FOSS4G Travel Grant Programme Cookbook
Setting up a FOSS4G TGP
This guidance is for those considering establishing a FOSS4G TGP for a Regional event or becoming a member of a selection group for a FOSS4G TGP (Global or Regional). It is based on the experience and lessons learnt in running the 2017 & 2018 TGPs. Each FOSS4G TGP will develop its own approach and hopefully add to this advice.
Applications to the Conference Committee for OSGeo support for a TGP
This is a draft version of the application process for FOSS4G LOCs by Steven Feldman on 20190116. When others have commented/edited this section will replace part of the Getting Started section below.
The Conference Committee (CC) administers the FOSS4G Travel Grant Programme (TGP) on behalf of OSGeo. At the beginning of each calendar year the OSGeo board sets a budget for the TGP, the CC will aim to issue a call for applications for TGP support in early February and potentially will have a second call for applications in July (dependent on whether there is any unallocated budget).
The Global FOSS4G and Regional LOCs should apply for TGP support by entering the details of their request in a wiki page that will be detailed when the call for applications is announced on the CC mailing list. It is anticipated that 50-60% of the TGP budget will be allocated to the Global event and that the balance will be available to support regional events, the CC may vary these %ages at their discretion.
The LOC should:
- State the amount of TGP support requested in US dollars and confirm that the LOC will provide (at least) matching cash funding. The LOC should explain the source of their funding (e.g. a levy on ticket sales, a level on sponsor income, a specific sponsor, crowdfunding).
- Confirm that free full conference passes will be available to recipients of Travel Grants in addition to the cash funding provided by the LOC and OSGeo.
- Estimate the anticipated number of grants and their size
- Set out the broad criteria that they will use to select applicants and indicate their priority groups (e.g. gender based, local/regional, specific deprived groups, some other criteria)
- Confirm that it has a team of volunteers available to administer the selection process and confirm whether it is seeking assistance from CC members in the selection process
- Provide details of any accommodation available to TG recipients e.g. a recommended hostel. Note that any recommended accommodation should be vetted as safe and secure for all event attendees.
- Outline the manner in which Travel Grants will be paid to recipients and by whom (e.g. cash, PayPal, bank transfer, etc)
- Regional FOSS4Gs wishing to run a TGP should approach the Conference Committee for an allocation of funding.
- The chair of CC will ask the board for the available amount of TGP funding and assign at least one member of CC to support the LOC in running the TGP.
- You will need to negotiate with your LOC to establish whether free conference passes will be available (the CC may be reluctant to allocate funding for a TGP if your LOC will not fund conference passes)
- You will also need to raise additional funds either from the event or from sponsors or by crowdfunding
- You need to appoint a chair of selectors who will 'run' the process and keep things on track
- The LOC should agree some criteria for the selection process (e.g. income category, gender, submitting a paper, contribution to OSGeo etc) - you do not need to establish the weightings for criteria at this stage
- The TGP team will need to draft an application form that includes questions that help to evaluate the applications against the LOC criteria
- This is a copy of a Google form which which was used in 2017, it fed into a spreadsheet. There is no need to use this form if you have an alternative tool that you prefer.
- At the close of the application period the chair of selectors should collate all of the applications, anonymise them (so that selection is a "blind" process) and send to each selector
- Each selector should devise their own personal marking scheme (i.e. you balance the different criteria in the way that you wish, giving more or less weight to income, gender, contribution etc).
- You need to try to be consistent in the way that you evaluate each submission.
- Finally you will need to rank the submissions in descending order (based upon your marking). You will only be asked to rank slightly more than the likely number of grants that you will be making i.e. if there is a grant fund of $3,000 and you expect to make about 6 grants then each selector might be asked to rank your top 8 in descending order (8 for your top choice, then 7 etc)
- In 2017 we had 86 applications, it took over 4 hours to review, mark and rank them!
- You may wish to set a period to ask questions or seek clarifications from some applicants
- Once the individual selections are completed, the chair will combine the rankings from each of the selectors to provide an overall ranking.
- You may then need to schedule a call to discuss any marginal choices (we did not do this last year)
- Once you have agreed the awards you should send award messages to the applicants who have been successful and notify the next few who just missed the cut that they are on a “standby” list.
- You should then send a mail to those who have not been successful
- There is then a wait while people confirm their acceptance of the grant, provide evidence of eligibility criteria, travel plans, visas, etc.
- We recommend that you get confirmation that the grant recipients will be able to receive funds electronically as you really really really do not want to be trying to issue grants in cash at the conference.
- There will be quite a lot of correspondence with grant recipients in the run up to the event