My supervisor keeps mentioning that I ought to fly here there and everywhere to present any research we conduct together. Am I supposed to dip into my stipend to fund this? I haven't a clue about these things! Any advice about funding flights to conferences would be much appreciated!
======= Date Modified 14 Jul 2011 23:57:53 =======
Why didn't you ask your supervisor? Funding support for this depends on individual situations, individual funding arrangements. There are no standard rules that apply generally.
You should ask your supervisor directly next time they mention it. Or take the initiative and bring up the subject.
Personally I don't think conferences are that important. I rate publications more highly. And as a partly self-funding student (for most of my PhD my AHRC award - full award, but part-time - only covered fees) I was paying for extras like conferences. So I had to spend my money wisely.
I was taken aback by the idea of having to present at a conference thousands of miles away. I haven't even started my PhD yet and to be honest it scared the crap out of me (sorry, 'thrilled me' *cough* that's what I mean). He's sketchy on details, hasn't a clue on funding sources. That's why I ask if it's typical practice for students to dip into their stipends.
It honestly varies. You need to ask him. Sometimes there is some support as part of a research council funding, but often that will only cover a limited number of conferences, or put a limit on the costs it will cover. Otherwise you will have to find other funding sources, or yourself. Sometimes conferences will give bursaries to help graduate students attend, sometimes departments can help a bit, but usually only a modest amount. It's not unusual to have to pay for at least some of it yourself.
Who is funding you? I went to an international conference early in my part-time PhD. My AHRC award didn't provide any support to cover it, but I applied for and won a student bursary from the conference organisers ($US 500) which paid for some of my expenses. And my department gave me a small amount (£100) as well.
Universities and departments often have some internal pot of money for funding conference travel - might not be much, but worth applying for. Don't pay out of your own living wage whatever you do.
Conferences are useful for networking (urgh - hate the term) particularly in scouting out potential employers/examiners/collaborators, but I wouldn't get too worried about having to present your work everywhere. Chances are you won't be able to present until end of your second year when you've got data collected and analysed.
If you're funded by a research council check their guidelines - usually the main research councils have money for you for conference travel (Research Support Funding its usually called). If you're institution/uni funded you might not have any money put aside, so ask around.
======= Date Modified 15 Jul 2011 09:26:49 =======
Like already said, there might be money available in the school/faculty or from the research council. I received a travel grant from the Royal Academy of Engineers which covered flights and a hotel in Canada (very cheap flights!) to do a couple of presentations. I also managed to get the school to fund a trip to a more local one in the U.K. even though I didn't present at it because it wasn't much (~£250) and I argued that they hadn't paid anything for Canada. I think I was lucky to attend two, and the money was there without too much trouble apart from some forms to fill out. Things are obviously different with different disciplines, though.
I think it's good experience, helps with your confidence and networking skills. I went alone on both my trips which probably helped. It's pretty fun, too. I do agree however that it's not entirely essential and I don't think it's worth paying for any of it yourself though, unless you're just making up a little. Maybe look into it and see if there are any external funding sources or see what the school policy is.
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