Travel awards are a key facet of BSI activities, supporting the attendance of members at scientific meetings worldwide, and we offer three levels of support depending on whether the meeting to be attended is domestic, continental or international.
We appreciate that many of our members are based abroad, and that differing geographical considerations may need to be taken into account when determining the level of support that is applicable in certain cases – we underline that we will attempt to be flexible wherever possible, provided you can provide reliable estimates of travel/accommodation costs. Please contact us if you have any queries.
We also remind you that travel awards may also be used in support of travel to laboratories for short-term placements, so you are encouraged to apply in this context as well, where appropriate.
As you will be aware, assessment is made by members of our Travel Awards Panel, and depending on the number of applicants may, or may not, be an actively competitive process. However, we do check every application to ensure that it is complete and appropriate.
In order to apply for an award it is also important that you:
- Were elected to the Society at least twelve months before the closing date for the particular round of awards for which you are applying
- Are in good standing with your annual subscriptions
In cases where we provide special travel awards for specific international meetings (e.g. ECI, ICI), these are usually considered independently of any previous receipt of standard travel awards (we will clearly indicate this).
We have tried to streamline the application process as much as possible, to ensure that the process is: fair-to-all, clearly determines whether an application is appropriate for receipt of BSI funding, and is properly weighted so that it accommodates both PhD/postdocs and more established researchers − albeit with a necessary bias towards the former, due to their presumed more restrictive finances.
In particular, where the maximum award available from the BSI is likely to cover only a proportion of your travel & expenses, we like to see evidence that additional funding from other sources have been applied for/secured. This is because this minimises the chances that you will then be unable to attend your meeting due to insufficient funds. If this were to be the case, from our perspective such money could ultimately have gone to another individual who was in a securer position to attend their meeting of choice. However, please note that small shortfalls (that might be covered by personal funds) will not be considered in these terms. In any case, you should always inform us if you are subsequently unable to attend your meeting.
Other criteria assessed include factors such as the scientific significance of the meeting, and its ultimate relevance to you, as well as the field of immunology. Such considerations may be addressed as part of your personal statement. Also, the time elapsed since you last received a travel award will also be taken into consideration. In broad terms, the application process is a chance for you to demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm for the science, and indicate how a particular meeting will enhance your experience. As such, we present all the assessment criteria used by our panel online to ensure that the process is as transparent as possible (see the scoring document).
We also wish to emphasise that although we divide our year according to quarterly deadlines, we try to be flexible, so that if you were to contact us after a particular deadline had passed, we would make every attempt to accommodate you, provided we had funding available, and your application reached us in a timely manner.
Finally, where possible, we would like to see estimates of travel costs, registration, etc. supported by documentary evidence (e.g. screen grabs).
An application will generally require:
- A completed application form
- A copy of the abstract being submitted to the meeting in question
- A letter of support from your supervisor/head of department suitably endorsing your application (see scoring document)
If you have any questions please contact Sarah Green.