables found on their website:

If you are awarded and no longer willing or able to travel, please contact to cancel your grant request.

Examples of Fundable Travel

The Dependent Care Professional Travel Grant Program will grant funds to be used for either child- or adult-dependent care.  Please note that modifications to an approved proposal must be reviewed before the expenses are incurred and unauthorized changes may mean the award is forfeited. Examples of these expenses are as follows:

  • Extra dependent care at home while the recipient is traveling
  • On-site dependent care while at a conference or meeting
  • Transportation of dependent and/or caregiver to conference or meeting location
  • Accommodations and meals for a caregiver when s/he stays overnight to care for the dependent
  • The cost of shipping expressed breastmilk for a child at home while the recipient is traveling

Program Impact

2016-2017 Recipient Outcomes

For the first year of the program (2016-2017), recipients reported that attending a professional development activity with this dependent care funding allowed recipients to:

  • 92% made progress on academic work
  • 100% expanded or maintained professional network
  • 100% increase visibility for professional development
  • >85% facilitate new or existing collaborations
  • >85% developed new project ideas and received direct opportunities, such as a speaking invitation to national meeting and job interview

2016-2017 Recipient Demographics



This pilot program was supported in part by an Innovation Grant from the Vice Chancellor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and InclusionAlexandra Bortnick, Ph.D., former Chair of the UC San Diego Postdoctoral Association, served as Principal Investigator on this successful grant application.  The Office of Postdoctoral Scholar Affairs, Postdoctoral Association and the Committee on the Status of Women are also sponsors of the pilot.

For a complete breakdown of the pilot program and outcomes, view the Innovation Grant 2016 presentation: [PDF].

Due to the success of the pilot program, Vice Chancellor for Research and Office of Postdoctoral Scholar Affairs will continue the program in 2017-18 with an increased budget to allow for individual awards of $1000.

Other Family-friendly Opportunities and Resources

UC San Diego Maternity Benefits for Postdoctoral Scholars

UC San Diego Family-friendly Programs and Services

National Postdoctoral Association Childcare Resources

Please note that UC San Diego postdocs who apply to these opportunities are still eligible for the UC San Diego Dependent Care Travel.

Lactation Accommodation at UC San Diego

UC San Diego Early Childhood Education Center

UC San Diego Academic Senate Faculty Dependent Care Travel Grant

Please note that this grant is only available to senate faculty at UC San Diego, not postdocs. Postdocs may only apply for the Postdoctoral Scholar Dependent Care Professional Travel Grant.


For questions, please contact Heather Dillon at or (858) 822-5915.