skip to content

Postdocs of Cambridge Society


Travel Grants Guide



Attending national and international conferences is seen as an essential part of academic development as it gives you the opportunity to present your latest research results and provides a platform to network with your peers, the publishing sector, or even industry. Unfortunately, given the University's large and diverse postdoc network, travel grants, which can be used to cover conference tickets and fees, travel costs, as well as accommodation abroad, are often not directly available through their PIs. Hence, postdocs are expected to apply for external funding opportunities which, if successful, do not only support your travel but also improve your CV.

While there is no standard route and the different avenues of travel funding often vary significantly depending on the field, department, or even group, below we have listed some general guidance starting with the most accessible. If you are, instead, looking for guidance on research grants, please click here for a brief summary of resources provided by PdA.

Overall, given the highly competitive nature of most of these funding pathways, it is suggested that postdocs try multiple avenues simultaneously (as also sometimes required by certain funding bodies or charities). This is even more relevant as many funding opportunities have strong limitations concerning the awarded amount, so a single grant might not be sufficient to cover all of your expenses. However, it is also worth mentioning that the University of Cambridge hosts a broad range of conferences throughout the year, such as PdOC's annual research showcase usually taking place in Michaelmas term, which might provide you with the possibility to present your work without having to cover extensive costs.


Department, Research Group, or Conference

Depending on the funding source for your position, your PI might be able to offer some limited travel support. While this is unfortunately not guaranteed, given that it comes with the lowest effort, make sure to ask them about the availability of travel funding before investing a lot of time to apply for competitive grants.

Additionally, depending on your department, your local Research Grants team might be able to offer financial support for conference attendance or advice on opportunities that might only be available to members of your institute. If so, it is highly recommended to apply for such funds first as they are generally less competitive.

Finally, it might be worth looking into potential travel funding offered by the conference you intend to attend, as your chance of success increase strongly given the limited number of applicants as well as the perfect match in discipline or research area.


University and Colleges

In case you are affiliated with a College, it might be worth inquiring about travel support. Depending on the number and type of affiliations your College has, they might not be able to provide a separate grant for postdocs. However, in exceptional cases, it might be possible to apply for the same funding scheme as offered to postgraduate or graduate students.

Additionally, although their main focus is on major research grants, the Research Operations Office (ROO) might be able to provide further guidance on travel grant opportunities.


Local or National Networks

Various local or national networks or societies linked to your discipline might be able to offer funding for travel, though their application process can already be very competitive. To learn more about what networks and societies are available within your field, it might be worth getting in touch with other researchers and peers or asking your PI about existing or former links to networks and organisations. However, it is important to note that many of these networks require a subscription or membership and that some travel grant opportunities might be restricted to their long-term members or fellows, so make sure to plan well ahead!

Travel funding might also be available on a national level through the main funding bodies. To get more details and dig through the various opportunities more effectively, it can be useful to start an advanced search on Research Professional and specify your discipline as well as the type of grant you are looking for, i.e., a travel grant.

Other useful resources might also be G Research and the British Council.


International Networks and Publishers

Finally, many international networks invite funding applications for travel purposes, though, as mentioned above, memberships might be required. Additionally, a large number of publishers or journals offer frequent travel grant opportunities specifically intended for early career researchers within their field, such as the one mentioned here on ECR Central. However, given the international reach and the correspondingly high number of applicants, the chances of success are relatively small. Nevertheless, it is worth a try as the success of securing such international funds do not only ensure that you will be able to attend a conference of your choice but can also increase the impact of your CV significantly.