Critical Difference - Professional Development Grants

Professional Development Grants are designed to facilitate professional development and career mobility of employees and students. Faculty and staff who have been continuously employed at Ohio State for at least one year; full-time undergraduate students at the sophomore level and above; and full-time graduate/professional students are eligible to apply for a Professional Development Grant. Grants up to $1,500 will be awarded to Faculty/Staff. Students are eligible for up to $1,000.

This grant may be used for:

  • Participation and/or presentation at professional conferences, seminars, or workshops
  • Research
  • Materials, equipment, supplies, or other expenses directly related to career or professional development
  • Developing articles or books for publication
  • Networking or mentoring activities

Selection Criteria and Requirements

The Women’s Place works to create an equitable environment at Ohio State and encourages people of all genders including women, transgender and nonbinary individuals, and LGB individuals; people of color; members of ethnic minorities; international scholars; people with disabilities; and veterans to apply.

  • Impact of participation on the candidate's professional development, career mobility or expansion of their professional network.
  • Record of achievement or engagement that positively impacts diversity.
  • Financial feasibility of the proposal, including effort to secure funding from other available sources. Efficient use of resources for the activity/event.
  • Undergraduate students — 2.5 or higher cumulative GPA; graduate/professional students — 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA.
  • Preference is given to individuals who have not previously received a CD Development Grant.
  • Note to students who receive financial aid: receiving this grant may result in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your financial aid. Consult Buckeye Link to learn more.
  • Recipient’s fiscal department must agree to track all expenses, ensure compliance with grant restrictions and university rules and regulations, and disburse funds to recipient.

Expense Guidelines

All grant funds must be managed by the fiscal officer within the unit/department of the grant recipient. After acceptance of the grant award, the recipient’s department must agree to track all expenses and ensure compliance with grant restrictions and university rules and regulations. Upon agreement to manage funds, a transfer of funds will be made for the full award amount at the beginning of the grant period to the recipient’s department. Only expenses incurred within the grant period are eligible, and a Final Budget Report must be submitted by the end of the grant period. If unused funds are remaining at the end of the grant period, the grant recipient’s department must transfer the unused funds back to The Women's Place/CD program.

Expense details

  • Purchase of personal clothing, personal accessories, and alcohol are not allowed.
  • Costs of child care cannot be covered.
  • Meal costs are allowed for the recipient only (not per diem) and receipt must:
    1. Specify food and beverages ordered,
    2. Directly relate to project implementation, and
    3. Not exceed per diem travel guidelines for the university.
  • Travel expenses must conform to university travel policies/guidelines.
    1. For travel by car, keep a log of your travel destinations, odometer readings, and save your receipts for reimbursement. Specific mileage must be submitted for reimbursement to occur. 
  • All expenses must conform to university financial policies and guidelines.
  • Only items included in the original application budget can be reimbursed.


Applications are due April 1, 2024. Funded events must occur within the period of July 1, 2024 – December 31, 2024. We adhere to the funding time frame. No after-the-fact events are funded.

Check current application for updated or modified deadlines.

If you are seeking funding for an expense between January 1, 2025 and June 30, 2025, please wait and apply during the fall Critical Difference Professional Development grant application period (due in November 2024).

Applicants who received a grant will be notified May 2024.

NOTE: Applicants must complete the process in one sitting; the application form will not save data for later submission. Before you apply, please review the sample application and have all the required information ready.

Grant Application