The Joys of University Funding

monkey confused about funding

Here’s a funny thing: according to the Research Staff Travel Prize rules, you can apply for their funding if your presentation at a conference is going to be through the medium of a poster.  That’s great, because they’ll fund up to 50% of the costs, to a maximum of £600 for an overseas conference.  By my calculations, that’s most of the flight covered.  However, they expect you to show in your application that the funding they offer will be matched, preferably via your home school – in my case, Health Sciences.

Apparently, I have a budget of up to £1000 per year for such things as conferences, via my school.  However – and here’s the nonsense – according to my line manager, that budget only covers PAPER presentations at conferences, not posters.  Which suggests that posters are not as valuable as papers.  I’m not sure I agree with this, and here’s my logic: if I present a paper, I get around 20 minutes, and I’m one of many presentations going on at the same time.  So only the people who happen to come to hear my presentation will know anything about the study.  If I present a poster, it’s up in the conference venue for the whole time (in this case, four days), I get to hover around it at break times, I can leave a little version of it along with my business card in case anyone wants to contact me, and – this is my favourite bit – I get to do a tiny version of a presentation on the daily poster round.  Seriously, does that sound less exciting than presenting a paper?  I think not!

I’m quite a fan of challenging things if I don’t think they’re entirely fair, so I feel a carefully worded email coming on.  If that doesn’t work out, it’s back to plan A: convincing friends and family that they love my cakes so much, they’ll pay me actual money to eat them.  And maybe a sponsored silence – anyone who knows me will understand the challenge there…

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