In a previous post I highlighted the excellent reasons why grad students should participate in international conferences. However, conferences are expensive events to attend (not to mention hotel and flights) so a solid funding source is a must. In this post I will discuss the agencies that supply such funding and some of the requirements for winning scholarships.
In most cases you will hear about a conference a year or so before it takes place, which means you have a lot time to prepare. Check that the conference timing doesn't coincide with any committees you will be required to attend or any other personal events. Many international conferences offer some student bursary aid for students that lack full funding to attend the conference so its worth exploring the conference website for such an offer.
But what if there is no funding support? How you can try to and get funded?
Faculty and department funds
While it is known that funds in many universities are got reduced in recent years, you should ask whether the faculty you belong to can help and chip in – don't forget, by going to an international conference you're promoting both the university and the faculty!
Which agencies/funds should be approached?
There are several agencies and funds that support students in traveling to and participating in international conferences though you should wisely choose those that fit with your specific criteria (field, age eligibility, publications, etc.). For example, the Ephraim Katzir travel fellowship from the Weizmann Institute of Science is aimed at Israeli grad students who published at least one paper as first author. Most of the funds come from specific associations, though there are a few general funding agencies that promote science communications regardless of the specific niche. Here's a list of major supporting agencies/associations:
- NIDDK Travel Awards – Supports residents and fellows attending the National Medical Association's annual convention and scientific assembly
- American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) – Travel support for attending the association's meetings
- American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) – Travel fellowships for women in science
- American Society for Microbiology (ASM) – International and national travel grants for the association members
- Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds – Travel grants for course participation
- Yale School of Medicine – Travel funding for Yale's PhD students
- WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Award
Know of any other travel funds? Please share with us and we will update the list!