For researchers, attending conferences is a way of keeping up-to-date in your research field, by:

  • sharing information
  • getting feedback from colleagues in the same research area
  • networking.

Some conference papers may be published in conference proceedings.

Conference funding

There are a number of opportunities to get assistance with funding to present at a conference.

The Secomb Conference and Travel Fund assists enrolled VU graduate research candidates to attend conferences to present a research paper. You can apply for up to one-third of the cost of travel and conference registration fees.

To be eligible for the fund at the time you submit your application and on the date the conference occurs you must:

  • be enrolled in a PhD, Masters by Research or the research component of a research Professional Doctorate at VU
  • have satisfactorily completed at least six months of full time enrolment (or its equivalent) from the date your candidature was approved
  • be attending the conference for the purpose of delivering a research paper by oral presentation (poster presentations will not receive funding).

Applications for funding must be submitted and approved before you attend the conference (retrospective applications will not be considered). There are three closing dates per year: 31 March, 31 July and 31 October.

You must submit your Secomb Application to the Admissions and Scholarships Coordinator on [email protected].

Research Professional is available to VU research staff and provides a searchable list of research funding opportunities, both within Australia and overseas.

Fake conferences

It is important for all researchers to be aware that, in a minority of cases, the conference advertised may not be legitimate. This is a relatively new phenomenon where 'predatory publishers' create fake conferences to raise revenue. For example, there was a recent case where a predatory publisher organised a conference using the exact same name as a legitimate conference on the same topic, a conference sponsored by a small and authentic scholarly society.

Though alarming, please be assured that it is a very small minority of conferences that can be assessed as fake. That said, you should always check for previous conferences of the same name, and investigate the conference organiser for authenticity.

If unsure, please contact your College Librarian to help with the investigation.

HERDC requirements for a conference paper

To fulfill Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) requirements the paper must meet the definition of research, according to the most recent specifications on the HERDC website. In addition:

  • the paper must be published - publication of the abstract only is not sufficient
  • the paper must be peer reviewed
  • the conference, workshop or seminar must be of national or international significance
  • information about the conference should be easily available - ideally online
  • at least one of the authors must be affiliated with VU.

If the conference paper is published in a journal it's better to enter it as a journal article.

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