There’s this conference I want to go to…

Clouds, seen from an aeroplane window

I love cloud land by Jonathan O'Donnell on Flickr

One of the most difficult requests I get is for conference travel funding.

Many researchers think rustling up these funds will be easy because it is only “a few thousand dollars”. Unfortunately, a small amount of money can be almost as hard to secure as a large amount of money. In addition, people are usually hunting this money fewer than six months before the conference actually happens, and most funding works on a 12-month cycle.

Don’t get me wrong – I think that conferences are fantastic! They give you an opportunity to look up from your day-to-day work and get a glimpse of what everybody else is doing. They help to recharge your intellectual batteries and find your feet within your research network. Tseen and I like conferences so much that we have written about them several times before: why you should run a conference; how to be a great participant; and how to cope with question time.

But there’s a catch. Most of the time, the interesting conferences always seem to happen ‘over there’ – somewhere else in the world, somewhere that it costs money to get to.

This post provides five ideas for funding your conference travel. Not all of them will suit your circumstances and most of them involve a long lead time, so they may not be the solution that you are looking for.

With a bit of luck, though, them might give you some ideas for how to get where you want to go.