I have been nominated for a community contribution award alongside another professor in our field, this is a nomination for serving our research community (scientific activities). The conference is established by the leaders of the field and well-respected professor who nominated me.

This award is the for the first time in the history of the conference, I asked the professor who is also nominated alongside me, he said that he will not go due to his teaching schedule and I asked him whether this nomination means receiving an ward or not. He said he does not have any idea, which makes me hesitant whether I should go for the conference in that case (if I go I will present our ongoing work and meeting peers and the leaders of the field).

On the other side, here our project director does not want me to go to the conference since I don’t have a publication eventhough the conference registered me as staff (waived fees). My supervisor tried to persuade her, but she did not want to support my travel out of our project budget( very cheap expenditure though).

My question is: Should I insist on going to the conference and does a nomination, meaning having an award or not, in any way potentially boost my academic career?

In the other side, do you think that my project coordinator refusing to supporting my travel although we explained I am going to (present poster/short paper+ oral presentation at well respected community+ award nomination) is a toxic behavior? Actually, it is not the only action, she had many situations that bothered me and I am only 7 months into the program. My supervisor is always afraid of her and that’s worrying me very much. They did not seem to support me that much and that’s worrying. Maybe this a red flag, a sign to consider other opportunities or find another place that would support me. What do you think? (BTW I spoke with my supervisor, and he said he will try to persuade her again, but it seems disappointing that I am not appreciated, and that is my gut feeling).

=====EDIT====== I contacted the organizer and he said the nomination is confidential, I dont know whether this answered my question to. him whether I am going to receive award or not

  • Do you have an accepted paper to publish in the conference or not? It is unclear in the question. Kindly add clarification.
    – Ébe Isaac
    Feb 27, 2020 at 4:24
  • No, I don't have a paper, but I can present/talk in the workshop at the conference.
    – user116038
    Feb 27, 2020 at 4:29

2 Answers 2


There are two issues here. The first is about whether getting nominated for the award is a good reason to go to the conference. The second is about the project coordinator here, and how to convince them that you should go (it sounds like you want to).

As to whether getting nominated is a good reason to go, it depends on how selective the award is. Were only a handful (5-10) students nominated? I would say that is then quite prestigious and you should include it on your CV, and it would be a good reason to attend. Also, will they be presenting the award (or announcing the nominees) at the conference? If so, it would be good for you to be there, in case you are awarded it.

I think you should specifically reach out to whoever is organizing this award and ask them if, since you are nominated, you should attend. That may also be a subtle way for them to tell you "please do make sure to attend", if they are planning to give you the award. You can also ask your supervisor to reach out on your behalf, if that would be more comfortable for you.

As to the project coordinator, she does seem difficult to work with, but we should not be too harsh, perhaps she is receiving a lot of pressure to be tight with the budget, it is not clear. Anyway, there are two things you can do here:

  • If you get confirmation from the organizer of the award that you are expected to attend, you can use this to pressure the coordinator to let you go.

  • Get the support of your advisor or another higher-up in your university, as appropriate. It sounds like your advisor is on your side, but afraid of the coordinator, and you are already getting your advisor to persuade the coordinator, which is good. If that is not enough, you basically need to find someone who has more influence than the project coordinator (someone who is their boss, or the equivalent) to get on your side. If you do that successfully, then they can talk to the coordinator and get them to agree to fund your travel.

It sounds very reasonable, given that you are nominated for an award, will present at a workshop, AND have already received funding (waived fees) for all except travel, so I hope you can attend. Good luck!

  • Thank you, I already sent an email and still waiting, according to the project coordinator, unfortunately, it isnot the first time, in fact, she sponsored a travel for a colleague in the project to present short paper which isnot that great and even my supervisor critized that. Actually, I am afraid to continue more three year in that program under this coordinator.
    – user116038
    Feb 27, 2020 at 5:06
  • can feel she isnot supportive and also changing in moods so fast which is creepy to work with,my supervisor maybe supportive, but doesnot have an influnece and no one can influence, I saw she once arguing with him like a kid, it is worrying to me in any case.
    – user116038
    Feb 27, 2020 at 5:06
  • @Erik sorry to hear about that. Who has higher authority, the project coordinator or your supervisor? Feb 27, 2020 at 14:23
  • the project coordinator
    – user116038
    Feb 27, 2020 at 15:02

There are mainly two points to consider:

  • Perspective of the prospective academic institution. Awards do have an added value, provided you fulfil an adequate publication record expected by the institution. This is applicable both for recruitment of academic positions as well as excelling if you are already hold an academic position.

  • Perspective of your institution. Your advisor/coordinator (or your institution) may weigh the travel costs against the positive merits received. The institution might perceive reputable publications weigh more than reputable award under question.

The end decision on whether the award is worth pursuing despite the costs ought to be looked upon from both the above perspectives. Your best bet would be to ask other professors in your department (and the prospective institution, if you have one in mind) as to how valuable that this award mean to the specific institution, with or without a publication.

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