Tips for Preparing a Competitive Bursary Application

CAA has long supported student and concessionary members through the distribution of travel bursaries to help defray some of the expenses to attend the annual conference. In fact, the majority of the funds received through CAA’s annual membership fee are returned to the community in the form of bursaries. Students and low-income members are eligible to apply for a bursary, so here are some tips on how to develop a strong application.

The bursary application period for the CAA2024 conference is now closed.

Completing the Bursary Form

Follow the instructions! We have tried to standardise the submission forms–one for students and one for non-students–to ensure that we receive all of the information needed to support a request. Having all applicants prepare their materials in the same format also helps to make the assessment process as fair as possible. Incomplete or improperly submitted applications will not receive funding, so if you are unsure about how to complete a document or what additional information is needed, please email the Bursary and Student/Low-Income Officer.

Writing a Strong Statement

The bursary statement is your opportunity to share how you will benefit—professionally, academically, and/or personally—through participating in the conference as well as how some financial support will help to make that possible. Please do not write a novel, but a compelling statement will be longer than a few sentences (think 300 to 500 words):

  • Why do you want to attend the CAA conference? Be specific about what you would like to learn more about at the conference, and just as importantly, why. Are there specific sessions that you plan to attend as well as the particular topics within computational archaeology of interest to you? If so, describe how these sessions or topics relate to your current and future studies or occupation. 
  • If you are actively involved in the conference, whether presenting a paper or poster, or chairing a session, briefly describe your contribution. What will others learn from your research? Is there specific feedback that you would like to receive on your work?
  • How will the CAA community grow from your participation, and what connections do you hope to make? It is natural for students and early-career researchers to feel that they may not have much to contribute, but diverse perspectives bring new ideas, so simply asking questions, engaging in discussions, and being open to meeting new people benefits everyone. 
  • Why do you need bursary funding and what other potential or confirmed funding sources do you have to support your travel expenses? Applying for other external funding, even if you are not ultimately successful, demonstrates a commitment to explore all options available. If you do not have access to other funding sources, please explain briefly what avenues you explored or why funding is unavailable to you. And CAA bursaries will rarely cover all of an attendee’s expenses, so how will you pay for the remainder?

Building a Budget

Use your budget to show that you are aware of the expenses related to attending the conference. The application PDF includes a budget form, so follow the instructions and try to stick to the standardised template. This year, applicants will request a bursary from a pre-set list of amounts, which will reflect both the membership level and distance from the conference. Please ensure that your budget shows that you anticipate spending at least the amount requested A Please consider the following points while building your budget:

  • Realistic estimates show that you have researched anticipated expenses for the conference and its location. Try to estimate possible costs (transport costs, food, hotel prices etc.) and briefly describe your sources as well as any underlying assumptions made in preparing the budget in the comments section.
  • Convert all expenses to euros in the right-hand column on the budget form. While this might seem strange for a conference in New Zealand, CAA is registered and maintains its bank account in Europe, so all awards will be made in euros.
  • Try to fill in the budget form as fully as possible, even though unexpected expenses are inevitable. Completed forms help us to compare the budgets with each other and demonstrate that you have considered all likely expenses.
  • Bursaries are funded through membership fees. CAA exercises great care to prevent any misappropriation of funds. We do not expect bursary applicants to limit themselves to the bare minimum, however, unusually high expenses without any comments will attract the reviewers’ attention and will require additional information.
  • State all external funding available to you and indicate whether it is confirmed or pending.

Submitting your Application

Application materials should be uploaded through the CAA website. This includes the PDF form as well as the required supporting documents, so double check that your application is complete. Merging the form and supporting documents into a single file is preferable, but they can be uploaded individually, if needed. Please name the file or files according to the instructions, and most importantly submit everything prior to the deadline!