I am a non-academic who has collaborated (privately, no employer support) with some academic researchers and been invited to present our work at a conference. The conference admission price and travel costs are steep.

Is there any provision for my collaborator's university to pay for my travel costs as well? (I know they're paying for theirs.) I'll add that our work has brought some follow up grants to the university, so they financially benefit from it - but that funding doesn't include my involvement.

I'll also add that I don't want to sabotage any relationships here, and if it would be considered inappropriate or heavy handed or be resented, I'd rather just cough up the dough myself. But, if there's a means to do it nicely, it would make things easier.


  1. It's a real conference, prestigious in the field; we submitted to present and were accepted (it seems from the responses that that is not called invited; point noted)

  2. I don't want to burn any capital, as you say. I'm happy asking and them saying no, but if it will cause them grief, I'd rather not even ask. So perhaps my question could be rephrased as: Is there any chance that asking gently will get the funding? And, if so, will it cause any grief?

That is, I'll ask if and only if there's a chance they'll do it, and it won't cause any pain.

  • 1
    I'm afraid I've never heard of such a thing. These days it can be close to impossible to get our academic employers to pay for our own travel and registration costs.
    – Corvus
    Apr 1, 2015 at 4:49
  • Is there any possibility of your employer paying? Apr 1, 2015 at 7:12
  • For the future, you might be able to get specific money allocated in your partner's project for this. Of course your collaborators would need to check with the funding agency before submitting such a proposal.
    – Miguel
    Apr 1, 2015 at 7:29
  • Are you invited invited or did you receive academic spam? (I have been 'invited' to edit books/journals, or contribute articles or books, but that is all SPAM). If you are really invited I would think they want you for a keynote session, in which case the conference itself might sponsor you Apr 1, 2015 at 7:51
  • At least for the conference admission you can also ask the conference organizers for a waiver. Invited speakers (invited by the conference organizers) often do not have to pay the fee. Travel and accommodation is more difficult to fund but at least for students there are usually travel grants at big conferences.
    – Heike R
    Apr 1, 2015 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


Is there any provision for my collaborator's university to pay for my travel costs as well?

While not strictly impossible, this sounds rather unlikely to happen, at least through formal channels. Travel budget is restricted, and there are often even administrative restrictions that prevent faculty to give it to people who are neither employees nor students of the university.

That being said, if your collaborator is sufficiently commited to making you go, as well as sufficiently crafty to bend the rules in the right way, (s)he may cook up an arrangement with the administration of some sort. Note that this will likely be (at best) semi-officially, and will burn some real or political capital of the faculty, so (s)he won't just do it to be nice. There has to be some real benefit to them that you are at this conference.


Is there any provision for my collaborator's university to pay for my travel costs as well?

Probably it depends on many things such as place, country, etc. However, it it feasible: I am currently general chair of a conference and a few people from wealthy universities are paying for their coauthors from others (or with no) institutions.

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