Travel funding, and making sure you can attend those exciting faraway conferences

Travel funding, and making sure you can attend those exciting faraway conferences

You’ve submitted your conference abstracts and now you’ve heard back that they’ve been accepted and you’re going to an exciting conference. You’re probably busy working on your talk or your poster, and thinking about the best ways to maximise your conference experience.

And then you check the flights and hotels in the area, and see the conference fee you need to pay to register. Just how do you pay for everything?

 And hopefully your flights don't end up like this.... (Photo by Bianca Sala)

And hopefully your flights don't end up like this.... (Photo by Bianca Sala)

First of all check with your supervisor if there is any travel funding attached to your PhD, and how much of the conference cost can be covered by it. If you are funded by one of the UK research councils (check UK Research and Innovation) there should be some money there for you. My PhD is in the School of Physics and Astronomy, and my friends who are funded by EPSRC or STFC have available £2,000 throughout their PhD to travel for conferences.

Similarly, the Institute of Physics offers some travel funding for student members, and I’ve been told the Royal Society of Chemistry does the same. It’s worth joining the society most relevant to your field of research as a student member, and checking if they offer any travel funding.

I am going to a conference in Australia, and as someone who is funded by the European Commission rather than one of the UK research councils, I had to apply for money from other sources.  I’ve applied for funding from the European Microscopy Society, which unfortunately I did not get (insert feelings of failure here…). Fortunately, there was a department-wide call to apply for travel scholarships from the School, and I have been offered funding under that. There are a lot of PGR scholarships available, and it’s worth checking their list and enquiring about them.

 Very much looking forward to seeing these guys outside of a zoo! (Photo: Bianca Sala)

Very much looking forward to seeing these guys outside of a zoo! (Photo: Bianca Sala)

If you need a small amount of extra money, check if the conference itself offers any scholarships. Someone told me they volunteered to work the registration desk to get their conference fee waived - could you maybe do this? It’s also worth remembering to register early enough to be able to access the early bird rate rather than having to pay the full conference fee.

Are you going to any conferences over the summer? Have you had to apply for any funding? Do you know of any other travel funding options available? Leave us a comment below or tweet us at @UofG_PGRBlog!

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