Conference & travel funding

Information for post graduate students on conference and travel funding.


Students are encouraged to seek funding for student travel from; their Institutes, research grants held by their supervisors, and from some of the other sources summarised below.

Some conferences offer partial travel subsidy to students, these should always be applied for. These sources of funding (as well as students' personal funds) can be combined to fund a trip that is too expensive to be funded by the individual Institute.

  • Travel grant requests made to Institutes will be considered favourably where the student is:

            - within their normal period of study (for PhD students this is three years).

            - presenting a paper at the conference/event.

  • All other requests will be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account travel grants previously awarded and available funds.
  • Where a student is presenting a refereed paper at a significant international meeting outside Europe, a larger grant may be available.
  • The same source can fund other research expenses, for instance payments for experimental subjects.
  • In exceptional circumstances, research students beyond the normal period of study and MSc students can receive travel funding from their Institute.

Please contact your Level Office if you have an upcoming conference you would like to request funding for.

Discount rates

Students are expected to take advantage of all available cheap fares and other discounts. For conference registration fees, only the early registration fee will be reimbursed. If there is a discount fee that requires membership in an organisation, and the membership fee is less than the difference, then this can be included in the cost of the trip if the student is not already a member. Page charges cannot be reimbursed, nor can conference banquets or other social events when they are not automatically included in the registration fee.

Where the trip is to present a paper or poster, it must indicate your affiliation as School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. 

The University does provide student travel support from central funds, particularly to universities in the worldwide Universitas 21 network.

External funding sources

A possible external source of funding for research costs, up to £5K, is the Royal Academy of Engineering's Research Student Development Fellowships. Students apply in their first year of study for a funding to support a "Personal Development Plan" running for the remainder of their period of study.  This may involve research support activities and materials, including consumables; travel to conferences or to undertake collaborative work; summer schools and short courses including transferable skills and language courses; participation in competitions.  This scheme is restricted to UK students and usually advertised with an annual 1st November deadline.

Another regular external funder is the Royal Society of Edinburgh, who provide travel grants and other aspects of funding support for students involved in engineering related research.

Application process

All travel grants need to be approved in advance of the proposed trip by the Director of Institute.  Please contact your Institute level office to find out more about how they’d like you to apply for travel funding, providing information about the proposed trip and an accurate estimate of costings.

If you are receiving funding for the trip from any other source (e.g. supervisor grant, the conference itself, the University) then this must be mentioned explicitly.  Your level office may also ask that a statement of support from the supervisor should be attached to the application.

Note that students funded by one of the Centres for Doctoral Training should apply directly to the CDT for travel support, as CDT specific funds are available to support conference attendance for students who are still in their funded period.  

Institute Level office contacts

CDT wepages

Making a claim

Your expenses claim will be processed by your local level office. Once travel funding has been awarded and you have incurred the expenses, fill out a University Expenses Claim form attaching all receipts and supporting documentation. This paperwork will need to be returned to your Institute level office for processing.

In exceptional circumstances, an advance payment can be arranged, contact your level office for more details. The financial year for the University runs from 1st August until 31st July the following year; note that this is not quite the same as the academic year. Please make sure when claiming for travel expenses that you claim within the current financial year.

IGS Travel Funding

If students are unable to source sufficient funding through the above sources, the Informatics Graduate School has a limited fund available to support top-up funding for travel and conference costs.  This is available to all PGR students, including CDT students who are beyond their funded period.  To be awarded IGS travel money, there are specific criteria that must be met. Please see the IGS PGR travel fund webpage for more details. 

IGS PGR Travel Fund


Useful links

University of Edinburgh student travel support

Universitas 21 network

Research student development fellowships

Royal Society of Edinburgh

Great Britain-China Educational Trust website