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Do advisors typically fund PhD students for travel to events other than academic conferences? Examples include:

  • Seminars at other universities so the student can promote their
    research
  • A Technical Program Committee (TPC) meeting
  • An industry conference where the student hasn't published anything but is there to promote their work in a talk or demo

These events are not directly related to the bottom line of publishing papers, but are helpful for the overall career of the students.

  • If you're in a discipline which involves fieldwork, they certainly ought to... :-) – Andrew Jun 18 '17 at 22:43
  • Depends on the funding. I was lucky and had enough to get paid for everything PhD related. Some of my co-students did not have as good project-funding as I had and needed to make the choice of going+paying or missing it. – Ander Biguri Jun 19 '17 at 13:31
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All work related travel that has been assigned to you by your advisor should be funded. That's a general rule (also outside academia, at least in Germany).

You may also ask your advisor if they'll refund travel costs for the things you mentioned. In this case your advisor may ask you to check for other funding resources (travel grants for conferences, possible refunding by the university that invited you…). More concretely for your examples:

  • Seminars at other universities: If you are invited to give a talk but the other university is not funding you, then I'd hope yes but no for just attending that seminar.

  • A Technical Program Committee (TPC) meeting: If you are a member of the TPC then yes (however, for the TPCs I know, the member usually have their own funding).

  • An industry conference where the student hasn't published anything but is there to promote their work in a talk or demo: If you have a talk or official demo at the conference then I'd say yes, if you only want to go there networking then generally no (unless there are some funds that are going to expire).

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  • 1
    The only thing that I 100% agree with in this answer is the part that if your advisor "asks" you to go you should expect funding. In all other cases, the answer is always "it depends on how much money there is, how conservative your advisor is with fund usage, and how well you sell it to her/him". – xLeitix Jun 19 '17 at 8:34
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Of course this primarily depends on the funds available, but in my experience:

  • unless the seminar is directly related to the research topic and the cost of traveling there is very low, then NO;
  • unless you're a member of that committee, NO;
  • maybe, if the conference is topical and there is funding for this.

Keep in mind that, in some disciplines, professional researchers (faculty, postdocs) are not necessarily reimbursed if they attend a conference but do not have some form of presentation (usually a talk although this may depend on the conference).

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