Got Places to Go? Funding Your Conference Travel

In the blog post, “Planning for Travel Funding,” we discussed finding grant and fellowship opportunities to fund dissertation research that requires you to travel to a research site.  Today, we will discuss obtaining funding to attend conferences.

Presenting at professional conferences is important to graduate students.  Attending conferences is valuable for numerous reasons including understanding the current state of research in your field, meeting new people, making connections with potential collaborators, and obtaining feedback on your research.

Conference Participation as Research Dissemination: Although many graduate student research grants and fellowships do not fund conference travels, some external funding opportunities require dissemination as part of the project. Some funding awards consider presenting at conferences as an important part of the dissemination strategy.   Plan ahead and structure your proposal to include attending conferences as an integral part of your project.  Since many conferences often determine their conference dates and locations two to three years in advance, you can submit attending these conferences as part of your budget.

Support from Professional Societies: Conference travel awards are also sometimes offered by the professional society or organization sponsoring the conference.  These often require the student to present a poster or give an oral presentation.  Deadlines may be linked to the presentation abstract submission deadlines or other dates determined by the organization, so again, plan ahead.  Some conferences also offer reduced registration rate if the student volunteers at the conference.  Find out early on if such support is available.

Internal Support: The Rutgers Graduate School – New Brunswick (GSNB) offers limited funding to support graduate students’ travel expenses. Only graduate students registered in the Graduate School-New Brunswick (School 16) are eligible for nomination or competition.  Visit GSNB website for more information.

Funding Yourself: For those who will self-fund partially or entirely to attend conferences, you maybe able to claim it when filing your taxes.  Speak to your accountant about the details about claiming a deductible to attend conferences, as well as what documentation may be required.

In short, conferences can become affordable when you plan ahead.  Check Pivot and the GradFund database, conference organizations, the professional societies to which you belong, and consult your faculty advisor or graduate program director to find out about other available travel support.


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