I've just prepared a paper in cooperation with my own supervisor, in addition to the other faculty member at our department. Recently, my supervisor has just declared that he can not cover the registration and travel costs to attend the conference. Furthermore, I have no chance, currently, to apply for any financial fund from the university.

My last chance is asking that faculty member (is who the paper's coauthor) to pay for, but I am not sure about the credibility of such request. Is it?!

I am also concerned that if I ask the co-author such a thing, she might think that our cooperation with her was just solely due to finding someone else to pay for the paper (which is a totally unfair and wrong argument.)

  • 1
    Any chance your supervisor may ask that co-author? Sep 26, 2016 at 21:31
  • @CaptainEmacs: Actually, he is something swanky and working with him has just proved me that if I want him to do such thing, he may feel that the people consider him as the person who is not able to handle his students, properly. The bad thing is that he may expect myself to pay whole the thing!
    – user41207
    Sep 26, 2016 at 21:35
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    That's a conundrum. You probably should signal to your supervisor that you are unable to pay the trip (you do not have to give a transparent picture of your private finances - who knows, perhaps you've just spent all your money on the burial of your cat? This is nobody's business but yours) and ask how to proceed in case the paper gets accepted. If they really expect you to pay out of your own pocket, then you have a more serious problem on your hand than just this one conference. Sep 26, 2016 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


You are in a pinch. Your advisor waited too long to tell you he couldn't pay your way, and now you can't apply for financial support through other means. (Except there is still the possibility of the co-author.)

However, you are not comfortable asserting yourself with your advisor, and requesting that he sound out the co-author; and you feel you have good reason to feel that way.

So you had the idea of sounding out the co-author yourself, and are asking whether it would be a faux pas (i.e. if it would look bad for you to talk to her about the problem).

Well, it looks a bit brash.

If I assume all the premises as you laid them out -- here's the best I can come up with for you:

Speak with Ms. Dr. Co-author in person. Explain:

Mr. Dr. Advisor and I had a bit of a misunderstanding, and I just found out he doesn't have any funding for my trip to such-and-so. I am concerned that it may be too close to the conference dates to apply for funding through such-and-so. But I wanted to ask your advice. It is a very awkward situation for me, since on my graduate stipend I just don't have the funds to finance a trip like this. Do you think I should still apply?

If Ms. Dr. Co-author listens with her heart, she will get the message.

Listen carefully to her when she responds, so you can gauge whether she got your meaning, and to get a feel whether she might be annoyed, offended, shocked, or whatever, if you were to ask her more openly.

That's the best I can come up with. Your system is somewhat over-constrained.

  • Hmmm, 'listens with her heart'? I've run into many difficulties with colleagues who failed to do that, so I never rely on someone getting my message by reading between the line. I'd suggest being explicit about asking - academics have a rep for being direct! In which case Captain Emacs' suggest for the sup to ask instead might be more diplomatic.
    – Deleuze
    Sep 29, 2016 at 8:13
  • @Deleuze - Clearly, that would be the right thing to do (for the sup to do, I mean).... But will he? Sep 29, 2016 at 15:56

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