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I have recently been given an opportunity to attend a conference on Robotics although I don't have any paper to present. The registration fee is around 7k. Before spending such an amount, I wanted to know if it is worth attending conference sessions just for its sake. Please help.

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    7k for registration fee only? This seems totally absurd. No way. You can buy 1-2 high-end PC servers with that cash. And what you will write on your CV? Paid 7K to attend this conference? – Alexandros Feb 14 '15 at 9:52
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    7k of which currency? In Indian Rupees, it's probably not enough for some fancy server. Value on the CV is very low, though - the only thing that you demonstrate by having it is that you have seen a few examples of research "works". So if you want to apply for a PhD, for example, you would show that you have a clue of what you are up to. – DCTLib Feb 14 '15 at 9:56
  • That might be discipline-dependent, but AFAICS academic CVs don't list attendance to conferences, given that it's not an achievement. – Blaisorblade Mar 25 '15 at 1:55
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There is one additional benefit of attending conferences: networking.

Networking works best, of course, if you present a paper, because then you are formally advertising your work and yourself. But whether or not you are presenting, you should spend a lot of time talking to other people, getting to know them and getting them to know you. Spread your contact information and your research interests far and wide.

No, this won't show up in your CV. But knowing people and being known is usually far more important than whether a conference or a conference paper shows up in your CV.

Browse the many questions tagged or or both for ideas on how to go about this. (Hint: start preparing before the conference, by checking who will present and who you will want to meet. Maybe even contact a few people beforehand and set up meeting.)

Whether this is worth the registration fee (in whatever currency), plus travel time and costs will depend on you, your career plans and how well the conference and its attendees match your interests. I certainly have attended conferences without presenting for networking purposes.

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    There is one additional benefit of attending conferences: networking — This is, in fact, the only real benefit of attending conferences. – JeffE Feb 14 '15 at 16:21
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I agree with Stephan. Just attending a conference is not useful for a CV. Speaking at a conference is helpful, but not attending one. Networking is certainly a valuable benefit of attending conferences. For me, personally, I will not spend the money in travel and other fees associated with the conference if I am not at least somewhat interested in what they are talking about, so I will hopefully learn something too. I also definitely agree with Stephan about knowing whom you will want to meet prior to going. Just walking around and meeting random people might not be very productive.

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Well, I wouldn't put it on my cv. But there are a few reasons, in addition to networking, that it might be beneficial:

  1. It gives you a first hand account of the state of the art
  2. It gives you the opportunity to question the authors directly about the work to understand it more deeply.
  3. It gives you a broader perspective on your field (if you go to presentations that are not about the specific topic you are mainly interested in).
  4. You'll have a better idea about what goes on at conferences if you present at one in the future.

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