Women in Physics Group Grants

Grants for women in physics groups to improve recruitment & retention of undergraduate women in physics

The APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) invites applications for grants to women in physics (WiP) groups at colleges and universities. The purpose of these grants is to support the CSWP mission towards the recruitment and retention of women in physics at the undergraduate level. WiP groups are uniquely able to address this mission locally by encouraging and supporting the participation of women in their departments. 

See past recipients.

Purpose

The purpose of this program is to improve recruitment and/or retention of women in physics through the (1) establishment of new WiP groups, (2) expansion or strengthening of existing groups, and (3) improvement in sustainability within new and existing groups. To this end, CSWP is calling for proposals from WiP groups in the United States and abroad who wish to provide meaningful experiences to students pursuing or considering an undergraduate degree in physics. Attendees of the CUWiP conferences are especially encouraged to apply.

Proposal

Proposals are accepted each year in October. A successful proposal will be focused on recruitment and/or community building, and may include networking, mentoring, professional development, and/or scientific activities.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Career workshops
  • Workshops on communication, leadership, dealing with bias, or other skills
  • Classroom visits to high schools, middle schools, or local colleges
  • Seminars relevant to women’s participation in physics (one possibility is the Communication and Negotiation Skills Seminars for Women, free seminars sponsored by APS)
  • Lab tours or field trips
  • Research expos, including poster sessions or research mini-talks
  • Book club or journal club
  • Coordinating with other women in STEM advocacy groups on joint events
  • Group lunches, dinners, or social events

A critical part of the proposal is a discussion of how the proposed activities are well-suited to the type and size of department at your institution. Preference will be given to proposals that show high potential for sustainability after the terms of the grant are completed.

Unallowable requests include travel support for students to attend APS CUWiP or other APS national meetings, as well as scholarships for individual students. Limited travel support provided through grants from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy is available to participants whose home institution is unable to provide full funding for travel to CUWiP, and there are many travel grant opportunities for students attending the APS March Meeting and April Meeting.

Award amount

Grants up to a total of $1,000 over one to two years are available.

Terms

  • Funds will be distributed as one lump sum to a group account at the beginning of the grant and are to be used within a one or two year period, ending October 31. APS funds cannot be used to support university overhead or indirect costs.
  • A brief report on WiP activities and expenditures is required at the end of each year (even if funding will be used over the course of two years). A template will be provided for the activity reports. Each group should provide a copy of their report to their department chair.
  • WiP group leaders are required to complete a survey before they apply for the grant and at the end of each academic year (the same survey will be completed)
  • Acknowledgment of APS support is required on the WiP website, social media, and at events

Application process

Graduate or undergraduate students are eligible to apply. The group’s faculty mentor must be an APS member. Groups can re-apply, though preference will be given to new applications.

Step 1: Fill out the survey.

Step 2: Submit the following information in a single PDF document to women@aps.org.

1. Cover sheet with:

  • The contact information of the applicant, including name, address, phone number, and email
  • The name of your WiP group
  • The department and institution of which you are a member
  • The name and contact information (including email and phone) of your faculty mentor
  • Amount of funding requested
  • Names of officers of the group and whether they are APS members (existing groups)
  • Date group was established (existing groups)
  • Estimate of current membership or average participation at events (existing groups)
  • Is the group recognized as a student organization by the university or department (y/n)?
  • Indication that the group leader has completed the online survey.

2. Narrative description of your program (no more than two pages) including:

  • A description of the activities of the group (either proposed or existing), how these will address the stated goals of the APS WiP program, and the potential impact of these activities.
  • A description of the leadership structure of the group including the responsibilities of each position, and how leadership is transferred to improve sustainability. If there is a plan to become an official student group, please include this.

3. Budget (one page). Provide a breakdown of what funds are requested and a short justification for each amount (e.g., “We request $200 for refreshments for our monthly journal club discussions on gender and race. We expect to have 10 meetings over the course of the year with an average of 10 participants.”).

If you are unsure of the budget for certain events or activities, please reach out to your faculty mentor, or see our list of WiP groups and feel free to reach out to them. If you are a new group, they can help you make better estimates.

4. Letter of support from a faculty mentor. Although our intention is that students submit proposals, the involvement of a faculty member is required. They will know the local rules and help get approval to submit the proposal and receive funds.

5. Letter of support from your department chair (if different from the faculty mentor).  This should address how the department will help sustain the program (e.g., contributing funds, providing meeting space, hosting email list, etc.).

Selection criteria

Selection will be based on:

  1. How well the proposal addresses the stated purpose of the grant program
  2. The impact of proposed activities on creating a new group or expanding an existing group, especially if expansion targets undergraduates
  3. Activities focusing on inclusive support for women who belong to one or more groups such as underrepresented ethnic or racial minority women or those identifying as LGBTQ+
  4. Number of women affected within the WiP group or in the larger physics/science community through internal and external outreach
  5. The quality, creativity, and likelihood for success of proposed ideas

Preference is given to groups that have not received previous support from the APS WiP Group Grant.

For more information

Contact women@aps.org 

Utah Women in Physics and Astronomy visit anechoic chambers

University of Utah Women in Physics and Astronomy visit the anechoic chambers at Brigham Young University

Central Florida Physics Women Society and Women in Lasers and Optics group photo

Central Florida Physics Women Society and Women in Lasers and Optics hosted a Science Day to show high school students how science is used in their everyday lives through fun demos, hands on experiments, and games.

Testimonials

"Our biggest success has been creating a sense of community within the department. We have noticed female students interacting with and supporting each other. With so few women, it can be hard to connect to others. WiP has created a way for the female majors to get to know each other and to see the opportunities within physics that are available to them. The group has also made the presence of women in the field more apparent to the male physics majors. Many males attend our events and are incredibly supportive!" - Santa Clara Women in Physics