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I know there is a similar question here (Should PhD students mention small grants on their CV?) but there is a slight difference between my question and this.

I recently went to a conference as a student. The conference awards a travel grant for some participating students. This stipend is based in part on need (e.g., distance), but it is also based on level of participation, i.e. merit--only students who presented a full paper at the conference got it (as opposed to an abstract or workshop paper).

Are things like this worth listing on the CV of a starting PhD student, or should I not bother? A follow up question, if it turns out that it's good to list this, is how to list it.

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I would suggest listing the participation, but not the grant. At the point you are, starting the doctoral studies, it will have little to no effect in any case and by the time the CV becomes more important you should have more substantial things to list.

Alternatively, if you list the participation and simply note (funded) after the reference, it would be fine, I think. But don't try to make it sound like more than it is.

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By your question, it seems that the grant is not competitive and hence it will not serve as a strong point in your CV (or cover letter)

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