A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR ABOUT FINANCIAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE FOR STUDENT TRAVEL TO CONFERENCES 

Dear Department Majors, Honours, and Grad Students, 

In 2019 the department will once again make money available to help supervisors send students to conferences.  In 2018, we invested over $30,000 to help 32 students get to conferences outside of BC, and another $7,000+ to get 43 students into the JSM in Vancouver.  This year the program returns, with just a few minor modifications. 

The "Chair's Travel Grant" is a reimbursement of travel costs for students attending conferences. For example, the 2019 SSC Annual Meeting, is May 26-29 in Calgary; the 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) is July 27-August 1 in Denver, and the 2019 WNAR is June 23-26 in Portland.  We will gladly help to fund a student to go to a different conference instead, if that is more appropriate for the student. 

OPTIONS FOR FUNDING

  1. This year, the department will offer up to $1500 to help defray the travel costs for each student who presents a paper or poster at a conference or workshop in 2019. To try to be fair to all, this offer is available for only ONE conference per student in 2019. Students are welcome to attend and present at more conferences, but department funding will help a given presenting student to get to one. The conference must take place in 2019. Also, the requirement of presenting is firm in order to qualify for the full $1500.  Finally, the presentation must be supported by a faculty supervisor in the department.  This is true for both graduate students and undergraduate students.
  2. For graduate students who want to attend a conference or a workshop but not present, we will offer up to $600 toward travel expenses.
  3. In addition, we will support graduate or undergraduate students up to $1000 each to attend a competition such as a hackathon or a case study.  Each of these offers also must be supported by a faculty supervisor in the department.  There is a limit of $3000/team and $6000 for a given event. 

Note that, if you use a lower-cost option earlier in the year and later want to present a paper, we will help to support the second event as long as your total amount reimbursed for the year is not more than $1500.

If you plan to make use of any of these Chair's Travel Grants in 2019, please let me know as soon as you have followed steps 1-2 below. Do this soon to respect the deadlines for GSS funding. 

PROCEDURE (for detailed information on the procedure see the Travel and Business Expense Claim Forms links at http://www.stat.sfu.ca/administration.html, and read the procedure.)  Students on Payroll (RAs or TAs) log in into FINS. Those who are not on Payroll fill in the non-employee claim.

  1. Supervisor and student agree on the event: presentation, competition, workshop, conference, etc.  Supervisor's financial support is discussed/clarified.  (Supervisors are usually responsible for the remainder of the expenses beyond this grant.) 
  2. (Presenting graduate students only): Once the student's abstract is accepted (in some conferences, like SSC and JSM, acceptance is automatic upon submission), the student should apply for a GSS professional development grant for $499 (see http://sfugradsociety.ca/services/professional-development-grants/). I require that students investigate this source of funding, even though success is not guaranteed (*see below). I expect students to investigate other funding sources as well, such as student travel awards to specific conferences. 
  3. The student forwards to me their request for a Chair's Travel Grant including (a) the submitted abstract (or for non-presenting students, a copy of the registration receipt), (b) a copy of the GSS grant application (or a statement why they are not eligible for this grant), and (c) the supervisor's approval (the supervisor can send me that separately it they wish). 
  4. After the travel is completed, the student fills out an expense claim. On the claim form, identify the other sources of funding for the trip (e.g., supervisor's grant) and give it to Charlene as usual, with a note that the Chair's Travel Grant is to be applied.  All original receipts including boarding passes, conference name badges, and the travel itinerary should be properly kept until reimbursement is completed.  Note that if the overall conference costs, minus any additional travel awards received, are less than the amounts promised above then the Chair's Travel Grant will pay this lesser amount instead. 

I hope this serves as encouragement to our faculty and students to get out to conferences, network, and present!  Please let me know if you have questions about this program. 

Regards, 

-Tom. 

* The GSS application may require that you list other available sources of funding. You may count the $1500 that I offer as a source.