Foreign travel grants fund gets a boost

A $20,000 allocation from the president's office is a welcome addition to a fund that helps faculty with international travel expenses, says Heimir Geirsson, associate professor of philosophy.

Geirsson chairs the committee that manages the Foreign Travel Grant Program, a competitive program that helps ease the financial burden on faculty who travel internationally.

Generally, faculty members who take faculty improvement leaves, give speeches or present research are responsible for their own international travel expenses, Geirsson said. Such expenses include airfare, lodging and food costs.

Through the Foreign Travel Grant Program, faculty may apply for grants that defray up to 75 percent of those travel costs.  With contributions from the president's office ($20,000), Faculty Senate ($27,840) and provost's office ($15,000), the grant program will have nearly $64,000 to distribute to faculty travelers in FY13, Geirsson said.

In FY12, the program had $43,000 -- enough to provide grants to 46 of the 94 applicants.

The Foreign Travel Grant Program is important to Iowa State in many ways, Geirsson said.

"When Iowa State faculty make presentations internationally, it's great advertisement for the university," he said. "Many faculty end up working on research projects with people they've met abroad. Additional funding sometimes comes out of these collaborations."