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I have just finished a postdoc but will not start a new postdoc for a few months.

In the meantime, I will continue to do my research. The problem is that I registered for a conference while at my former institute and the conference will take place while I'm not officially employed at any institute. I also plan to visit collaborators during this time and will likely need a visa for at least one of the visits.

I'm hoping someone else may have been in this situation and have some advice:

What do I put as my affiliation for that and any other conference I might attend in the meantime? Will not having any affiliation affect my ability to participate in conferences or make research visits?

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    Probably depends on your nationality and where you try to go. You might want to include this information. – Morgan Rodgers Sep 27 '17 at 19:17
  • I've got an EU passport. The conference is in China and I was planning on visiting a colleague in India (the rest are EU, so that's not a problem). I suppose in either case I could apply as a visitor, but I'm worried that could affect the local funding I'd been promised. – user80522 Sep 29 '17 at 2:54
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I was unaffiliated for a little over a year between postdocs. I attended two conferences in that time and didn't list any affiliation. I also made two research visits, for one of which I received some funding from my host's research grant, and being unaffiliated (or 'an independent researcher', as my host put it) was no obstacle.

This might depend somewhat on country and research area, of course. And I didn't need a visa for either of the research visits, but I'd be quite surprised if not having an affiliation right now would be an obstacle to getting one (again a little depending on the visa-issuing country).

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What do I put as my affiliation for that and any other conference I might attend in the meantime?

No one (in any part of academia I have ever had experience with) cares as long as the information is factually correct. Some possibilities, all of which are perfectly valid, include: no affiliation (absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it will make for a good conversation starter when people see your name tag); the name of your current city or country; or, if you are in a humorous mood, "Earth", "Europe", or some more specific name of the region you are traveling through and possibly the means of transportation (e.g., "Biking across France").

Will not having any affiliation affect my ability to participate in conferences or make research visits?

No. Or, to be more precise, it can only affect your ability to participate to the extent that it might make it more difficult to get a visa for certain countries; that you may have no research funding available during your gap period; and that you might get a flat tire on the way to the conference if you are indeed biking across France. (Or you might simply get distracted by the pleasures of traveling and decide that attending conferences isn't your highest priority right now.)

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    I completely agree that no one cares (I never wear that name tag), and no one looks (maybe only after you start a conversation). But I would personally avoid humorous tags because to some people it would seem childish. I think the best would be to registered as "no current affiliation" and on name tag simply add the name. – PsySp Sep 28 '17 at 6:57
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At a recent conference, a colleague "between jobs" in the same situation wrote just the name of the city where he lives as an affiliation. It looks like a sensible idea to me: it gives some useful information as to where you are in the world, and it does not require you to put false information on your badge.

  • Well, that can be a solution if one lives anywhere. I actually didn't during most of the time I was unaffiliated. I suppose I could have put "Europe". – Tara B Sep 27 '17 at 19:38

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