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Doctoral Academy conference support fund

Our conference fund aims to support postgraduate research students to attend a national or international academic conference to disseminate their findings.

This competitive fund available for Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health postgraduate research students to present (oral or poster presentation) at a national or international conference.

Funding is provisional until evidence is provided of acceptance of an oral or poster presentation at the stated conference. Payment of expenses is dependent on completion of the Doctoral Academy Conference Support Fund Evaluation Form (Word, 53KB).

Individual awards will be made, up to a maximum of £500.



To be eligible to apply, students must:

  • have successfully completed the first two years of their programme at the time of application.
  • have all eProg milestones should be completed and up to date – or provide justifiable grounds for late forms.

The application must be approved prior to the student attending the conference - Please Note the Conference Support Fund Committee meeting usually takes place a couple of weeks after the deadline date.


Please Note:

  • For students in submission pending the conference must take place prior to their submission deadline.
  • Students on MPhil programmes are not eligible to apply.

How to apply

Applicants must:

  • submit the ‌Doctoral Academy Conference Support Fund Application Form (Word, 53KB)
  • submit in accordance with the advertised deadlines and prior to attendance at the conference;
  • include a letter/email of support from the supervisor that outlines the standing of the conference, the relevance to the student's project and note the quality of the presentation or data.

Please note that the funding is available on a competitive basis.

Applications should be sent to

Valid expenditure

This includes:

  • conference registration fees;
  • standard class travel;
  • accommodation;
  • visa application costs (conference purposes only).


Applications will be considered and approved by the Doctoral Academy Conference Support Fund Committee which will include a nominated academic member of staff from each of the Faculty Schools.

The Committee will apply the following prioritisation to applications. Priority will be given to:

  • applicants who do not have access to a conference/travel budget through an existing studentship or sponsor arrangement;
  • applicants who have demonstrated evidence of applying to an external body to cover some of the associated expenses;
  • applicants who have not yet presented at an external conference;
  • oral presentations over poster presentations;
  • applicants who can demonstrate that conference will have additional benefits;
  • applications where there is strong academic support regarding the quality of the presentation/data or the standing of the conference in the discipline.

The judging panel may seek additional advice as necessary.

Application deadlines 2022/23

There are three rounds per academic year:

  • Round 1 - Friday 4 November 2022
  • Round 2 - Friday 24 February 2023
  • Round 3 - Friday 25 July 2023

Awards will be conditional until the Doctoral Academy Office receives evidence of acceptance of the abstract by the conference.

The decision of the Committee is final and there is no right of appeal. However, the panel will provide feedback on all applications.

Claiming expenses

It is a condition of awards that, following attendance at the conference, applicants should submit a completed Doctoral Academy Conference Support Fund Evaluation Form (Word, 53KB) and send this alongside their completed University PR7 expenses claim form to the Doctoral Academy Office.

This should be sent to

Expenses must be claimed in a timely manner and no later than one month following the conference.

Non-completion of the evaluation form will result in delays to the expenses being processed.

Please contact the Doctoral Academy with any queries regarding the application or claims process.


Support for attending conferences can be found in many places. The DA travel grant is prioritised for students who do not have an existing source of funding provided by their studentship and can demonstrate they have made efforts to seek other external funding.

Ask your supervisor

The funding arrangement for your doctoral studies is likely to include support for training as well as research costs (known as your Research & Training Support Grant - RTSG). RTSGs vary considerably depending on the funder and programme.

You should seek advice from your supervisor early on about what support is available for conference attendance. Your supervisor should also be aware of other local and external funding schemes that are available in your field.

Carers Support Fund (SMS PGR only)

Many members of staff and students have caring responsibilities or disabilities that can make attending conferences or training courses difficult.

This SMS Carer Support Fund was designed to provide financial assistance to colleagues who wish to attend an appropriate conference or training course. It can provide up to £400 towards the costs of additional carer support, such as for for children, family members or themselves, which are associated with attendance at a conference or training event, such as conference nursery costs or travel costs for children or carers

The applicant must be actively involved in the conference/training course, for example, giving a presentation, facilitating a workshop, or acquiring a new skill to improve UoM output.

Please note this is an SMS initiative, and so only open to PGRs registered in SMS.

Check out the conference website

You should take advantage of early bird and discounted student rates. You may also be eligible for a reduced registration fee if you are from a developing country or are self-funded. Conferences often offer bursaries that you can apply to.

Some conferences also advertise for stewards to help during the conference. This is a great way of attending a conference cheaply and learning all about how conferences are run from the inside.

Search the internet

This can turn up all sorts of opportunities from charities, journals and other organisations. Eligibility criteria are often very specific (e.g. stage of career, nationality, conference location, the research topic). Start researching opportunities early as the eligibility criteria and deadlines change regularly.

Most funders will expect a brief summary of your experience after the conference.

Below are some of the organisations that FBMH students have sought funding from to present their research:

  • Axol Bioscience
  • Biochemical Society
  • British Psychological Society
  • British Society for Cell Biology
  • British Society for the Philosophy of Science
  • Company of Biologists
  • Egyptian Cultural Educational Bureau
  • European Association for Cancer Research
  • Federation of European Neuroscience societies
  • Foundation for the Society of Health and Illness
  • Guarantors of Brain
  • Kidneys for Life
  • Laboratory Animal Science Association bursary
  • Royal Society of Biology
  • The Leakey Foundation

Join a professional society

Societies often have travel funds specifically to support members. They will often also prioritise students and early career researchers. Where societies organise their own conferences, they may put a call out for early career members to join a conference organising committee, which can mean registration fees are waived.

The Doctoral Academy will fund membership to a UK society (up to a maximum of £50) for one year. You should discuss with your supervisory team what society is most appropriate for you and your professional development.


Please note - hoax conferences

We have recently become aware of an unfortunate situation whereby a PGR student registered for an international conference, which turned out to be a hoax.

The student paid the registration fee and travelled to the US to only find the conference was in fact not legitimate, despite quite convincing marketing information and a schedule of known speakers in the field. We would like to warn all students of the potential risks.

The conference was advertised through '', which appears to be known as a fake organisation if you search for them online. Please always discuss your attendance at conferences with your supervisor.