Spectrum Launch: The Hidden Cost of Traveling to a Meeting | Spectrum

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Parsa Taheri, a first-year graduate student at the University of Houston, Texas, was acutely aware that academia’s reimbursement culture doesn’t work for many early-career researchers.

Taheri Paid over $1,000 out of pocket to attend the 2023 Association for Child Development Research Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Luckily, she had secured a prize money from the university to cover some of her travel expenses, but it wasn’t until she returned from her trip to turn in conference registration fees, air tickets, and hotel receipts. , the funds were not available. Meanwhile, these costs were a significant amount for someone on a graduate student scholarship, and her credit card went unused for months, temporarily lowering her score, she said. says.

Even when graduate students are funded with grants covering conference-related costs, they are often asked to pay up front and must seek reimbursement after the trip. Graduate students are “expected to have that money,” or have the ability to use credit, says Taheri. “So it becomes a huge equity problem.”

Researchers who can’t afford to attend meetings may be at a “slight disadvantage research-wise,” he said. Lillian Brady, Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. “Part of academic science, or research in general, is being able to communicate your science and get to know people in your field.”

Brady said many travel benefits don’t cover all the costs of attending a conference. She tends to apply for more than one at a time, she says, hoping she’ll get at least one.

Conference organizers, as well as academic societies and researcher affiliations, often offer travel awards. Also, applicants don’t necessarily have to be members of the conference’s organization or association, he says, Taheri. It also helps to choose meetings that you attend in person rather than online. Taheri now says she attends one big conference a year and will look for additional regional conferences where she can meet face-to-face on a budget.

But the system also needs to change, she says. If universities are to stick to redemptions, “they should at least make redemptions faster.”

Book of the Month:

Tomasz NovakovskyAn associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco, recommends:Does God Play Dice New Mathematics of Chaosby Ian Stewart – so much so that he says he “actually grew up reading” non-fiction books that tackle the mathematics of chaos theory.

job,training and funds:

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Citing this article: https://doi.org/10.53053/ADMU7670

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