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  • I'm currently a Postdoc at Research Institute I.
  • I had a paper accepted at a conference. The conference will be in two months. I'm the single author.
  • Next month I'll start working as a Postdoc at Research Institute II.

Question: In this kind of situation who pays the travel? I should note that both research groups have enough money for travels.

On the one hand I'm hesitating to ask my current advisor to pay for a trip to a conference which I will attend after leaving the group. On the other hand, I'm hesitating to ask my next advisor to pay for a trip to a conference about a paper which was completed before I arrive there.

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    Why not ask them both? If they know each other, that may simplify things. I'm also curious about the "norm" on this tho. – Fábio Dias Jun 18 '16 at 20:40
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    Who will get the credit (in terms of funds, acknowledgement, evaluation - co-authorship is, as it seems, not relevant here)? – Captain Emacs Jun 18 '16 at 20:42
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    Sometimes, bureaucracy will prevent institute I to reimburse you once you are no longer working there, although "morally" they should pay for that trip (and get the credit for the work). – Ran G. Jun 18 '16 at 22:14
  • The organization you worked for when writing the paper will add this to their research output and be rewarded financially which should cover various expenses. They should therefore pay for dissemination including travel. – Arnfinn Jun 18 '16 at 23:28
  • Sometime, the Institution do the reimbursement, in that case you may have some difficulty as you already left Institute I. Therefore, ask both as suggested in earlier comments. – Mithun Jun 18 '16 at 23:28
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First of all, I would recommend that one never submit a paper to a conference unless you have some idea who will be going to present it and how their travel will be supported. I would thus have advised you to discuss the possibility of travel funding with your current advisor before you submitted. Of course, it is too late for that now, but it may not be for others who read this answer.

That said, depending on the particulars of arrangements, it could easily be either institution that pays for travel. I have often known people to have one last trip paid for by their former advisor, since it is the completion of their last piece of work. More often, however, I have known the new employer to foot the bill, as presenting at conferences is generally part of their work as a researcher---it's worth noting that the new employer will be paying for the trip in terms of your salary, even if they don't cover the travel expenses. I have also at some points known people to end up having to pay for their own travel on a junction like this, but that is unusual and can indicate trouble building with the new employer.

Bottom line: it could be any arrangement. The old employer may be willing, especially if you arrange before you leave. The new employer is more likely to be willing, if they are truly interested in your training as a postdoc and not just exploiting you for cheap labor.

  • Yep, I find it surprising how many times we read here of people who submit work to conferences without a clear idea on who is going to present or fund, and with no backup plan in case of issues. – Massimo Ortolano Jun 19 '16 at 5:44
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    @MassimoOrtolano Isn't that just the normal early career uncertainty? It's often impossible to plan for the future. When you don't know in which country you'll be living half a year from now, you either switch careers or keep working and assume that you'll eventually figure out something. – Jouni Sirén Jun 19 '16 at 10:07
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    @JouniSirén It is exactly for that uncertainty that one should make plans, together with their supervisors, to avoid critical situations in the future. Many questions that we receive here present problems that are a consequence of a serious lack of communication between the poster and their supervisor. – Massimo Ortolano Jun 19 '16 at 10:55
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    @MassimoOrtolano Let's not forget that many of these questions are over rather trivial issues such as conference travel. I personally forgot bigger things the first time I moved abroad, because I was so swamped with the arrangements and paperwork. Also, it's hard to make plans if you don't even know whether your future employer allows you to attend the conference. You might not be able to find an academic job, after all. – Jouni Sirén Jun 19 '16 at 11:21
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I have to agree with Jouni Siren -- all early career researchers will have this year-to-year uncertainty and should keep presenting and be productive no matter what. Travel should be paid by 1st place since that is the work you are presenting. Backup options are: write travel grant, gently ask new place, self-fund. If none of those options are possible consider sending your slides to 1st place for someone there to present or in the worst case, withdrawing.

  • My own experience has actually been that it is more likely for the new employer to provide funds. – jakebeal Jan 14 '18 at 14:37
  • since these are postdoc positions it is to present work led by a PI with a permanent position at these places. Generally one PI doesn't pay to present some other PI's work. It is possible if the second PI is especially generous. – DBB Jan 14 '18 at 14:42

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