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Robert M. Sandelman Award for Scientific Excellence

Robert M. Sandelman started the first sales promotion agency in America, and was the creator of the American Express Gold Card. He was the author of "The Problem is They Don't Know the Problem", and the founder of the Robert M. Sandelman Foundation. The NY Times called him the "Wizard of Sales Promotions." Bestowed in his memory, the Sandelman Endowment recognizes outstanding scientific achievement and accomplishment in establishing, fostering, and encouraging research in the field of science. As such, the endowment funds a competitive program to award Scripps Florida graduate students and postdoctoral scientists for the cost of attendance to domestic or international scientific conferences.

Each year, the Sandelman Endowment will award up to four grants: three $1,000 awards for domestic conferences, and one $1,500 award for international conferences.

Administrative info:

Applications will be submitted to the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office, and are due September 14th, 2018. Awards will be announced during the annual Scripps Florida Research Fest, this year on October 12th, 2018. For reimbursement, award recipients will require proof of conference attendance and purchase receipts. 


To apply for a Robert M. Sandelman Endowment Travel Award, you must:

  1. Only full-time Scripps Florida graduate student and postdoctoral associates may apply. External graduate students are not eligible.
  2. Active participation in the meeting or conference (i.e., oral or poster presentation) is required.  In the case of co-authored papers, both authors are eligible.
  3. The research project must be from work done at TSRI, not a previous institution.   
  4. The conference must take place in the future (up to one year after the application of October 1).
  5. A graduate student or postdoctoral associate can submit only one proposal per evaluation cycle.
  6. Previous Sandelman Endowment Travel Award recipients are not eligible.

*Applicants who have never attended a meeting presenting their current work and those with outstanding financial need are encouraged to apply.*

Specific Proposal Guidelines:

Please fill out the travel award form found here. You must also include the following application documents (in PDF format only):

  1. Curriculum Vitae: 4 pages maximum. An NIH Biosketch is not acceptable.
  2. Letter of Mentor Support:  Statement by faculty mentor in support of the applicant’s conference attendance, description of applicant’s contribution to the research project, overview of qualifications and capability to communicate the research described, and financial need, if applicable (one page maximum).
  3. Project Description:  Include the following two sections:

    • Purpose and significance of the project, including a summary of results, and impact of the research to the field (one page maximum; figures may be included, if desired).
    • Value of the conference to the applicant’s educational and professional goals AND the value of the conference to the research group (one page maximum).
  4. Budget: Proposed budget including airfare, ground transportation, lodging, food, and conference registration (one page maximum).

Securely submit your application to the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office here


A selection committee, composed of volunteers from an open call to the Scripps community, will review the applications.  The committee will be instructed to review applications based on scientific merit, quality of scientific communication, financial need, and overall qualification of the applicant. Reviewers issue a single score for each application from 1-20 (20=highest).  Each application will be evaluated for quality of scientific communication, scientific merit, the applicant's credentials, the significance of the conference to the applicant's career, and financial need. The highest scoring applications will be funded.


Q: During what timeframe are conferences eligible for the award?
A: Eligible conferences are those that take place up to one year after the Sandelman Endowment Travel Award application deadline (August 26th). Applications for travel that already took place (i.e., before the Travel Award deadline) will not be considered.      

Q: What will the award cover?
A: Fees and expenses associated with attending a specified scientific conference, including airline tickets, hotel expenses, ground transportation fare, and registration fees.

Q: Can I apply for the award if my abstract has not been accepted? Can I apply for the award even if I’m not 100% sure I will attend?
A: Yes. If you win the award, you will not receive any reimbursement until you produce receipts and proof of registration. If you win the award, but discover you will not attend the conference, please notify us as soon as possible.

Q: How will the selection committee be chosen?
A: An email to the Scripps Florida community will solicit volunteers several weeks before the application close date.  Reviewers are accepted first-come, first-served.   

Q: Can I be on the selection committee for the same cycle I submit a Travel Award application?
A: No.  However, applicants or winners from previous cycles are welcome to become committee members.  

Q: What about possible bias from committee members who are in the same labs as applicants? 
A: Oversight from the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office and the SOF will encourage review committee members to abstain from judging applications from co-authors, collaborators, close friends, lab mates, partners, etc.

Q: When will the winners be announced?
A: At the annual Research Fest.