How do I get funding to go to a conference?
So you found a cool conference you want to go to! Conferences are great for you present research & meet people doing work that you want to be part of. But how do you actually get money from Brown to go to one? I get this question a lot in advising hours, so thought I’d list out resources here.
First, what kind of conference is it? If it’s a community, identity, and activity related conference, think about applying through a Category II club to get funding through SAO.
If it’s an academic conference and you are presenting research, then here’s where to apply:
- Research @ Brown: apply through UFUNDS for up to $400 in conference travel funding! Talk to Dean Adetunji before you submit your app, and make sure to get a faculty to write something in support of you going. RAB is rolling, so you should try to get it in as soon as possible
- Edward Giuliano Fellowship in the Swearer Center: also through UFUNDS, has three committee meetings throughout the year and is rolling, so keep track of the deadlines!
- The Pembroke Center has funds related to people writing theses or doing community work related to women and gender. If that applies to you, get those funds! Due October 4th.
- If you are part of a fellowship program like the Royce Fellowship, Cogut Undergraduate Fellowship, or the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, then you can request extra funding to attend a conference.
- Talk to your faculty advisor about if they could use their supplemental research funds to support your conference travel
- Talk to your department to see if they have supplemental funding to support you.
- Low-income students should talk to Dean Elie about co-curricular funding set aside for y’all within the Dean of the College.
- See if the conference association itself has travel grants to support undergraduates, graduate students, and community members.
Here’s the application materials that you’ll need, and strategies to approach them:
- An abstract of your research AND/OR a written statement expressing the stakes of your research and the importance of this conference to your academic trajectory at Brown. This is a vital skill in research: knowing to translate your work to different audiences and explaining why they should care and support you. Ask a friend who’s not in your concentration to read over your abstract and see if it makes sense to them.
- A proposed budget, including travel, housing, food, and conference registration fees. Don’t underestimate the costs, especially because travel prices can change! Better to propose a budget that’s slightly over the actual cost than under.
- A letter of support from your faculty advisor. This is not mandatory, but is strongly encouraged.
Another overall strategy is to use a patchwork approach: apply widely, and if one pocket of funding (i.e. Research @Brown) doesn’t give you quite enough, reach out to another one (your academic department, your advisor) to fill in the gaps.
Do I have to be a researcher/presenter in order to get Brown funding?
It’s strongly encouraged, and I’m pretty sure Research @ Brown and other funding pockets won’t consider you if you aren’t presenting research. However, “presenting” is a flexible term! I missed a deadline to apply to be an official panelist at a conference in Spring 2017, but talked to the conference organizers and was able to present about a semester UTRA experience within a broader community forum. That counts as a research presentation, and I got funding for it.
For more specific questions, come to CRC FIRE open hours: Mondays 7-9pm in the FLi Center, Thursdays 1-4pm in the CRC & Fridays 10-1pm in the CRC.