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How do I find travel funds for international meetings?

Where can I find support for building a rural health clinic?


Dear GrantDoctor, I live and work in Hungary. My main field of study is trace fossil communities of hard substrates. I plan to attend the annual meeting of the North American Paleontological Convention to be held in California, in June. I am looking for grant possibilities. Could you help me? Perhaps it is not too late. Sincerely yours, -- Árpád


Dear Árpád,

It's not too late, but you'd better hurry: The grant application deadline for North American Paleontological Convention (NAPC) funding is March 1, 2001. NAPC, which is to be held in Berkeley, California, 26 June-1 July 2001, will have some funds available to "students and international professional colleagues to help defray costs of travel, housing, and registration," according to the Convention Web site. You can even apply online: Just follow the instructions on the Web page.

It looks like the grants-in-aid will be awarded by the NAPC organizing committee "based on need as determined from the application and supporting documents." So it would be good for you to figure out what your expenses will be, how much available funding you already have, and how much more financial assistance you will need to be able to make the trip.

The information given on the NAPC Web page also states that priority will be given to applicants who are presenting a paper or poster and who are from North America or working on North American paleontology. Just in case those priorities don't include you, it would be wise for you to apply to other organizations for funding to support your trip. Be sure you've checked with your college administration and your national research agencies--the Hungarian Geological Survey and Geological Institute of Hungary, for example--for possible funding sources for travel to international meetings.

If these possibilities don't pan out, here are some other organizations that have funds available to bring international scholars to geological conferences and workshops: The Grzybowski Foundation offers small grants to scientists and students from Eastern Europe. According to the foundation's Web site, in 1993 it awarded three travel grants to micropaleontologists from Russia and Romania, and in 1997 it awarded five grants to scientists from Eastern Europe to attend international meetings.

If your interests involve Russian fossils, you might also try the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which, according to their joint Web site, drafted an agreement in 1993 with the University of California Museum of Paleontology to promote intellectual, technological, and resource exchange. Although the Web site states that the purpose of the agreement is to further the understanding of the fossil records in Russia and North America, I wouldn't hesitate to get in touch with them, because the meeting you wish to attend will take place on California soil.

Above all, don't dally. Funding agencies usually require a few months or more to consider requests for support and--dare I remind you--tempus fugit (time flies).

I wish you the best of luck in your search for funding and a pleasant time at the meeting.

--The GrantDoctor


Dear GrantDoctor, I'm looking for help locating grant money to build a rural medical clinic, which will house several physicians, an urgent care clinic, and alternative treatment practioners. I'm a solo family physician, for-profit. I hope to target posttraumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic pain (i.e., things that have very limited modern medical treatment). Your help is appreciated, -- John


Dear John,

Interesting problem. And--of course--there are consultants out there who, for a fee, will figure out how you can solve that problem. Consulting groups often have knowledge of grants that will allow you to use their services. Rural Health America is one such group; it promises to counsel you in start-up, certification, and management of a rural health clinic. You can even take a walk-through demonstration of the process by choosing the appropriate links on its Web site. Rural Health Resources offers similar services.

There are also a number of federal agencies that have funding programs for rural health. You might want to start by contacting the Rural Information Center Health Service (1-800-633-7701) located at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. For both general funding and funding specific to your target specialties, though, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, sponsors Rural Network Development Grants, which could be a good bet. And the National Institutes of Health is certainly interested in how rural health is financed. Check out its Web site to read about recent developments.

Outside of the feds, the National Rural Health Association, a nonprofit organization, would be an excellent source of information on funding and logistics. And don't forget to try your state office of rural health--state funding may be more prevalent and secured within a shorter time frame than federal funding--as well as your professional societies, which can often point you to local funding opportunities.

You've got a great idea, John, and I wish you every success in putting it into practice.

Good luck!

-- The GrantDoctor

Due to the high volume of questions received, The GrantDoctor cannot answer all queries on an individual basis. Look for an answer to your question published in this column soon! Thank you!