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SPICE: Student Projects for Intellectual Community Enhancement


Stanford Optical Society
SPICE funds support graduate students' efforts to build and expand their intellectual communities at Stanford.
by Application
Eligibility: All Students
Nomination Period: The annual cycle for AY2024-25 is open now.
Duration: Annual application cycle
Amount Awarded: Up to $5,000 ($2,000 for off-cycle awards)


Review the SPICE Overview and Application Guidelines.

Most graduate students' educational experiences take place primarily in the degree program. When students are intellectually engaged with many other members of their degree program, they are more likely to learn and grow. All members benefit when a vibrant intellectual community is an explicit part of the degree program’s culture.

Interdisciplinary inquiry and cross-departmental multidisciplinary conversations are a hallmark of graduate studies at Stanford. When intellectual communities include perspectives from many fields and inquiry paradigms, knowledge advances unexpectedly. 

Students do not need to wait for intellectual communities to be developed for them. They can be energetic agents who create activities that enhance the academic life of their degree program or many degree programs.

SPICE funds support graduate (master’s, doctoral, or professional) student initiatives that develop activities to expand the intellectual community of their degree program or many degree programs.

SPICE application:

  • must be led by graduate students
  • put ideas and debate at their center
  • involve graduate students across subfields and at different stages in their studies
  • preferably should offer a comprehensive set of activities

The regular SPICE application opens in Spring Quarter. The first group of SPICE awards was made in Spring 2008. Both department-based and interdisciplinary SPICE applications are encouraged.

Pilot Off-Cycle Funding Round

Since some students with shorter academic program lengths (e.g., Master's students) may not have the capability to plan a full academic year in advance for projects, we piloted an off-cycle funding process to provide same-AY access to SPICE funds for brand-new projects. The off-cycle application process for AY2023-24 has closed. If you have an idea for a SPICE project that you want to implement in AY2024-25, you can still submit an application through the general process that is open now.

Annual Application Cycle 

Regular Application Opens: April 1, 2024

Regular Application Deadline: May 12, 2024

AY2024-25 Award Notifications: June 2024

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Apply Now!

Annual Cycle Deadline: Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 11:59PM PT.

The off-cycle application process is closed.

Contact vpgeapplications with any questions.