[OSGeo-Conf] [FOSS4G 2016] / upcoming FOSS4G - do we want a travel grant budget / student award

Kristin Bott bottk at reed.edu
Fri Feb 5 18:21:17 PST 2016


I'll echo David Bitner -- thank you for the note (and the reminder).

Thoughts from here:

I am a huge fan of setting aside _dedicated funds_ for scholarship programs
for conferences. I think that supporting a Travel Grant/Scholarship program
consistently would serve two key functions:

(1) make FOSS4G accessible to people who might not be able to attend for
economic reasons and who would greatly contribute to, and benefit from, the
(2) encourage attendance and participation by people from groups
traditionally under-represented at FOSS4G

-- and I think that it is a wonderful idea to separate funding (from main
conference funding) in order to keep the grant/scholarship program

(Here are some details
<http://2014.foss4g.org/travel-grant-epilogue/index.html> [1] about what we
did for the 2014 FOSS4G Travel Grant program)

I would be curious to hear what the OSGeo Board would propose to both of
the options that Bitner put forth:

1) Set aside (and fundraise for) funds administered by OSGeo and made
available to provide scholarships across ANY OSGeo supported event (FOSS4G,
regional FOSS4G-type events, code sprints)
2) Set aside (primarily from FOSS4G revenue, potentially with additional
fundraising) funds to be specifically budgeted for FOSS4G LOC's to
administer scholarship programs.

As Bitner said, there are a lot of details to work out, but I think this is
an important issue and I'm glad you brought it up.

Note that supporting programs that help create a more welcoming and diverse
OSGeo community is one of the functions of the Code of Conduct Committee
<https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/CodeOfConduct_Committee> [which I currently
chair]; if funds are approved, I would be happy to work with you or other
organizers in order to ensure that OSGeo events are more open to all.

Cameron, I think that thinking about return on investment can be tricky,
because I think defining what the OSGeo community values as a "return"
worth that investment will be complicated. (When we designed our travel
grant program for FOSS4G 2014, we considered a number of different models
for awarding funds.)

I'm excited to see where this conversation goes.

cheers -

[1] http://2014.foss4g.org/travel-grant-epilogue/index.html
[2] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/CodeOfConduct_Committee

On Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 7:01 AM, <till.adams at fossgis.de> wrote:

> Hi Conference Committee,
> long time no real news from Bonn, but in short: Up to now preparation of
> FOSs4G is running quiet well, we just released our Call for Submissions as
> you might (should) have noticed.
> Anyhow, there are some ideas we have that are quite interesting for all
> FOSs4G's in the future and therefore I take the opportunity to discuss with
> you.
> 1. Travel Grants
> Seouls team (Sanghee, correct me if I am wrong) set up a travel grant
> budget, AFAIK he took 10k $ from his budget and also enabled attendees to
> make a donation for the travel grant budget.
> People from developing countries then were encouraged to apply for such a
> travel grant and Seoul LOC paid for a number of them for travel costs and
> also gave these people a free/reduced ticket. They used world banks country
> rating to forgive these grants, which is a good, because widely as
> independent accepted, way to decide on that.
> In general I really like the idea of enabling people from developing
> countries to attend a FOSS4G. I think especially in developing countries
> Open Source could be a key technology to really improve situations there
> and keep knowledge and with that also money inside the country.
> On the other side, we, Bonn's LOC, now have the same problem all former
> and upcoming LOC's had/will have: First you see all the costs, that come up
> and although we are in a good hope, that FOSS4G 2016 in Bonn will become a
> great success, we don't know, what really happens. Taking both things into
> account, I'd like to apply at OSGeo board for the following:
> I'd like OSGeo to set up a fixed budget for travel grants for a FOSS4G. If
> (our) FOSS4G becomes a success, OSGeo will get this money back anyhow,
> because Bonn's LOC agreed to give at least 90% of our surplus to OSgeo. If
> we make a loss, the money from OSGeo is gone and doesn't enhance our
> financial desaster ;-). The other way around would be, that we decide on
> having that (like Sould team did) on our risk, but the money for OSGeo is
> lost anyhow, because at the end of the day, the money comes out of OSGeo
> pocket anyhow. So why not taking the opportunity to make that a fixed part
> for all FOSS4G-conferences?
> Just FYI: I will also apply for some more money at FOSSGIS (local german
> speaking OSGeo chapter), which have the same goals as OSGeo.
> 2. Student Award
> In Seoul also there has been a student award, or to be honest, they were
> 4, 2 from OSGeo and 2 from LOC Seoul, respectively one for the best
> student-poster and for the best student-presentation. The presence of
> twoxtwo student awards caused a little confusion in my eyes. I think it was
> around 500$ each award, directly given to the winners in the closing
> session.
> I know that it was a quiet spontaneous decision on how to decide on the
> winners which was just made right during Seouls FOSS4G lunch-time ;-). This
> also could become a now established and fixed part of a FOSS4G - and hits
> also one of the main goals OSGeo has - to prosper education with OSGeo
> software.
> So here are my questions:
> A) Would conference committee support us and upcoming teams by advising
> the board to setup a fixed travel grant budget?
> B) Same question for the student award?
> Many thanks for your time ;-)
> Till
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