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As a student, you would like to stay in touch with and participate in conferences, present papers and get the proceedings published. However, as I have come to notice, such conferences ask for hefty sums as fees for this.

How to deal with this?

And what about the online conferences?

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4 Answers 4

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If you worked on a grant, it will typically have a budget for traveling to present your work. You should charge those grants. This would have to be a conversation with whoever's in charge of that grant (the principal investigator). Make sure you talk to them first and not just assume you can charge the grant.

If you were not working on a grant, your department (or whatever organizational unit) may have funds for you to apply for to present "nonsponsored" research.

Occasionally, the conference itself may have funds or waivers you can apply to, often available to researchers in developing countries. Usually though, this would only cover conference fees, not travel and hotels, which can cost much more.

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    Note that even if you are paid from a grant, the grant may have a limited budget for student travel. Don't just assume you can charge against a grant. Jul 18, 2021 at 3:27
  • @TerryLoring Good point to clarify Jul 18, 2021 at 3:28
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Check if your university has travel grants for students. Large conferences also often have student travel awards you can apply for when you submit your abstract.

Alternatively, in some countries there are government agencies where you can apply for short term visits and conference grants. Downside is that you have to apply far in advance and they tend to be very competitive.

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Some (large) conferences have a need for a large number of "helpers", called "student volunteers". In exchange for some number of hours of work (registration table, making sure speakers have water, lots of things) they get full attendance for free. I don't know (but doubt) if there is an additional stipend.

Many, perhaps most, of the student volunteers may come from one or more local universities, but I don't think that is required.

Such conferences may have a "call" for student volunteers on their web page.

Travel and accommodation may still be the biggest expense, but it may be that some conferences can help, especially with the latter if you are willing to share a room with a stranger.

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I think you need to learn about how conference work in your field. The best option is to talk to someone more senior that you in your field.

In math and physics, often the most interesting conferences have no registration fee, but sometimes the trick is getting invited. There may be conferences in some regions with lower fees. I know lots of conferences that charge no fee to graduate students and have high fees for professors.

I have never been to a conference where the registration fee is more that 25% of my expense budget for that conference, expect for ones in my city where my only other cost was parking.

You may say this is all irrelevant to your area of research. Since you did not mention your area of research, we are all just guessing.

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